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Moldova Skeptical About Progress In Transdniester Talks

CHISINAU -- The Moldovan government official responsible for affairs in the breakaway region of Transdniester says the chances of achieving any progress on that conflict this year are slim, RFE/RL's Moldovan Service reports.

Deputy Prime Minister Victor Osipov told RFE/RL from Brussels that he is skeptical about Transdniester despite growing international interest in the conflict.

Osipov was in Brussels to discuss the Transdniester issue with European Union officials. He told RFE/RL that solving the conflict has become a "top foreign-policy priority" for the EU. But he added that it is unlikely that internationally mediated talks with the Russian-backed separatists will resume anytime soon.

Osipov, who is the senior government official engaged in the conflict resolution process, said there is "resistance" in Transdniester to resuming the negotiations, which involve the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, Russia, and Ukraine. The talks broke down four years ago.

Osipov told RFE/RL that the current format of negotiations should not be changed to include the United States and EU, as some Moldovans have suggested.

But he added that Brussels and Washington, which are observers in the talks, are willing to contribute more to economic projects that could make reunification with Moldova more acceptable for Transdniester.