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MOSCOW, January 17. /TASS/. Russia ready to act as a mediator and a guarantor in order to help settle the Transnistria issue, Russian President Vladimir Putin said at a press conference following his talks with his Moldovan counterpart Igor Dodon.
According to Putin, at Tuesday’s meeting, the parties exchanged their views on the matter.
"We need to search for a mutually acceptable legal model to settle this issue based on generally recognized international laws," the Russian leader stated. "Russia is ready to continue acting as a mediator and back the agreements that the parties to the conflict may reach."
"We consistently advocate the republic’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, preservation of its non-aligned and neutral status," the Russian leader said.
Dodon has expressed the hope that Russia will provide assistance in resolving the Transnistrian crisis.
"Transnistria is part of the Republic of Moldova… I do very much hope that, due to active involvement of our strategic partners in Russia, we will make progress in solving the problems residents on both banks of the Dniester River are facing," he said.
According to Dodon, Moldova "has learned the lessons and took into account the mistakes of the early 2000s" concerning resolving the Transnistrian issue. "I am sure that we will not make these mistakes again and will move forward," he said.
The Russian president said Moscow would like to remain informed on Moldova’s cooperation with the European Union.
"We have no objections if our counterparts, including Moldova, develop their relations with other countries, particularly in Europe," Putin said. "Only we would like to remain informed, so that things that we have achieved are not destroyed while our economies and social sector continue to develop leading to a growth in living standards."
According to Putin, Tuesday’s talks were substantive, the parties thoroughly discussed the entire range of bilateral relations and set guidelines for further cooperation. The two presidents paid particular attention to regional cooperation. The Russian leader welcomed Moldova’s determination to fully restore relations.
Dodon has said it is impossible to protect the republic’s statehood and solve some other problems without strategic partnership with Russia.
"Preserving Moldova’s statehood and neutrality, the country’s reintegration, tackling the Transnistrian issue and preserving Orthodox Christian values - all that cannot be protected and solved without strategic partnership with Russia," he said.
"I don’t rule out that after the next parliamentary polls, the parliamentary majority’s position would be in favor of revoking this agreement. And I will support such position," he added.
Russia will work with Moldova to resume economic ties with due account of the Chisinau’s relations with the European Union, Putin went on.
"Much will depend on how Moldova builds its relations with the European Union. I mean Moldova’s agreement on association with the European Union that was signed and enforced," he said.
"There are certain risks for us in this context," the Russian leader admitted. "These risks are of the same nature we had after similar documents were signed between Ukraine and the European Union. To my mind, we have always been telling about this quite openly and in a well-argued manner to our partners both in the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) and in Europe."
"Much can and must be done in this context in the trilateral format, naturally, if our European friend and our Moldovan partners want it," Putin stressed.
According to Putin, many Moldovan companies are already selling their products in Russia. "We have agreed that a number of Moldovan companies will be additionally inspected by relevant Russian structures and I don’t rule out, I am almost sure, that the number of companies enjoying the right to export their products to the Russian market will go up," he said.
The same, in his words, is applicable to issues of labor migration. "From the point of view of the problem of unwanted persons’ entering our territory, we have less threats coming from Moldova than from other countries," Putin said, adding that many Moldovans are economically dependent on jobs in Russia. "We understand it and want to help," the Russian leader pledged. "I think we will find a solution."
Putin said after his talks with Dodon that they had instructed experts to prepare proposals on resolving problems in the energy sector.
"After the talks, we instructed experts to prepare proposals to settle current problems [of Russia’s oil and gas supplies to Moldova," he said, adding that Russia ensures stable oil and gas supplies to Moldova.
"One hundred percent of Moldova’s natural gas demand is met by Russia," he said.
Apart from that, according to the Russian leader, cooperation between Russia’s and Moldova’s regions has a vast potential for development. Thus, in his words, about 67 Russian regions maintain contacts with Moldovan partners, including with the Gagauz autonomy.
Putin also said the sides have agreed to take steps to develop cooperation in the humanitarian sphere.
Russia welcomes the courage of Moldovan President Igor Dodon who has made a trip to Transdniestria and counts on the beginning of constructive talks on the Transdniestrian settlement, Putin said.
"We welcome the courage displayed by Moldova’s newly-elected President Igor Nikolayevich Dodon who has made a trip to Transdniestria because this is undoubtedly the demonstration of the desire to restore not only relations but to restore the country’s territorial integrity," Putin said.
"This is also the clear manifestation of the respect for the people who are living in Transdniestria," Putin said.
The Russian leader said he hoped that such a step by the Moldovan president "will create very good conditions for starting constructive and serious negotiations on the Transdniestrian settlement.".
Putin has expressed satisfaction over Chisinau’s plans to be more actively involved in CIS activities. He also expressed hopes that agreements on cooperation with the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) will be reached with Moldova.
"We paid attention at the talks to the integration process in the Eurasian space. Russia as the current CIS chairman welcomes the (Moldovan) president’s determination to make Moldova’s involvement in the activities of the Commonwealth (of Independent States) more active," he said.
The Russian leader noted that his Moldovan counterpart met with the Eurasian Economic Commission’s Board Chairman in Moscow earlier in the day. "I do hope that we will be able to reach certain agreements in this regard to remove all possible concerns in the economic sphere and expand the basis for cooperation," Putin said.
Moldova plans to obtain a status of an observer state in the Eurasian Economic Union, Dodon added.
"This morning I met with the leadership of the Eurasian Economic Commission. Today I put forward the initiative of signing a framework memorandum on cooperation with the EAEU. We agreed that in the coming weeks we will launch consultations to sign this memorandum in the coming months," Dodon said.
Dodon said he asked Putin "to consider a possibility that Moldova becomes an observer in the Eurasian Economic Commission and in the EAEU," he said.
He noted that the signing of a memorandum won’t contradict Moldova’s agreements with other countries. Dodon voiced hope that in the forthcoming weeks the list of Moldovan goods supplied to Russia will be extended.
The EAEU is an economic bloc that came into force in January 2015, bringing together Russia, Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan.