Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma yesterday invited his Russian and Moldovan counterparts, Boris Yeltsin and Petru Lucinschi, OSCE Chairman-in-Office Bronislaw Geremek (who is also Poland’s foreign minister) and Transdniester leader Igor Smirnov to meet in Kyiv in order to set the basic terms of a political resolution to the Transdniester conflict. Kuchma aired the proposal during a meeting in Kyiv of the Ukrainian-Polish Consultative Committee, a top-level body that focuses on regional security affairs (DINAU, November 4).
The conference proposal grows out of consultations held–both earlier among Kyiv, Chisinau and the OSCE, and more recently during Lucinschi’s visit to Poland (see the Monitor, October 22, 28, 30)–in the expectation of Russian cooperation. It is implicitly understood that the ailing Yeltsin may have to be represented by Russia’s prime minister. Moldova and the OSCE chairmanship are especially keen to broaden the negotiating forum long dominated by Moscow. That dominance has in turn perpetuated both the stalemate and the presence of Russian troops in Moldova. By consenting to host the conference and to assume some responsibilities regarding Transdniester, Ukraine shows that it is beginning to mature as a regional power.–VS
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