VIENNA, March 28. /ITAR-TASS/. Talks on the settlement of the conflict over Moldova’s breakaway region of Transnistria have not been postponed, Russia’s ambassador to the OSCE has said.
“We expect the talks to be held on the date,” Russian permanent representative to the OSCE Andrei Kelin told a video conference on Friday.
The talks within the 5+2 format (Russia, Moldova, Transnistria, Ukraine, the OSCE and observers from the EU and the US) are scheduled for April 10-11.
The Transnistrian conflict started in March 1992, when first clashes occurred between Moldovan police and Transnistrian militia near the city of Dubossary, which were followed by an outbreak of armed hostilities. By summer, it had developed into large-scale fighting in Bendery, where about a thousand people were killed and tens of thousands were wounded and became refugees.
The fratricidal war was stopped after a peace agreement was signed in Moscow in July of the same year, and Russian peacekeepers were brought into the conflict area.
Since then, they have been guarding peace and calm in the region, together with their Moldovan and Transnistrian colleagues, thus allowing Chisinau and Tiraspol to conduct negotiations on the settlement of the conflict.
The limited group of Russian troops (LGRT) and Russian peacekeepers are staying in the Transnistrian Moldovan Republic in accordance with the Agreement on the Principles of Peaceful Settlement of the Moldovan-Transnistrian Conflict that was signed in 1992 by the heads of Russia and the Republic of Moldova in the presence of the president of Transnistria. The joint statement of the presidents of Moldova, Transnistria and Russia signed on March 18, 2009 noted the stabilizing role of the Russian peacekeeping mission in the region and the advisability for its transformation into a peace-safeguarding operation under the auspices of the OSCE only after the Transnistrian settlement. The LGRT guards the remains of arms depots that were built during the Second World War and that began to be moved out in 2000. This process was later stopped by the Transnistrian authorities following a deep stalemate in the Moldovan-Transnistrian conflict.
Since then, they have been guarding peace in the region together with their Moldovans and Transnistrian colleagues. No armed clashes or deaths of peaceful citizen have been reported in the region during this period.
The Transnistrian settlement talks in 5+2 format were broken up at the end of February 2006. Chisinau and Tiraspol managed to resume the dialogue with Russia’s assistance two years later at the level of political representatives. They gathered every month to resolve pressing problems of the population of Moldova and the breakaway republic. In March 2009, the negotiations were resumed again after the trilateral meeting of the presidents of Russia, Moldova and Transnistria. At their meetings in Moscow and Vilnius late last year and in Dublin this year, the parties agreed to resume the talks.
The agenda of the 5+2 talks consists of three sets of issues: socioeconomic problems, humanitarian issues and human rights, and comprehensive settlement, including institutional, political and security issues.
The previous round of the 5+2 talks was held in Brussels in October of 2013. The next round of the 5+2 talks on the Transnistrian settlement process will take place in Vienna on February 27 and 28.