USA: Russia to withdraw weapons from trans-dnestria within specified period

The USA will insist on Russia fulfilling the Istanbul agreements concerning the withdrawal of Russian troops and weapons from Trans-Dnestria (the territory on the left bank of the Dniester with poly-ethnic, mainly Russian-speaking population that in the early 1990 announced its withdrawal from Moldova and creation of the independent Trans-Dnestrian Moldovan Republic). US Secretary of State Colin Powell made this statement at the session of the OSCE foreign ministers in Maastricht.

The fact that Moscow violates the already outstanding date of fulfilling the Istanbul agreements is "a step backwards" in the Trans-Dnestria settlement," Powell said.

Russia will not fulfill these commitments even by the intended date, December 31, 2003, the State Secretary maintained.

He express his regret that a consensus on Trans-Dnestria settlement had not been reached.

Powell called for intensifying the talks on the problem, involving not only Russia, Moldova and Trans-Dnestria, but also efficient assistance from the OSCE and Ukraine.

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