Analysis 11 Jan 17

Moldova President Sparks Intrigue by Meeting Separatist Leader

A surprise meeting between Moldova’s new pro-Moscow president and the leader of separatist Transnistria triggered controversy over whether it was a political gambit or a sign of growing Russian involvement.

Ana Maria Touma
Igor Dodon. Photo: OSCE

Moldova’s new Socialist and pro-Russian President Igor Dodon has shocked the country by meeting the separatist president of the breakaway region of Transnistria, Vadim Krasnoselsky, becoming the first Moldovan official to hold talks with the secessionist leader in the past decade.

The meeting, which was held in Bender, a town on the right bank of the Dniester River in the form of a working lunch last Thursday, has continued to generate heated debates this week.

Local experts and media have been pondering what the meeting was all about and what kind of consequences it might have for the country and its relationship with Transnistria, which lies in eastern Moldova, between the Dniester River and Ukraine.

According to a press release issued after the meeting by Dodon's office, the two men discussed the free movement of people from both sides, including the possibility of the Moldovan government to finally recognising Transnistrian personal identification documents and vehicle license plates.

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