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Russian envoy calls for intensifying Transnistria talks

The "five plus two" negotiations on Transnistria have been stalled since the spring of 2014
Tiraspol, Transnistria EPA/DUMITRU DORU
Tiraspol, Transnistria

CHISINAU, October 11. /TASS/. Russia’s Special Representative for the Transnistrian Settlement, Sergey Gubarev, has expressed the hope that Italy’s chairmanship in the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) will make it possible to revive the "five plus two" negotiations (involving Moldova, Transnistria, the OSCE, Russia and Ukraine plus the US and the EU as observers) that have been stalled for three years.

"We will have to wait for the next year. I do hope that Italy’s chairmanship will not follow Austria’s path (Austria holds the OSCE chairmanship in 2017 -TASS), which has proved to be a mistake, as experience shows," the diplomat stressed on Wednesday following two-day talks held in Chisinau and Tiraspol earlier this week. He recalled that Austria refused to revive the negotiations under the pretext that they should end by reaching specific agreements.

"I have said honestly more than once that, if the parties could act in this way, there would be no need for international mediation efforts. Chisinau and Tiraspol would have long agreed on everything between themselves, and the issue would have been resolved," Gubarev said. He added that the participants in the "five plus two" format last gathered for an informal meeting in Berlin more than a year ago during Germany’s OSCE chairmanship.

Three years without negotiations

The "five plus two" negotiations on Transnistria have been stalled since the spring of 2014. Last year, two informal meetings that brought together the participants in the negotiation process were held in Germany where the parties agreed to solve the problem of recognizing passports, establish cooperation in communications and telecommunications and abandon criminal prosecution of officials. However, these agreements have never been fully implemented.

The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, with Germany and Austria holding the organization’s chairmanship at that time, was unable to bring the parties back to the negotiating table. Transnistria’s Foreign Minister Vitaly Ignatyev earlier called for the resumption of the "five plus two" talks due to the growing tensions in the region.

Moscow likewise called for convening a new "five plus two" meeting at an early date. However, the OSCE believes that, before such a meeting is held, the parties to the conflict must reach preliminary agreements on at least some issues of concern.

Chisinau and Tiraspol currently discuss eight issues that could be solved in the interests of residents of the two banks of the Dniester. The working groups are coordinating the solutions. However, so far, they have been unable to come up with compromise options for discussion and decision-making during the "five plus two" talks.