CHISINAU, March 3 /TASS/. Moldova and the Republic of Transdniestria, which is officially part of Moldova, have agreed to relaunch negotiations interrupted in 2014 amidst worsening relations and Moldova’s political crisis, Moldovan and Transdniestrian officials said on Thursday.
"We are ready to sit down to negotiations to discuss a wide range of problems existing in bilateral relations without reservations. In pursuit of this goal, we have agreed to give additional impetus to the activities of joint working groups, which are working on solutions at the inter-departmental level. However, it should be noted that readiness for dialogue should be mutual," Moldova’s Vice-Premier George Balan, who represents Moldova at the talks with Transdniestria, said after meeting Vitaly Ignatyev, the foreign minister of Transdniestria, for the first time this year.
According to Balan, the relations between Moldova and Transdniestria have noticeably deteriorated during the pause. Chisinau expects concessions from Tiraspol in questions of joint use of land; facilitation of citizens’ movement via the administrative border and problems, which Moldovan institutions encounter on the left bank of the Dniester River (Transdniestria).
Transdniestria’s list of claims is much wider. Vitaly Ignatyev mentioned criminal prosecution by Moldovan police of Transdniestrian officials, including even those who participate in the settlement talks. The Transdniestrian foreign minister also raised the question of restrictions, which Ukraine and Moldova had imposed on the unrecognized republic’s foreign trade and transport communication; the recognition of papers issued in Transdniestria, etc.
Ignatyev also said that the representatives of Chisinau and Tiraspol had agreed to meet regularly to prepare materials for a meeting with brokers and monitors at the "3 plus 2" talks (the OSCE, Russia, Ukraine and the European Union and the United States as observers) slated for April. A decision on negotiations in the "5 plus 2" format, involving all the parties concerned, will be made later, the Transdniestrian foreign minister said.
During his recent visits to Moldova and Transdniestria, Cord Meier-Klodt of Germany, the newly appointed Special Representative of the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office for the Transdniestrian Settlement, recommended the sides to focus on the solution of urgent socio-economic problems crucial for their people’s well-being. Ignatyev supported Meier-Klodt’s stance adding that in 2012 Transdniestria had suggested the "tactics of small steps" aimed at building reciprocal trust between Moldova and the unrecognized republic.
"Small but concrete practical solutions are better than ambitious declarations," Ignatyev said.