TIRASPOL, December 28 (Itar-Tass) - The Dniester Republic wants Russian peacekeepers to stay until a political settlement is finally reached, Yevgeny Shevchuk, the president of the unrecognized Dniester Republic, told journalists on Friday, commenting on the proposal of the Moldovan leadership to replace “Russian Blue Helmets” by civilian observers.
"It’s time to stop creating preconditions for a war. Regrettably, we can see that representatives of Moldova’s political elite couldn’t refrain from aggressive remarks about the Dniester Republic in the outgoing year. These remarks are a source of concern for our people, in the first place,” Shevchuk went on to say.
He gave some figures, according to which about 40 incidents had occurred in the buffer zone on the Dniester River this year. They were settled by the Joint Control Commission that supervises the peacekeeping operation and commands the peacekeeping battalions of Russia, Moldova and the Dniester Republic.
"This is another evidence that the peacekeeping operation is a serious guarantee that the tragic events of 1992 when thousands of people were killed, wounded or became refugees will never repeat,” Shevchuk emphasized.
He recalled that the Russian peacekeepers were staying in the Dniester region under an agreement that was signed in Moscow in 1992 and allowed solving the conflict peacefully.
"First, under this document the Russian Group of Troops carries out a peacekeeping operation. Second, the Russian Group of Troops continues guarding munitions in the Kolbasnoye village of the Rybnitsky district, which is the property of the Russian army,” Shevchuk said, adding that the population of the Dniester Republic would like to expand the Russian military presence in the region in the foreseeable future.
This year, the Dniester Republic has marked the 20th anniversary of the peacekeeping operation in the Dniester Valley. The Joint Peacekeeping Forces of Russia, Moldova and the Dniester Republic as well as Ukrainian observers have been guarding the security zone on the banks of the Dniester River since the end of an armed conflict between Moldova and the Dniester Republic under an agreement on the principles of the conflict’s peaceful settlement singed on July 21, 1992. Moldova considers the conflict to be over and believes that the existing peacekeeping format should be changed by replacing the peacekeepers by civilian observers under the OSCE mandate.