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Trans-Dniester conflict needs viable compromise – RF envoy

March 01, 2012, 10:08 UTC+3
There can be no absolute winners in the long-running conflict in the Trans-Dniester region, Gubarev told
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DUBLIN, March 1 (Itar-Tass) — There can be no absolute winners in the long-running conflict in the Trans-Dniester region and only a viable compromise is needed, Sergei Gubarev, Russia’s presidential envoy on Transdniestria issues, told Itar-Tass after the “5+2” talks in Dublin.

“Unfortunately, start positions of Tiraspol and Chisinau are diametrically opposite. In 2005 Moldova adopted a law on legal status of localities on the left bank of the Dniester region that defines the Trans-Dniester region as Moldova’s exclusive geographic area without taking into consideration specifics of the region’s population, historic or cultural traditions,” he said.

“The Trans-Dniester region responded to this law by a referendum in September 2006, where 97 percent of the population voted for the region going independent and joining Russia. These are two ferroconcrete anchors that keep both Chisinau and Tiraspol. I am strongly confident that there can be no absolute winners in the conflict. There can be only a viable compromise, when one party relinquishes some principles and the second one – other principles for the sake of achieving an evident, real and commonly understood goal. Meanwhile, the settlement process is taken differently on the left and right bank of the Dniester River,” Gubarev said.

He noted that at the talks the conflicting parties, mediators – Russia, Ukraine, and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) - and observers from the United States and the European Union took efforts “to coordinate a document on the principles and procedures of the talks that seeks to codify behavior of the parties and other participants in the negotiating process.”

“It really fixes principally important mechanisms that will create a legal base for the peaceful conflict settlement. The resumption of the talks does not mean that the conflict is settled. The talks are only an instrument that will help to regulate the settlement process,” the envoy said.

“Our task is to drive the parties to common understanding and vision of the word “settlement,” he said adding that the process is not easy as “every word is checked to avoid possible dual interpretation.”

“To put it mildly, it is unreasonable to expect any breakthroughs from every meeting,” Gubarev said. “Any mistake can be paid a very high price, therefore we have no intention to make haste. Nobody will get offended if the documents that we should draft and adopt will be finalized by one, two or three months later. Offences will be taken at us, if these documents are incomplete and ill-considered.”

The diplomat explained the Dublin talks managed “to lift square brackets on a range of principal issues.” “Every word defines each party’s position and quite certain approach and it is a very uneasy task to find a compromise wording that would reconcile these approaches and at the same time would drive us in the right direction.”

The diplomat praised the talks’ organization. “Irish people who had learnt a lesson from the settlement of the conflict in Northern Ireland realize well enough that this issue has no easy solution. There can be no miracles, only effort- and time-consuming, careful and well-balanced activities and the approach that takes into consideration interests of all conflicting parties can yield the results. I had an impression that Ireland sets quite real tasks that can be resolved for twelve months of its presidency over the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, in particular it seeks to develop a core document that will regulate the negotiating process, to finalize the agenda that will meet both parties’ interests and start discussing some issues on this agenda.”

Gubarev described bilateral contacts between Russia and Ireland as “very fruitful and productive.”

“It seems to me that our contacts can yield convincing and concrete results,” he said.

The envoy underlined that the issue of replacing Russia’s peacekeeping contingent in the conflict zone was not discussed during the two-day talks in Dublin.

“Our peacekeepers have no plans to stay there forever. The thing is that now the dismantling of the security zone will lead the parties to direct armed confrontation. The security zone that stretches over 80 percent of the Trans-Dniester region builds that very buffer that has been keeping the conflicting parties from direct armed clashes for more than 20 years,” Gubarev said.

The issue of raising the EU status in the negotiating process was not discussed as well.

“For me it is slightly unclear the EU and the U.S.’ intention to raise their status, as they in no way discriminated in the negotiating process,” Gubarev said.

 

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