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Transdniestria leader praises Russian initiatives to unfreeze settlement talks

July 05, 11:11 UTC+3 TIRASPOL
According to Yevgeny Shevchuk, Ukraine casts doubt on its status as a mediator at talks on Transdniestrian settlement
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Yevgeny Shevchuk and Dmitry Rogozin (archive)

Yevgeny Shevchuk and Dmitry Rogozin (archive)

© ITAR-TASS/Sergey Karpov

TIRASPOL, July 5. /TASS/. Germany that is holding the OSCE chairmanship has been able to unfreeze the negotiations on the Trans-Dniester conflict settlement thanks to the initiatives put forward by Russian diplomats, leader of the unrecognized republic Yevgeny Shevchuk told TASS in an interview on Tuesday, commenting on a meeting in the "five plus two" format (Moldova, Trans-Dniester Republic, Russia, Ukraine, the OSCE, as well as observers from the EU and US), which took place in Berlin on June 3 after a two-year interval.

"It is no coincidence that these initiatives almost completely formed the basis of the protocol on the results of the Berlin meeting. The fact that the Russian proposals are actually aimed at neutralizing the most sensitive, problematic aspects of the Moldova-Trans-Dniester region dialogue also played an important role. Russia in this sense has once again confirmed its status as the most responsible and consistent participant in the negotiating process, a guarantor country," Shevchuk said.

According to him, the Russians proposal are aimed at resolving the problem of criminal prosecution of citizens on political grounds, the working out of an effective mechanism to implement the agreements reached at the talks, as well as settling all the contradictions exclusively through negotiations.

Meanwhile, according to Shevchuk, Ukraine casts doubt on its status as a mediator at talks on Transdniestrian settlement, thus helping Chisinau to exert pressure on Tiraspol.

"Because of the crisis in Ukraine, the reality around Transdniestria has literally changed. It became normal for Ukrainian officials and media to use rhetoric of some kind of ‘Transdniestrian threat’. By this, Kiev has ‘re-qualified’ from guarantor and mediator in the process of Moldovan-Transdniestrian settlement into an ally of one of the sides in the conflict - Moldova," Shevchuk said.

He noted that after the crisis started in Ukraine, Kiev authorities have imposed a ban on crossing the Ukrainian border for Transdniestrians with Russian citizenship. Problems also appeared with movement of goods. Shevchuk said that an anti-tank ditch appeared along the border on the Ukrainian side, along with checkpoints and other fortifications.

"Chisinau took it as a chance to fulfill some kind of ‘Napoleonic plans’ to suffocate Transdniestria - by sanctions, threats, blackmailing and other measures," he continued. Restrictive measures introduced by Kiev and Chisinau considerably undermined the economic potential of Transdniestria, he added.

Tiraspol is open to dialogue

The Trans-Dniester leader said that in his view, haste is inadmissible in determining the final formula of the Trans-Dniester settlement. "I am convinced that haste is inadmissible here. Only at the negotiating table it is possible to find a lasting and viable solution, there is no alternative to negotiations. And it is not easy to reach compromise in the current situation," Shevchuk said.

He recalled that in 2005 the Moldovan parliament unilaterally adopted the law, which determined the status of the Trans-Dniester region as an integral part of Moldova. In response, Trans-Dniester Republic held a referendum in 2006 in which 97.1% of the voters supported independence and subsequent accession to Russia.

"As the president, I must follow the will of the people. And nobody abolished in Moldova the law adopted in 2005," Shevchuk said. According to him, Tiraspol is open to negotiations with Moldova to settle the urgent problems faced by the residents of the two banks of the Dniester.

"We hope that based on the previous agreements with the participation of international mediators, we will be able to build a fruitful and socially-oriented dialogue. We, for our part, will make every possible effort," said the leader of Tiraspol. According to him, to unfreeze the Trans-Dniester settlement negotiations, it is important for "Moldova to stop using loud statements, political ultimatums and attempts to simulate the negotiations."

"I am confident that it is possible to defuse the tense situation forming around the Trans-Dniester region. The political will and readiness for a civilized dialogue, consistency of steps, the fulfilment of commitments are required to this end," Shevchuk said.

The traditional Bavarian conference on confidence-building measures between Chisinau and Tiraspol is planned to be held in July this year. It is an annual informal event held in the vicinity of Munich since 2009. The the parties are expected to prepare for this meeting coordinated solutions from the package, which was discussed in Berlin.

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