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    Ukraine's leaders, Russia's foreign minister hold talks in Kiev

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    Russia's foreign minister met Wednesday with Ukraine's president and prime minister in Kiev, and discussed sensitive bilateral issues, including a border dispute and relations with a Moldovan breakaway region, the Ukrainian presidential press service said.

    KIEV, November 8 (RIA Novosti) - Russia's foreign minister met Wednesday with Ukraine's president and prime minister in Kiev, and discussed sensitive bilateral issues, including a border dispute and relations with a Moldovan breakaway region, the Ukrainian presidential press service said.

    Sergei Lavrov described his dialogue with President Viktor Yushchenko and Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych as constructive and pragmatic, the press service said.

    At Lavrov's meeting with Yushchenko, the sides also discussed the agenda for the first session of a Russia-Ukraine interstate commission, the press service said.

    The interstate commission, which will meet in late-November, is a body set up by Yushchenko and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin to promote good relations between the ex-Soviet neighbors.

    The Russian diplomat said earlier Wednesday the Russian and Ukrainian presidents will meet in Kiev in the very near future, "within the framework of the first session of the interstate commission."

    After talks with the president, Lavrov said that a certain amount of progress could be achieved in overcoming the crisis in Transdnestr, a Russian-speaking self-proclaimed republic in Moldova that borders on Ukraine, if the sides applied themselves more.

    "We have discussed the Transdnestr issue," Lavrov said. "We have a feeling that with extra measures and with the participation of intermediaries we may make progress in overcoming the deadlock."

    Ukraine has supported Moldova's stance, which toughened its customs regulations earlier this year for the breakaway province, demanding that Transdnestr exports pass customs clearance in Moldova before they are allowed across the Ukrainian border.

    Officials in Ukraine and Moldova presented the new rule as an anti-smuggling measure. But Transdnestr's leadership said it effectively amounted to a trade blockade.

    Lavrov also said that Russia and Ukraine had already successfully managed to resolve the majority of their bilateral problems, but that some still remain, among them the issue of demarcating the long-disputed border between the countries which runs through the Azov and Black Seas, and the Kerch Strait.

    The confrontation over the Tuzla Island in the Kerch Strait erupted in the summer of 2003 when Russia's attempt to construct a dam there provoked a bitter dispute with its neighbor, which accused Russia of encroaching on its territory.

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