The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) has welcomed the announced resumption of internationally-mediated talks on the Transdniester dispute.
Lithuanian Foreign Minister Audronius Azubalis, the current holder of the OSCE's rotating presidency, speaking from the United Nations in New York, said the decision to resume the '5+ 2' negotiations "is a key step for progress in the Transdniestrian settlement process."
The move was announced on September 22 at an OSCE-chaired meeting in Moscow. Ambassador Giedrius Cekuolis who headed the Moscow talks, welcomed the move and said the meeting would be held in Lithuania's capital, Vilnius.
The 5+2 format consists of Moldova, Transdniester, as well as mediators and observers representing the OSCE, the Russian Federation, Ukraine, the United States and the European Union. Official negotiations broke off in 2006, but informal talks have continued under the OSCE's aegis.
Moldova's deputy prime minister Eugen Carpov, who led his country's delegation at an OSCE-run informal meeting in Moscow, told RFE/RL that the agreement is a "substantial step forward" and that he expected the first official talks to be held before the end of this year.
Moscow-backed Transdniester broke away from Moldova in 1990, when it declared independence from the Romanian-speaking country.
The two sides fought a short war in 1992.
Transdniester's independence has not been recognized by any state.
with agency reports