"If Russia needs military bases here, we have legislation on Russian troops," Igor Smirnov told journalists.
The leaders of Russia, Moldova and Transdnestr agreed last Wednesday to continue talks on the issue of the disputed Transdnestr region at a meeting in Moscow. The leaders confirmed the importance of the five-plus-two format, comprising Russia, Ukraine, the Collective Security Treaty Organization, the U.S. the EU, Moldova and Transdnestr.
Relations between Moldova and its rebel region have been tense since March 1992, when Moldova declared its independence from the Soviet Union, and Transdnestr in turn proclaimed itself a republic. Russia has had peacekeepers in the area since July 1992, and the negotiation process has been frozen since February 2006.
Hopes that talks would finally resume were given a boost after a meeting between the presidents of Transdnestr and Moldova in the Transdnestr city of Bendery in April last year. However, another round of talks, scheduled for September 2008, was called off after the parties failed to agree on a venue.