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Moldova, Transnistria speak in favor of invigorating settlement talks

The sides are still failing to elaborate a mechanism for guaranteeing implementation of agreements they reach

CHISINAU, July 12. /TASS/. Moldova’s and Transnistria’s authorities have agreed to invigorate settlement talks and reach concrete solutions to disputable matters by the end of the current year, the press service of the OSCE Mission to Moldova said on Friday after a visit by a delegation of mediators and observers in the negotiating process on the Transnistrian settlement.

"The mediators and observers welcomed the political commitment shown by the leaderships of both Sides to further build on the positive dynamic in the Transnistrian settlement process and to achieve further tangible results by the end of this year with regard to the implementation of the Berlin-plus package," the mission said in a press statement.

The sides agreed to gather for a meeting in the 5+2 format involving Moldova and Transnistria as parties to the conflict, Russia, Ukraine and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) as mediators and the United States and the European Union as observers in Bratislava, Slovakia within the next three months "to take stock of the progress made with regard to the implementation of the Berlin-plus package and to identify further priority issues in the field of confidence-building measures," the press service said. "The mediators and observers further welcomed the readiness of both Sides to address selected priority issues from the joint expert working groups in a retreat to be organized by the OSCE Mission to Moldova in Bavaria, Germany in autumn."

Berlin-plus package

Since 2016, Chisinau and Tiraspol have reached agreement on a number of disputable matters such as the joint use of border lands and operation of Moldovan schools in Transnistria. Chisinau recognized Transnistrian diplomas. Apart from that, a bridge across the Dniester was opened and the process of legalization of Transnistrian car plates began.

However, they are still reluctant to drop criminal prosecution of each other’s officials and have problems in the communications area. Apart from that, they are still failing to elaborate a mechanism for guaranteeing implementation of agreements they reach.

Positions of the sides

The negotiating process lost momentum following Moldovan parliamentary election campaign at the beginning of the year that ultimately resulted in the change of power in that country. After Friday’s meeting with the delegation of mediators, Moldovan President Igor Dodon called for the soonest resumption of talks in the 5+2 format and singled out a number of top priority problems, such as ways to ensure unimpeded movement for people between the Dniester banks, humanitarian projects, including guaranteeing the right to education, the establishment of a common economic space and creating conditions for the launch of talks on the political settlement of the Dniester problem.

Meanwhile, Tiraspol plans to focus on the problem of criminal cases against its officials opened in Moldova. It also wants to discuss possible interbank cooperation and lifting of the ban on imports of medicines.

Transnistrian conflict

Transnistria, a largely Russian-speaking region, broke away from Moldova following the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. Its relations with Moldova’s central government in Chisinau have been highly mixed and extremely tense at times ever since then. In 1992 and 1993, tensions erupted into a bloody armed conflict that claimed the lives of hundreds of people on both sides.

The fratricidal war was stopped after a peace agreement was signed in Moscow in 1992 and Russian peacekeepers were brought into the conflict area. Negotiations on the conflict’s peace settlement known as the 5+2 format talks started after that.