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KLIMOVSK, Moscow Region, November 3 (Itar-Tass) —— Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin will go to Moldova in a bid to solve the question of opening a Russian consulate in the breakaway Republic of Transdniestria.
“I will insist on this – and this is my position of principle – if I go to Moldova [on November 16-17] for the sole purpose of raising the question of setting up this consulate,” Rogozin told Itar-Tass on Saturday, November 3, commenting on reports about a possible cancellation of the trip.
He said, “No cancellation is being considered for the time being.”
According to Rogozin, there are two unsolved questions on which Russia and Moldova disagree: the opening of a Russian consulate in Transdniestria and the debt for Russian natural gas supplies.
On the first question, Rogozin said, “It’s not clear what the problem is.”
“We respect the territorial integrity of the Republic of Moldova and wan to open consulates in two populated localities where a large number of Russian citizens [including in Tiraspol] live. But we are told: No, this can’t be done because consulates will basically mean recognition of Transdniestria’s independence,” he said.
He stressed that consulates are not embassies and that the Russian Embassy is in Chisinau.
As for the debt issue, Rogozin said there is a political collision. On the one hand, Moldova does not want to pay the debt that can put a large “hole” in its budget. On the other hand, if the Moldovan authorities insist that the debt should be paid by Transdniestria, by so doing they will recognise its independence.
“We think that they owe us money. If Transdniestria is a part of Moldova, then it’s their common debt,” Rogozin said.
The current price of natural gas for Moldova is calculated by the same formula that is used for all other European consumers: it was about 392 U.S. dollars for 1,000 cubic metres in the first half of this year.
Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said that Russia was prepared to reduce the price of gas for Moldova if it denounces the protocol on the enactment of the energy cooperation agreement with the EU and settles Transdniestria’s debt of 4.1 billion U.S. dollars.
According to Novak, Moldova requested a discount of 30 percent.
Diplomatic relations between Russia and Moldova were established on April 6, 1992. On November 19, 2001, the two countries signed the Treaty of Friendship and Cooperation, which entered into force on May 13, 2002. Up to date, Russia and Moldova have signed about 150 bilateral documents, agreements and protocols on cooperation in various areas.
Russia is the largest investor and trade partner of Moldova and accounts for 22 percent of its foreign trade turnover. Trade turnover between the two countries in the first half of this year was 999.5 million U.S. dollars. Moldovan export to Russia had reached 180.6 million U.S. dollars and Russian exports to Moldova had amounted to 818.9 million U.S. dollars.
Moldovan power industry depends on Russian natural gas supplies by 84 percent. Gazprom supplies about 3 billion cubic metres of natural gas to Moldova annually. In the third quarter of 2012 the average purchasing price of Russian natural gas was 400 U.S. dollars per 1,000 cubic metres. Moldova's overall debt for natural gas (excluding Transdniestria) in 2011 was 2.5 billion U.S. dollars.