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New checkpoint to appear in Moldova conflict zone after clash

DUBOSSARY (Moldova's breakaway region), January 13 (RIA Novosti) - A joint commission overseeing a ceasefire between Moldova and Transdnestr ruled Saturday following a clash in the post-Soviet conflict zone that an additional peacekeeping checkpoint be set up in the area.

A police clash between Moldova and Transdnestr occurred near the town of Dubossary controlled by the self-proclaimed republic in the early hours of Saturday, when both sides called 80 and 100 police reinforcements to the scene respectively. International observers and peacekeeping commanders deterred the incident from escalating.

The Joint Control Commission, involving representatives of Moldova, Transdnestr, Russia, Ukraine, and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, which has been working to resolve the conflict, held an extraordinary session later Wednesday and also decided that military observers would patrol the area.

"Seeking to promptly resolve the incident by peaceful means, the delegations [from Moldova, Transdnestr, and Russia] and Ukrainian and OSCE representatives in the JCC have decided to remove all additional Moldova and Transdnestrian checkpoints in the area by 4 p.m. local time [5 p.m. Moscow time, 2 p.m. GMT] January 13," the commission said.

A temporary peacekeeping checkpoint will be set up before January 18.

Transdnestr, which has a largely Russian-speaking population, broke away from Moldova after a bloody war in the early 1990s. In a September 17 plebiscite, more than 97% of Transdnestr's population reportedly voted in favor of independence, and to subsequently join the Russian Federation.

Russia, which helped end the war and has since maintained a contingent in region, has not made official signals of willingness to admit the region although is widely believed to support the breakaway regime.

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