TIRASPOL, November 5 (Itar-Tass) - Dniester Region suggests "civilized divorce" with Moldova whose leadership is set to pursue rapprochement with the European Union, leader of the self-proclaimed republic Yevgeny Shevchuk said in an interview to Itar-Tass on Tuesday. He was commenting on the association agreements with the EU which Moldova and Ukraine plan to sign at the Eastern Partnership summit in Vilnius.
"We respect our neighbor's choice, but the Dniester region has other priorities, such as Eurasian integration," Shevchuk said. He noted that the upcoming accords between Kiev and Chisinau and the EU include a free trade agreement. It will complicate the situation with exports of Dniester region goods to European markets and hit the Dniester region's economy entailing budget losses and impacting residents' welfare.
"Chisinau's obvious attempts to use change of rules of economic activity as an instrument to put pressure on the Dniester region forcing it to make this or that political decision can be viewed as sanctions," he said. "In this situation, we have to make decisions to protect our citizens' interests. Therefore, at the international conference on Dniester settlement in Germany last week, I offered Moldovan Prime Minister Iurie Leanca a formula of "civilized divorce." It requires determining all our contradictions regarding the border and launching relations at a new civilized level, Shevchuk went on.
He reminded that in 2005, the Moldovan parliament adopted the law on special status of the Dniester region without taking into account the opinion of its residents, while in 2006, the self-proclaimed republic held a referendum at which 97 percent of voters supported independence from Moldova and rapprochement with Russia.
"You can adopt laws unilaterally, but you have to understand that the Dniester region has never actually been part of Moldova," Shevchuk said. "In the first place, what matters to us is the decision by our people and "civilized approach," as the optimal option to stabilize the situation in the region, which will benefit all."
The published draft agreement on free Moldova-EU trade envisions phased elimination of customs duties and other trade barriers. Simultaneously with the association agreement, Chisinau is in talks over liberalizing the visa regulations with the EU. Brussels said one of the main obstacles in this area was a lack of control on the administrative border with the self-proclaimed Dniester region. To rectify the situation, Moldova began to set up migration posts on this border. Tiraspol is worried that some 300,000 Russians and Ukrainians living in the Dniester region will de-facto find themselves outside the law and be subject to administrative penalties. In Chisinau, the opposition sharply criticized the authorities' decision to establish migration control on the Dniester, as an attempt to use a border to get separated from the Dniester region.