The United States and the European Union have been invited to join talks between Moldova and its Russian-speaking separatist region of Trans-Dniester as observers, officials said Tuesday.
The two will be able to attend future meetings on resolving the conflict as observers, said William Hill, a representative of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. The decision was made after Moldovan president Vladimir Voronin threatened Sunday to pull out of the talks unless the United States and the EU are accepted to participate in the talks. Trans-Dniester leader Igor Smirnov suggested Monday that his region would accept U.S. and European observers in the talks, according to the AP.
Moldova wanted more Western involvement in the talks to get more leverage as Russia and Ukraine often sided with the separatists. Trans-Dniester also agreed to allow the OSCE to monitor Trans-Dniester companies that produce weapons. Moldova, a former Soviet Republic, has struggled for years to reach a settlement with its eastern, Russian-speaking province of Trans-Dniester, which broke away in 1992 after a war that killed more than 1,500 people. AM