The Kishinev OSCE Mission office hosted a meeting between political representatives of Pridnestrovie and the Republic of Moldova Vitaly Ignatiev and George Balan. During the meeting, the interlocutors discussed a number of topical issues in the negotiation process as well as relations between Pridnestrovie and the Republic of Moldova in general.
Vitaly Ignatiev noted talking to the mass media after the meeting that as one of the problems to be addressed immediately the Pridnestrovian side touched upon the situation in the field of freight railway communication. According to the Head of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the PMR, the issue of fuel import via the railway of Pridnestrovie along the northern branch has not yet been resolved, despite the fact that at the meeting of the field expert (working) group on February 22 the Moldovan side announced its readiness to resolve the problem within a month. “Today I tried to get the position of the political representative of Moldova when decisions will be made on the delivery of petroleum products and fuel to the territory of Pridnestrovie via the northern branch, but, unfortunately, have not received a specific answer to this question” – the diplomat stressed.
Vitaly Ignatiev also drew attention to the fact that the position of the Moldovan side on the settlement of the politically motivated criminal cases problem is also not clear. “My counterpart surprised me by the fact that the Moldovan side “does not see” any politically motivated criminal cases, despite the fact that we have been solving this problem for several years and have previously been able to exchange lists of such criminal cases. This problem also was included in the Berlin Protocol as one of its items. We, as political representatives, have all the powers to solve the problem of politically motivated criminal prosecution against representatives of Pridnestrovian authorities. I hope that soon there will be a meeting of the expert (working) group on criminal cases and the expert (working) group on combating crime. Pridnestrovie has certain initiatives” – Head of the PMR’s MFA said.
Particular attention during the discussion was paid to the inadmissibility of establishing joint customs and border control of Moldova and Ukraine at the Kuchurgan border crossing point. “We consider these plans to be extremely destructive. I appealed to all participants of today’s meeting to abandon the implementation of these plans, which can lead to extremely serious economic losses, costs in terms of logistics, free movement of people and vehicles, and finally, problems related to regional security. In fact, there would be a situation on the border with Ukraine where representatives of the defense and law enforcement agencies of the parties – Moldova and Pridnestrovie – would contact” – Vitaly Ignatiev emphasized, noting that, unlike the Moldovan-Pridnestrovian border, there is no Security Zone and, accordingly, no mechanism for settling the possible escalation of tension.
“Moldova and Ukraine’s actions of establishing joint control openly ignore the position of Pridnestrovie and violate agreements of the negotiation process. We consider this to be the most serious challenge to date for the future of the negotiation format. We have certainly appealed and will keep appealing to all its participants in order to abandon the implementation of these plans. In addition, Pridnestrovie insists this issue to be included in the agenda of the upcoming meeting in the 5+2 format, since this issue, in terms of damage both economically and in humanitarian and political dimensions, is the greatest threat facing negotiation process in recent years” – stated Vitaly Ignatiev.
The Head of PMR’s MFA also said that during the meeting the Pridnestrovian side presented to the participants specific information about the negative effects of establishing joint control, as well as estimated losses of Pridnestrovie in case of implementation of such plans. The political representative of the Republic of Moldova, however, refused to attend the presentation and left the meeting.
“I think Mr. Balan will get a chance to take a look at the figures. Although, in our opinion, this is also a stand that shows a real attitude towards the interests of people living in Pridnestrovie” – Vitaly Ignatiev stressed.