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OSCE impedes unfreezing of Transdniestria conflict, says envoy

June 29, 2017, 4:39 UTC+3 VIENNA

"The situation at the talks remains highly complicated," said Sergei Gubarev, the Russian Foreign Ministry’s special envoy

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VIENNA, June 29. /TASS/. The position taken by Austrian presidency in the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe regarding the conflict around Moldova’s independence-minded Transdniestria region does not make it possible to unfreeze the settling of that dragged-out conflict, Sergei Gubarev, the Russian Foreign Ministry’s special envoy for Transdniestria settlement told TASS on Wednesday.

As a member of the Russian delegation, he was taking part in the OSCE’s annual security review conference. On Wednesday, he addressed participants in the forum with an analysis of the situation in the Transdniestria region.

"The situation at the talks remains highly complicated, as the functioning of the only internationally recognized floor for negotiations -the Permanent Conference for Political Issues in the Framework of Negotiations on Transdniestria Peace Settlement (the Five plus Two Format) - is blocked in practical terms," Gubarev said.

"A very considerable achievement made fairly recently, the resumption of activities of the Permanent Conference after a lull of two years with strong assistance on behalf of international mediators, and primarily Russia and Germany, has been wasted in vain," he said.

He leveled sharp criticism at the formula of the Austria presidency, which claims each meeting in the five-plus-two format should be crowned with tangible results and the signing of agreements.

"If the parties to the conflict were able to agree on their own, there would be no need in international mediating then but, unfortunately, the practical situation is different," Gubarev said.

He called attention to the Austrian denial of Transdniestria’s right to participate in the negotiations as a full-fledged party or discuss a broad scope of issues in the five-plus-two format - a factor that obviously does not facilitate normalization and movement forward.

"No one argues that only a compromise reached peaceful at a conference table can serve as a solution to the Transdniestria problem," Gubarev said. "The main thing at this stage is to enact the tactics of small steps and establishing of collaboration between people on both banks of the Dniester River (Transdniestria and Moldova’s central government - TASS)."

"Still, to generate this kind of trust, it’s important to conduct negotiations and to reach agreements and the Five-plus-Two floor was set up exactly for this purpose while the attempts to leave the conflicting sides face-to-face are counterproductive," the envoy said.

"The decisions reached at the previous round of Five-plus-Two talks in Berlin last year showed that the sides have the ability to reach compromises when there is active international participation," Gubarev said. "A contrived narrowing of the tasks of the Permanent Conference runs counter to the essence of political dialogue and to the agreements registered during Irish presidency of the OSCE by all parties to the negotiations."

The latter agreement said meetings in the Five-plus-Two format should be held no less than six times a year without any preconditions.

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