Russian, Ukrainian presidents to meet

18:51, 08 November 2006
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The Russian and Ukrainian presidents will meet in Kiev in the very near future, Russia`s foreign minister said Wednesday, according to RIA Novosti.

      "They are to meet in Kiev within the framework of the first session of an interstate commission," Sergei Lavrov said.

      The interstate commission, which will meet in late-November, is a body set up by Presidents Viktor Yushchenko and Vladimir Putin to promote good relations between the two countries.

      Addressing relations between Russia and Ukraine, Lavrov said that a certain amount of progress could be achieved in overcoming the crisis in Transdnestr, a self-proclaimed republic in Moldova that borders on Ukraine, if the sides applied themselves more.

      "We have discussed the Transdnestr issue," Lavrov said following a session of the Russian-Ukrainian Subcommittee for International Relations. "We have a feeling that with extra measures and with the participation of intermediaries we may progress in overcoming the deadlock."

      Ukraine has supported Moldova, 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 successfully managed to resolve a majority of their bilateral problems, but that some still remain to be resolved, 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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