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Moldovan authorities pay too little attention to Transnistrian settlement — lawmaker

According to opinion polls, Moldovans are less and less concerned over the problem of Transnistrian settlement, Andrian Candu said

CHISINAU, November 24. /TASS/. Moldova’s authorities are paying insufficient attention to the Transnistrian settlement, speaker of Moldova’s parliament Andrian Candu said on Thursday.

"The authorities have never been seriously involved in the Transnistrian settlement, politicians have never had a clear concept of the problem settlement," he told a conference on the Transnistrian settlement organized by the Foreign Policy Association."

"According to opinion polls, Moldovans are less and less concerned over the problem of Transnistrian settlement. It means that all of us, both the authorities and civil society, must exert bigger effort to find a solution to this problem," Candu said, adding that "utterly new conditions have appeared" for that. "It is necessary to get back to this problem, taking into account the current regional and international situation," he stressed.

He called to work out a settlement strategy, to specify the negotiators’ competences and take further measures towards settlement of the problem. He did not rule out that "some compromises could be needed." "But we will be firm in what concerns Moldova’s sovereignty and integrity, as well as observance of people’s rights and freedoms on both banks of the Dniester River," he underscored.

The conference was attended by representatives of non-government organizations financed by the European Union and the United States. They expressed concern that the conflict settlement might impact Moldova’s Europe-wards course as more than 90% of people living in the unrecognized republic spoke in favor of closer relations with Russia at the referendum. "We should be in no haste concerning decisions on Transnistria," Vasilie Nedelciuc, the president of the Foreign Policy Association, said.

"It would be fatal mistake to make decisions without taking into account the current situation in the region and in the world, including in Ukraine and the United States. It is necessary to reckon with all the circumstance before making any decision," he underscored.

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 peaceful settlement known as the 5+2 format talks (Moldova, Transnistria as parties to the conflict, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, or OSCE, Russia and Ukraine as mediators, and the European Union and the United States as observers) started after that.

For the moment, a joint peacekeeping force of the 402 Russian peacekeepers, 492 Transnistrian and 355 Moldovan servicemen, as well as a group of ten military observers from Ukraine are maintaining peace and stability in the buffer security zone of the Transnistrian conflict. Notably, no outbreaks of violence have been reported from that area after the deployment of Russian peacekeepers, which makes it possible for Chisinau and Tiraspol continue peace settlement talks.