CHISINAU, February 17 (Itar-Tass) —— Russia, Ukraine and the OSCE have offered Moldova and Transdniestria to mark jointly the 20th anniversary of the Transdniestrian conflict, says the statement of representatives of the three sides to the Joint Control Commission governing the peacekeeping operation in Transdniestria.
“Bearing in mind the events, which took place during mourning marches last year, we propose to the authorities of both parties to the conflict to organize joint remembrance events on March 2,” the statement said. It suggested that the joint remembrance events could build up confidence and show an example to the younger generation. The Joint Control Commission called on Moldova and Transdniestria to exchange notifications of the planned events and to display tolerance towards each other.
On March 2, 1992, the first clashes between the Moldovan police and Transdniestrian volunteers occurred and started the hostilities. The conflict developed into clashes in Bendery in July 1922. About 1,000 people died and thousands were injured and turned refugees. Remembrance events are held annually near the victims’ tombs in Chisinau, Tiraspol, Bendery, Dubossary and other cities.
The Russian and Moldovan presidents signed the agreement "On Principles of the Peace Settlement of the Armed Conflict in the Transdniestrian Region of the Republic of Moldova" in Moscow on July 21, 1992. The agreement started the peacekeeping operation in the region. The joint peacekeeping force is made of 335 servicemen of Russia, 453 servicemen of Moldova, 490 servicemen of Transdniestria and ten military observers of Ukraine. The peacekeeping operation is unique, as there has not been a single outbreak of violence all through the operation period. The lull enables Chisinau and Tiraspol to discuss the peace settlement of the conflict. Negotiations are held in the 5+3 format with the participation of intermediaries from Russia, Ukraine and the OSCE and observers from the European Union and the United States.
The Russian contingent had 2,400 servicemen in 1992. Yet it was reduced to two battalions in 1997 and Russia unilaterally cut its contingent to 500 servicemen in 1998 in compliance with the Odessa agreements.