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Moldova’s president initiates process of national reconciliation over Transnistria

Moldova’s President Igor Dodon has initiated creation of a social platform on national reconciliation in an attempt to find a peaceful solution to the Transnistria crisis
Moldova’s President Igor Dodon Mikhail Metzel/TASS
Moldova’s President Igor Dodon
© Mikhail Metzel/TASS

CHISINAU, March 1. /TASS/. Moldova’s President Igor Dodon has initiated creation of a social platform on national reconciliation in an attempt to find a peaceful solution to the Transnistria crisis, he said in an address to the nation in the run-up to the 25th anniversary of the conflict, commemorated on March 2.

The spring and summer of 1992 were marred with armed clashes on the Dniester River, when hundreds of people died and the lives of thousands more were ruined, Dodon said in the statement.

"The atmosphere of creativity and trust was destroyed in Moldovan society to be replaced with fear and mutual resentment," the president said. "As a result of those events, our country’s population has been thrown back in its development and the entire generation has grown up in a divided state and society," Dodon said.

The younger generation was forced to enter this social and political dispute, the president said with regret.

"It has become a deep shock for all of us and still has a negative impact on our lives. The young people opt for leaving the homeland," Dodon said. "Moldova keeps wasting time and losing opportunities for growth."

Lessons of the tragedy

"We must draw lessons from the Transnistrian tragedy. First, we should stop dividing people in our country on an ethnic criterion, dividing our citizens into ‘natives’ and ‘incomers.’ We need to stop imposing our values, our own vision of the country’s history and future and to agree that we can have different ethnic origins, different mother tongues, different national heroes and literary classics," the Moldovan president said.

Dodon is convinced that the current rift could be healed through dialogue.

Last week, Dodon reached an agreement with Prime Minister Pavel Filat and Speaker Andrian Candu to work out a common solution to the Transnistrian crisis.

"We should not have different stances when the talks are underway either with the West or other partners," he said.

Tragic anniversary

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.

On 2 March 1992, the war on the Dniester River broke out near the city of Dubossary. By the summer, it had developed into a serious flare-up of hostilities near the city of Bendery, which claimed over a thousand of lives. Tens of thousands were wounded or became refugees.

The civil war was stopped following a peace agreement signed in Moscow in July 1992 and Russian peacekeepers were brought into the conflict area.

Since then, they have been protecting peace in the region, together with their Moldovan and Transnistrian counterparts, thus allowing Chisinau and Tiraspol to continue negotiations in the 5+2 format (Moldova, Transnistria, the OSCE, Russia, Ukraine and observers from the US and EU),

Despite all these years, many politicians in Chisinau and Tiraspol are still accusing one another of the outbreak of conflict. Five years ago, the parties to the conflict ignored the OSCE appeal to hold joint mourning ceremonies for victims of the conflict. In his decree, Transnistria’s president declared March 2 as day when Moldova’s armed aggression was repelled.