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UN Backs Call For Withdrawal Of Russian Troops From Transdniester

The United Nations General Assembly has backed a call from Britain, Moldova, Georgia, Ukraine and seven other countries for Russia to withdraw its troops from a breakaway region of Moldova.

The non-binding resolution -- the first to demand Russian withdrawal from Moldova's separatist region of Transdniester -- was adopted by a vote of 64 to 15 late on June 22, with 83 abstentions in the 193-nation assembly.

Russia, Iran, Armenia, Belarus, Syria, and North Korea were among the 15 countries that opposed the measure urging Russia to complete "unconditionally and without further delay the withdrawal" of its troops from Moldova.

The resolution also places demands for Russian troop withdrawal from Transdneister on the agenda of the UN assembly, which will hold a debate on the situation in coming months.

Among the resolution's other sponsors were Canada, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Estonia, and the Czech Republic.

Russian Deputy UN Ambassador Dmitry Polyansky argued that the UN vote undermined efforts by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) to settle the conflict in Moldova.

He requested that the vote be delayed to allow more time to discuss the resolution, but his request was turned down.

"The outcome of the voting is regrettable for us," Polyansky said. "Excessive politicization of the problem occurred at the very moment when we see certain progress in talks between Chisinau and Tiraspol."

Transdneister is considered one of the many "frozen conflicts" in the former Soviet Union.

The mainly Russian-speaking region declared independence from Moldova in 1990 over fears that Chisinau would seek reunification with neighboring Romania. Most of Moldova was part of Romania in the period between World War I and World War II.

Moldovan forces and Moscow-backed Transdniester fighters fought a short but bloody war in 1992.

The conflict ended with a cease-fire agreement after Russian troops in the region intervened on the side of the separatists.

Some 1,400 Russian troops remain in Transdniester guarding Soviet-era arms depots, and Moscow has resisted numerous calls over the years to withdraw its troops.

Transdniester's independence is recognized by no country, and the UN and OSCE, among others, have attempted to forge a resolution to the dispute.

Copyright (c) 2015. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036.

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