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Moldova Says Transdniester Separatists Not Ready To Compromise

Transdniester separatist leader Igor Smirnov (file photo)
Transdniester separatist leader Igor Smirnov (file photo)
CHISINAU -- Moldova's government says Transdniester separatists are holding on to their goal of full independence and thereby jeopardizing international efforts to resolve one of Europe's last "frozen conflicts," RFE/RL's Moldovan Service reports.

Moldovan Reintegration Minister Victor Osipov told RFE/RL that Transdniester officials are unwilling to compromise on their wish to be recognized as a full-fledged state, while Moldova and the international community are ready to grant them "only the largest possible autonomy."

Osipov made his comments as international mediators visited the separatists' capital, Tiraspol, on September 22.

He said Transdniester officials are using the political instability in Moldova -- which is facing its third parliamentary election in the past 18 months -- to justify their lack of cooperation with the mediators.

A team of mediators from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), Russia, Ukraine, and observers from the United States and European Union discussed the Transdniester conflict with Moldovan authorities in Chisinau on September 21 and went to Tiraspol the following day for talks with separatist officials.

Chisinau and Tiraspol haven't sat down at the negotiating table since early 2006.

Transdniester separated from Moldova after a short war in the early 1990s on fears that the post-Soviet, Romanian-leaning government would seek reunification with Bucharest. Most of Moldova was part of Romania until World War II, when it was occupied by the Red Army and made a Soviet republic.