Vitaly Ignatiev met with the Special Representative of the OSCE Chairman-in-Office Wolf Dietrich Heim


A meeting of the PMR Ministry of Foreign Affairs Vitaly Ignatiev with the OSCE delegation led by Wolf Dietrich Heim, Special Representative of the OSCE Chairman-in-Office, was held in the Foreign Ministry. The meeting was also attended by the Head of the OSCE Mission to Moldova Michael Scanlan.

Welcoming Wolf Dietrich Heim, Vitaly Ignatiev expressed hope that “quite high” dynamics of the visits of the Special Representative of the OSCE Chairman-in-Office to Pridnestrovie “will be converted into concrete results”. “Pridnestrovie is open to a substantive dialogue on the current situation in the negotiation process, as well as to an exchange of views on the prospects for our work within the framework of the 5+2 format. There are all the necessary grounds for giving it an impulse. There are quite serious developments at all levels of the negotiation process, including expert (working) groups” – the Head of the PMR Foreign Ministry stressed.

In this context, the diplomat informed about some actions taken by the Pridnestrovian side to improve the atmosphere of the dialogue regarding the mechanism of crossing the Pridnestrovian border for Moldovan citizens as well as land use in the Dubossary district of the PMR and the functioning of schools with the Romanian language of education in Pridnestrovie. The Head of the PMR’s MFA also said that as a gesture of goodwill Pridnestrovie stopped criminal proceedings against 10 representatives of the Republic of Moldova and has expected similar steps forward by the Moldovan side.

Also during the meeting, the Pridnestrovian side informed the OSCE Special Representative in detail about the current situation in the relations between Pridnestrovie and the Republic of Moldova. Vitaly Ignatiev noted that the atmosphere in the dialogue with the Moldovan side is seriously degrading due to the lack of commitment of the RM representatives, as well as the political will to move forward in resolving existing problems. The Foreign Minister noted the unsatisfactory dynamics of work on the implementation of the Berlin Protocol provisions, as well as on the settlement of other issues. According to the diplomat, despite Moldova declared at the expert (working) groups meeting its intention to ensure import of petroleum products to Pridnestrovie through the Slobodka-Kolbasna border crossing on the northern branch of the railway, Moldova has not made practical decisions in this part. Vitaly Ignatiev also drew attention to the general deterioration of the atmosphere in the dialogue, related, inter alia, to the stoppages of the delegation of the Chancellery of the Head of the Russian Imperial House, as well as Deputy Chairperson of the Supreme Council of the PMR Galina Antyufeeva in the territory of Moldova.

The Pridnestrovian side has particularly emphasized the need for an early meeting of the “Permanent Conference...” in the 5+2 format to discuss the whole set of accumulated issues, including as reflected in the Berlin Protocol. In this context, Vitaly Ignatiev officially appealed to the OSCE Chairmanship with the initiative to organize the 5+2 meeting. He pointed out that the relevant official request was sent to Wolf Dietrich Heim in advance of the ongoing meeting.

Vitaly Ignatiev expressed his opinion that it is necessary to discuss within the 5+2 format the destructive plans of the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine to establish joint customs-border control at the Kuchurgan border crossing point.

“We are convinced that this problem is relevant to the negotiation process, as it directly affects the interests of the people who live in Pridnestrovie. It should be discussed as openly as possible. It is unacceptable to use any actions, decisions, which could worsen the socio-economic situation of the people, and for this purpose one should make use of the dialogue at all levels. So far, unfortunately, there is no dialogue as such, they refuse to talk with us and do not want to hear our arguments. In this regard, we believe that the international negotiations format is an authoritative platform where we can identify our concerns and get reasoned, clear answers” – explained Vitaly Ignatiev at a briefing for the media after the meeting.

Commenting on the proposal of the Pridnestrovian side to discuss the issues of joint control at the Kuchurgan BCP at the “Permanent Conference...” meeting, Special Representative of the OSCE Chairman-in-Office Wolf Dietrich Heim expressed a different point of view. According to the Austrian diplomat, “informal” level for discussions on this issue is enough.

“I received this initiative and we have discussed it with Mr. Ignatiev in detail. We will be glad to have an opportunity to facilitate discussion of this issue at the technical and informal level, but strictly speaking, the issue of joint customs and border control is not the issue that should be included in the agenda of the 5+2 meeting. We believe that there should be views exchange on this issue at appropriate levels in suitable formats, but not necessarily political ones” – he noted.

Answering the journalists’ question about whether the plans of Moldova and Ukraine to establish joint customs-border control will lead to another break in the work of the official negotiation process in analogy with the 2006 situation, when the Pridnestrovian export was blocked, Wolf Dietrich Heim expressed the opinion that this issue does not deserve so close attention, since the effects from implementing such plans will be “positive”.

“In my understanding, the changes planned for customs-border management at the Kuchurgan checkpoint will have a positive impact in some areas on the lives of people residing in Pridnestrovie. I believe some concern, which I heard and read about, is somewhat exaggerated in the light of what I know about these plans. I am rather optimistic about the possibility of exchanging this information in the near future at the informal level. Strictly speaking, there is no need to worry about this” – stated the Special Representative of the OSCE Chairman-in-Office.

In this context, Vitaly Ignatiev noted during the meeting that the real consequences from establishing joint control on the Pridnestrovian border can be estimated by specialists only and paid attention to the fact that the Pridnestrovian side had already done this work.

 “Pridnestrovie has outlined its views, but all other partners are evading from normal dialogue. Nobody conducts a dialogue with Pridnestrovie, using figures, specific legal acts. We believe that such decisions without taking into account the position of Pridnestrovie cannot be made. If we cannot agree at informal levels, then it is necessary to involve official levels, including the negotiation process. I strongly hope that our concerns have been heard by the current Chairmanship, I expect that these signals will help to avoid the escalation of tension” – said the Head of PMR’s MFA.