VIENNA, February 27. /ITAR-TASS/. A new round of talks on the Transdniestrian settlement in the 5+2 format (Moldova, the Dniester region, the OSCE, Russia, Ukraine and observers from the EU and US) opened in Vienna on Thursday with Chisinau and Tiraspol failing to coordinate the agenda, a diplomatic source in Vienna told Itar-Tass.
Moldova and Transdniestria “have failed to coordinate the agenda, while the two-day consultations themselves proceed against the background of growing tensions in the region”, the source said.
“We will once again have to work without the agenda, which we failed to coordinate,” Transdniestrian Foreign Minister Nina Shtanski said at talks with Russian Ambassador to Moldova Farit Mukhametshin earlier in the week.
Relations between Moldova and its breakaway republic sharply deteriorated ahead of the talks. Tiraspol accused Chisinau of a new round of economic blockade after taxes for Transdniestria’s economic agents grew from January 1.
Moldovan representatives, for their part, accused Transdniestrian law enforcement officials of provocations in the “security zone” of the conflict, where the leadership of a Moldovan school and a team of Moldovan peacekeepers had been detained.
Following that, Transdniestria’s Foreign Ministry asked for postponement of the upcoming talks in Vienna, but at the recent meeting of Shtanski and Moldova’s Deputy Prime Minister Yevgeny Karpov, the sides agreed that in March Chisinau would cancel a tax increase.
Talks are also complicated by the fact that Chisinau insists on discussion of the future status of the self-proclaimed republic within Moldova. Transdniestria says this is premature and offers to focus on social and economic cooperation that could help strengthen mutual trust.
The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe also assesses the situation in the region as difficult.
The two-day meeting brings together representatives of the sides, mediators and observers in the negotiations — Moldova, Transdniestria, the OSCE, the Russian Federation, Ukraine, the US and the EU. The talks are chaired by Ambassador Radojko Bogojevic, the Special Representative of the Swiss OSCE Chairperson-in-Office for the Transdniestrian Settlement Process.