JULIAN DUPLAIN WAS CERTAINLY RIGHT WHEN he wrote that negotiations in early July between Moldovan President Mircea Snegur and Igor Smirnov, the president of the self-styled "Dniester Moldovan Republic" ("PMR"), had "brought the two sides closer together than at any time since the 1992 fighting in the territory." However, the next round of talks, held in Chisinau on 13 September, ended in a deadlock. Moreover, it practically wiped out the achievements of previous negotiations, including the three accords initialed on 5 July. That shows once again how volatile the situation remains in the region, especially when Russian interests are at stake. Contrary to earlier pledges to withdraw its 14th Army from the area, Russia now seems increasingly determined to keep a military presence there, pressuring Chisinau to accept the establishment of a Russian military base in Transdniestria as the price for brokering a solution to the Dniester conflict.
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