Friday, July 15, 2016

Russia makes every effort to hold "5+2" meeting on Transdniestria in 2016

Russia makes every effort to hold another meeting on Transdniestrian settlement in the "5+2" format until the end of 2016, Russian Foreign Ministry’s Ambassador-at-Large and Russia’s envoy to negotiations on Transdniestrian settlement Sergey Gubarev said on Friday.

The "5+2" format brings together Moldova and Transdniestria as sides in the conflict; Russia, Ukraine and OSCE as mediators; United States and European Union as observers. Talks on Transdniestrian settlement in the extended "5+2" format were suspended in 2014 when Tiraspol accused Moldovan authorities of pressure. The first "5+2" meeting after a two-year pause took place on June 3 in Berlin.

"The situation is the following. Presidential campaign officially kick off at the end of August or start of September in both Moldova and Transdniestria," Gubarev said. "The attention of all political forces, as well as officials, will be mainly focused on this important issue - who will be the president on the one bank, and who will be the president on the other bank. That’s why it is probably not reasonable to count on some active and consistent steps," he added.

He reminded that elections are planned to take place on December 11 in Transdniestria and on October 30 in Moldova. "I think that it would be more reasonable to think about organizing work starting from next year," Gubarev said.

The diplomat noted that some objective obstacles remain on the way of Transdniestrian settlement, for instance Moldova’s 2005 law on the legal status of the breakaway republic. "In order to facilitate the process of settlement - and everyone shares this opinion - it is necessary to adhere to the effective tactic of small steps that may improve, normalize the lives of ordinary people on both banks. In the end, our activities are aimed at this," he concluded.

The Transdniestrian conflict started in March 1992 when the first clashes occurred between Moldovan police and Transdniestrian militia near the city of Dubossary, which were followed by an outbreak of armed hostilities. By summer, it had developed into large-scale fighting in Bendery, where about a thousand people were killed and tens of thousands were wounded and became refugees.

The fratricidal war was stopped after a peace agreement was signed in Moscow in July of the same year and Russian peacekeepers were brought into the conflict area. Since then, they have been guarding peace and calm in the region, together with their Moldovan and Transdniestrian colleagues, thus allowing Chisinau and Tiraspol to conduct negotiations on the settlement of the conflict around the breakaway republic.


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