Chairman of the Russian State Commission for Transdniestrian Settlement Yevgeny Primakov embarks on a two-day visit to Moldova today to discuss drafts of the Transdniestrian status /including two that were proposed by Moscow/ and other problems related to the final settlement of the conflict with experts specializing in the subject and leaders of Chisinau and Tiraspol. The discussion will also involve representatives from Ukraine and the OSCE mission to Moldova. Vladimir Voronin, the new president of Moldova, thinks restoration of economic, social and cultural links between Chisinau and Tiraspol plus measures to build up trust between Moldova and Transdniestria are a good prospect for settlement of the much too "dragged-out" conflict over the self-proclaimed Transdniestrian republic. Moscow, on its part, has repeatedly stressed its firm intention to assist, alongside mediators from Ukraine and the OSCE, in the settlement and promote constructive political dialogue between Tiraspol and the new leader of Chisinau. After Monday talks with Voronin in Moscow, Russian President Vladimir Putin declared that Russia was ready to act as guarantor of future decisions related to the Transdniestrian conflict on condition of the sides' certainty that the methods they used to settle the conflict did not run counter to their interests. The Moldovan president, on his part, expressed "special thanks" to the Russian leadership for "understanding and support" of the situation, and said Russia's help was "essential" for the effort to settle the conflict, which, in his opinion, is "close to success." Today, "Moldova and Transdniestria can easily do without the peacekeeping forces that stand between them," believes Voronin. "They have accomplished their mission. What happened in 1992 will never happen again." Back in 1992, 500 people were killed in clashes when Moldovan troops were brought into the Transdniestrian town of Bendery. After that, Moldova and Russia agreed to introduce Russian peacekeeping forces into the conflict area. Transdniestrian leader Igor Smirnov, too, expressed cautious optimism as he announced after a meeting with Voronin that their conversation had "proved the new president's intention and willingness to solve problems in all spheres of cooperation."
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