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Transnistria worried over Moldova’s militarization — top diplomat

Vitaly Ignatyev also expressed concern over Moldova’s refusal to implement the existing agreements and delays in the Transnistrian settlement talks

CHISINAU, June 21. /TASS/. Transnistria is concerned over Moldova’s militarization, as this runs counter to the policy of neutrality laid out in its constitution, Foreign Minister of the unrecognized republic of Transnistria Vitaly Ignatyev said.

"We see elements of militarization, expansion of military drills, military equipment and weapons being delivered to neighboring Moldova. Bearing in mind the fact that our conflict has not yet been settled, arming one of the conflicting parties is a destabilizing factor," the press service of the Transnistrian foreign minister quoted him as saying at a meeting with Director of the OSCE Conflict Prevention Centre Kate Fearon.

He also expressed concern over Moldova’s refusal to implement the existing agreements and delays in the Transnistrian settlement talks.

"The situation at the talks is degrading. Problems are piling up and are becoming more and more pressing. And Moldova’s militarization creates additional tension," he noted, expressing hope that the Center employees will help give an impetus to the negotiating process.

Fearon, in turn, said that the OSCE is ready to support any ideas promoting the peaceful settlement process and pledged to continue efforts toward a consensus acceptable for both parties to the conflict.

Transnistria, a largely Russian-speaking region on the left bank of the Dniester River, broke away from Moldova in September 1990 when radical Moldovan politicians demanded that the republic withdraw from the former Soviet Union and unify with Romania. Its relations with Moldova’s central government in Chisinau have been highly mixed and extremely tense at times ever since then. In 1992, after Chisinau tried to resolve the problem with the use of force, 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 ceasefire was signed in 1992 and Russian peacekeepers were brought into the conflict area. Negotiations on the conflict’s peace settlement known as the 5+2 format (Moldova, Transnistria, the OSCE, Russia, Ukraine and observers from the United States and the European Union) started after that.

The latest official meeting in the 5+2 format was held in Bratislava in 2019. The pause was first explained by political instability in Moldova but then relations between the two Dniester banks became more strained after Maia Sandu was elected Moldovan president. She made a series of tough statements about Transnistria and refused to meet with its president, Vladimir Krasnoselsky.

Meanwhile, Transnistria insists the talks in this format be resumed unconditionally. Earlier, the OSCE mission to Moldova also admitted that the break in the negotiating process had added to the tensions between Moldova and Transnistria.