MOSCOW, April 4. /TASS/. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said after a meeting with Moldovan Foreign Minister Andrei Galbur on Monday that the role of the Russian peacekeeping mission in the Trans-Dniester region should be respected.
"I am convinced that it is necessary to respect the role of the peacekeeping operation, which is one of the most successful, because no excesses, no clashes have taken place since the approval of the peacekeeping operation on the ground", Lavrov said.
"Of course, the whole political settlement process, when it starts - and, as I said, it is necessary to this end to establish trust and take concrete steps to defuse tensions on the ground - is our common concern, and it is on this that the work in the ‘5+2 format’ will be focused, at least, our participation in this format. This will also be the focus of the peacekeeping operation and our own role in ensuring security of the depots of weapons remaining from the Soviet era and the withdrawal of which from the territory of Moldova was unfortunately suspended in 2003, when the process with the aim of reaching a political agreement was disrupted," the Russian foreign minister added.
The joint peacekeeping forces, comprising 402 Russian peacekeepers, 492 Trans-Dniester troopers, 355 Moldovan servicemen and 10 military observers from Ukraine, have been maintaining peace in the Trans-Dniester region since 1992. The region has not seen a single outbreak of violence over the past 24 years. That gave politicians a chance to search for an agreement for the conflict’s settlement. Negotiations in the "5 + 2" format (Moldova, Trans-Dniester republic, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), Russia, Ukraine and observers from the United States and the European Union) were interrupted in February 2006 after the Moldovan delegation had left the talks having accused Trans-Dniester of inability to be flexible. The dialogue resumed later with Russia’s help: the former presidents of Moldova and the Trans-Dniester republic met in April 2008 for the first time after a seven-year interval. However, that process also came to a halt because of the unstable political situation in the Moldovan capital Chisinau.