(RIA Novosty) The foreign ministries of Russia and Ukraine held discussions in Kiev Wednesday on ways to advance the settlement of a conflict between Moldova and its breakaway region of Transdnestr, Russia's Foreign Ministry said.

"The sides in the talks focused on coordinating practical steps to advance a stage-by-stage, comprehensive, and final settlement of the Transdnestr problem, and to broaden cooperation in addressing regional conflicts," the ministry said.

Russian Ambassador at Large Valery Nesterushkin and Dmitry Tkach, Ukrainian envoy for the Transdnestrian settlement, attended the discussions.

The armed conflict in Transdnestr, which has a predominantly Russian population, broke out in March 1992 when Moldova declared its independence from the Soviet Union. The Transdnestr region, in turn, proclaimed itself the Transdnestrian Moldovan 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 Transdnestrian leader in July 1992.

Talks on the region's status continue, involving Moldova, Transdnestr, Russia, Ukraine, the United States, and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).

A senior Transdnestrian official said earlier that Russia, the EU, and the U.S. would gather on February 27-28, to hold two rounds of talks in Tiraspol, the capital of the breakaway region, and in the Moldovan capital of Chisinau.


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