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New Moldovan, Transdniester Leaders Hold Closed-Door Meeting

Igor Dodon, who was elected Moldova's president on December 23, has pledged to resolve the Transdniester issue while in office.

Moldovan President Igor Dodon has met with the de facto head of the breakaway Transdniester region, Vadim Krasnoselsky, in the separatist-controlled city of Bendery.

Russian news agencies quoted Dodon as saying that "there are some complicated issues and there are different visions, but it does not mean we should not sit at the negotiating table or discuss and resolve our citizens' problems."

Krasnoselsky, the leader of the self-styled Transdniester Republic, said after the January 4 meeting that the talks behind closed doors focused on the free movement of people, railway connections, and recognition of documents, among other issues.

Ahead of the talks, Dodon wrote on Facebook that the meeting was "necessary for intensifying talks on a Transdniester settlement," adding that the issue of the breakaway territory would be a main topic during January 17 talks in Moscow with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Krasnoselsky has said he favors independence for Transdniester and closer relations with Russia based on the results of an unrecognized poll taken in the region in 2006.

Dodon, who was elected president on December 23, has pledged to resolve the Transdniester issue while in office.

"We have a lot of issues that need to be addressed, and the situation where the talks have stalled for several years now is unacceptable," Dodon said.

The breakaway territory has been self-ruling since 1992, when a brief war was fought between Moldova and separatists.

Bendery is technically in a buffer zone along the administrative line dividing Moldova proper from the Transdniester region but it is controlled by the separatists.

Krasnoselsky was voted Transdniester leader in a December election not recognized by Moldova or the international community.

Based on reporting by TASS and RFE/RL's Moldova Service