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TIRASPOL, August 31 /TASS/. Moldova’s unrecognized Transdniestria will never agree to proposals made by Moldova and Ukraine to change the format of the peacekeeping operation in the region, Yevgeny Shevchuk, the unrecognized republic’s president, told TASS on Monday.
"It is unreasonable to change the peacekeeping operation’s format. That may create the foundation for a future war," Shevchuk stressed adding that the Russian troops stopped a bloody armed conflict in the Dniester region in 1992 in which more than a thousand people died and tens of thousands were injured or became refugees.
"Since then they have been safeguarding peace in the region together with the ‘blue helmets’ from Moldova and the Dniester Republic as well as Ukrainian monitors. Over that time, there has not been a single outbreak of violence in the conflict region and no people have died. We believe that we should stick to the existing agreements under which the mechanisms of the peacekeeping operation can be revised only after Tiraspol and Chisinau find a comprehensive formula for the conflict’s political settlement," Shevchuk explained.
"Any talk about that would be premature under the current circumstances when he we are failing to reach accord in politics, economy, freedom of movement and other vital issues," the unrecognized republic’s president said.
He expressed the hope that the participants in the "5+2" negotiations /Moldova, the Dniester Republic, Russia, Ukraine, the OSCE and observers from the European Union and the United States/ would be consistent in those issues and would not create any additional problems, which might destabilize the situation in future.
Shevchuk noted that when hostilities broke out in Bendery in the summer of 1992, the international monitors, whom Chisinau and Kiev want to return, could not do anything and left the conflict zone where peaceful civilians later died.
Moldova suggested replacing the Russian peacekeepers with international monitors a few years ago. Gennady Altukhov, Ukraine’s charge d’affaires in Moldova, said in August this year that the existing format of the peacekeeping operation was unlikely to contribute to settling the Dniester crisis. "The replacement of the peacekeepers with a huge number of international experts would be a more effective step in settling the conflict," Altukhov said.
At present, the joint peacekeeping forces in the Dniester region comprise 402 Russian servicemen, 492 troopers of the Dniester Republic, 355 Moldovan servicemen and 10 military observers from Ukraine. They serve at 15 stationary posts and checkpoints deployed on the key sections of security zone in the Dniester region.