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Transdniestria diplomat says Russian peacekeepers must stay as conflict is still in place

December 07, 2015, 20:03 UTC+3 MOSCOW

Moldova insists on full withdrawal of Russian troops and armaments from Transdniestria

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©  ITAR-TASS/Sergey Karpov

MOSCOW, December 7. /TASS/. The Transdniestrian conflict is not over, that is why there is no reason for ending a Russian peacekeeping mission in the region, the acting foreign minister of Moldova’s breakaway republic, Vitaly Ignatiev, told Rossiya 24 television on Monday.

"This is a counterproductive approach," he said, noting that "unfortunately, the conflict has not been settled, and major problems persist, including in the security zone".

"Transdniestria has always spoken in favor of Russian peacekeepers staying until the Moldovan-Transdniestrian conflict sees the final comprehensive settlement," the top diplomat said.

He also cited an agreement of 1992 "On principles of peaceful settlement in the Transdniestrian region". It was signed by Moldova, for which the withdrawal from the agreement would mean a return to war. "Legally, it is implementing the agreements, but we know its political declarations - this is an attempt to reformat the peacekeeping format, bring in a certain peacekeeping mission of observers with unclear functions, with unclear aims and tasks," Ignatiev continued.

He said no problems happening with other peacekeeping missions, were fixed within the framework of the existing mission of peacekeepers, noting that no one had been killed. "This experience can be considered a standard and used on other spaces for conflict settlement," the diplomat said.

Moldova insists on full withdrawal of Russian troops and armaments from Transdniestria, and seeks that the current mission with Russia’s participation be transformed into a civil multinational mission with an international mandate.

The press service of Moldova’s Ministry for Foreign Affairs and European Integration quoted its minister, Natalia Gherman, as saying this at a session of the OSCE Council of Ministers in Belgrade.

At the same time, more than 90% of participants in a referendum in Transdniestria voted against the withdrawal of Russian peacekeepers, whom they see as guarantors of peace.

The Transdniestrian conflict started in March 1992 when the first clashes occurred between Moldovan police and Transdniestrian militia near the city of Dubossary, which were followed by an outbreak of armed hostilities. By summer, it had developed into large-scale fighting in Bendery, where about a thousand people were killed and tens of thousands were wounded and became refugees.

The fratricidal war was stopped after a peace agreement was signed in Moscow in July of the same year and Russian peacekeepers were brought into the conflict area.

Since then, they have been guarding peace and calm in the region, together with their Moldovan and Transdniestria colleagues, thus allowing Chisinau and Tiraspol to conduct negotiations on the settlement of the conflict around the breakaway republic.

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