Transdnestr negotiations cancelled due to circumstances - leader

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MOSCOW, March 7 (RIA Novosti) - TIRASPOL, March 7 (RIA Novosti, Vladimir Sandutsa) - The president of Moldova's breakaway Transdnestr region said Tuesday that there is no point in holding mediation talks given the current impasse surrounding imports into the region from Ukraine.

Приднестровье"Ukraine is moving from being a guarantor state and mediator to a party to the conflict, joining in the blockade [imposed] by the Republic of Moldova," Igor Smirnov told a session of the region's anti-blockade steering committee, the presidential press service said.

Ukraine is one of the mediators in the conflict under the current "five plus two" format, alongside Russia, the OSCE, the United States, and the European Union.

"In these circumstances the talks are cancelled," Smirnov said.

Smirnov said Ukraine's new regulations for Transdnestrian traders will have serious political consequences, and that Moldova is using Ukraine to attain its political goals.

"This relates to Moldova's aim to avoid using the intermediary services of Russia and Ukraine. Unable to do this via direct confrontation with Russia and Ukraine, it is doing it by directly involving Ukraine in the conflict," he said.

Молдавия, КишиневThe last round of talks held under the "five plus two" format were held on February 27-28 in the Moldovan capital, Chisinau, and Tiraspol, but no agreement was reached. The Moldovan delegation left the talks without explanation.

According to the new Ukrainian customs regulations signed on March 3 by the head of the country's customs service, Alexander Yegorov, all goods passing the Ukrainian-Transnestrian border must receive customs documentation from Moldova, not Transdnestr. Tiraspol believes that this will result in an effective blockade for the republic.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Mikhail Kamynin said Tuesday that a delegation including representatives of the country's Security Council and the government had left Tuesday for Transdnestr to look into the issue.

Приднестровская Молдавская Республика - флагTransdnestr's status has been a bone of contention since the armed conflict in the region, which has a predominantly Russian population, broke out in March 1992 after Moldova declared its independence from the Soviet Union and Transdnestr in turn proclaimed itself a republic. Russia intervened in the conflict at the Moldovan president's request, and the Russian and Moldovan presidents signed a ceasefire agreement in the presence of the leader of Transdnestr in July 1992.

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