Head of the PMR’s MFA: Opening of Polling Stations for Russian State Duma Elections on the Territory of Pridnestrovie Will Be a Test for Russian and Moldovan Authorities


Today, in Tiraspol, PMR's Minister of Foreign Affairs Vladimir Yastrebchak held the briefing for representatives of the Pridnestrovien mass media and those accredited in the Republic. In the course of his talk with the journalists, the Head of the MFA took stock of the work of the foreign office in October, and responded to the questions connected with topical subjects of foreign policy.

In the words of the Minister, the outgoing year was fairly busy for the Pridnestrovien diplomacy. Among recent remarkable events Vladimir Yastrebchak highlighted 25 October visit by the delegation of the foreign office of the Federative Republic of Germany to Tiraspol which was headed by Special Envoy for Eastern Europe, Caucasus and Central Asia of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Germany Patricia Flor. In the capital of Pridnestrovie she met with PMR's President Igor Smirnov and leadership of the MFA. “We discussed current situation in the Moldova-Pridnestrovie settlement, as well as possible directions of assistance of the German side in stepping-up these processes which should be continued in the interests of the peoples of the Republic of Moldova and the Pridnestrovien Moldavian Republic”, Vladimir Yastrebchak told. Apart from that, German diplomats were interested in the issues related to the forthcoming visit by the delegation of mediators, guarantors and observers to the Pridnestrovien Moldavian Republic. The date of the visit has already been approved – the 5th of November.

Preparation for the visit was one of the subjects of discussion at the meeting with the President of the PMR and Foreign Minister with the Head of the OSCE Mission to Moldova Philip Remler who visited Pridnestrovie on October 26. During the meeting, the Pridnestrovien side raised issue regarding the fate of a new version of Agreement on Activity of the OSCE Mission in Pridnestrovie, which was handed over to the Chairman-in-Office of the Organization. Philip Remler assured that in the nearest time proposals from the OSCE providing for improvement of legal platform of cooperation of the Organization with Pridnestrovie will be forwarded to Tiraspol. According to Vladimir Yastrebchak, special attention at the meeting was paid to the situation which presently develops in the Security Zone.

 As the Head of the PMR's MFA noted, general attention today is locked on the situation in the central segment of the Security Zone. This refers to the protests of the Moldovan side against actions of Pridnestrovie which has placed its law-enforcement posts near Pogrebnya village and Dubossary GES. In this connection, the work of emergency session of the Joint Control Commission continues into fourth day in Dubossary. The sides haven't arrived at a common view on this issue so far. Commenting on the situation which has established, Vladimir Yastrebchak noted that placement of the Pridnestrovien posts “came as no surprise for anybody”. He recalled that the need for such a decision proceeded from Pridnestrovie's desire to protect its own legal interests. “Here we mean the tasks connected with ensuring economic sovereignty of the PMR and counter-action of various forms of trans-border crime, including illegal trade all our international partners are verbally so actively fighting with”, the Head of the Pridnestrovien MFA told. He pointed out that decision on placement of the Pridnestrovien posts was adopted after arrest of another drug courier who entered into Pridnestrovie from the Moldovan territory.

Responding to journalists' questions, the Minister reminded that there are Moldovan fiscal and police posts functioning in this very section. “It is the right of the Republic of Moldova to take measures on its territory aimed at protection of its economic interests. And as far as I know, there were no claims against Kishinev from the international community. In the same way, we proceed from the fact that there should be no double standards in relation to analogous measures of Pridnestrovie. It is not only the right but obligation of the PMR's organs of power to take measures to protect rights and legal interests of our citizens”, Vladimir Yastrebchak told.

At the same time, he condemned attempts of Kishinev to refer this problem to the competence of solely the Joint Control Commission. “One shouldn't expect that the JCC will be engaged in the solution of all problems without exception. The question regarding posts is primarily the question of interaction of the sides to the conflict. As for the JCC, its main task is to ensure peace and security in the conflict zone, what it has been doing over the period of nearly twenty years. Aspiration to attach administrative, economic or any other function to it is regarded as attempt to interfere with its normal productive work”, the Head of the PMR's MFA told.

Among the most noticeable events of the month, according to Vladimir Yastrebchak, are also events arranged to coincide with the celebration of the 70th Anniversary of President of the PMR Igor Smirnov. “This event can fully be considered as an international one,” the Minister told. He expressed his gratitude to all foreign friends and partners of Pridnestrovie who had congratulated the Head of the Pridnestrovien state on a jubilee date. “I would like to say my special thank you to Ukrainian Ambassador Sergey Pirozhkov who attended jubilee events, and other our Ukrainian colleagues whose efforts enabled it for Metropolitan of Kiev and All Ukraine Vladimir to decorate Igor Smirnov with one of the highest orders of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. Special credit here belongs to the International Center “Cooperation” and its head Mr. Fomenko personally who in the course of many years has been supporting retention of traditions of Ukrainian community of Pridnestrovie. It is an assessment of the contribution of the Head of our State to preservation of cultural traditions which exist on the Pridnestrovien land,” Vladimir Yastrebchak noted. He also expressed gratitude to the Russian colleagues in the person of the staff of military and air attaché at the Russian Embassy in Moldova, representatives of Russian peacekeepers and officers of Operational Group of Russian Forces for sincere congratulations to Igor Smirnov.

 On the journalists' request, Foreign Minister of the PMR gave comments on the situation related to the opening in Pridnestrovie of polling stations for Russian State Duma elections. Earlier on, the Central Election Commissions of Russia and Pridnestrovie reached agreement on opening of 25 polling stations on the territory of Pridnestrovie on December 4. However, official Kishinev declared its intention to refuse this possibility to Russia. “Each new government in Moldova tries to create problems where they haven't existed before,” Vladimir Yastrebchak told. “Such events have already been held in our Republic, and previous Moldovan leaders didn't consider them to be somewhat surprising. Someone may consider this topic to be a suitable subject for obtaining some additional preferences from Russia. But he is essentially mistaken. Any rights of citizens, electoral ones including, are not a subject for bargaining. In this sense, opening of polling stations will be some kind of test for both the Russian leadership – on the ability to protect the rights of the Russian people, and for leadership of the Republic of Moldova. It will show insofar human rights are a value for the Moldovan authorities. If they are a value, then one shouldn't shout at every meeting with representatives of international structures about human rights situation in Pridnestrovie – one simply shouldn't interfere with their realization in Pridnestrovie and should by deeds show his commitment to universal ideals”.

In the course of the briefing, the Head of the Pridnestrovien MFA commented on the news regarding the fact that Pridnestrovie may cease transit of freight trains through its territory. This possibility was stated by PMR's President Igor Smirnov at the meeting with the Head of OSCE Mission. In this connection, Vladimir Yastrebchak recalled that as far back as 2006, when cargo transit was stopped as a reaction on the actions by Kishinev, Russia and Ukraine within four months managed to solve this problem and found arguments for the Moldovan authorities, since interests of Moscow and Kiev were affected. “However, after problems of transit countries were settled, we were offered to negotiate deblocking the full-scale railway traffic with Moldova by ourselves,” marked Vladimir Yastrebchak. As a result, this problem causing major losses to economic agents of the PMR remains unsolved. “And when I hear that international community will accept any decision that will be agreed upon by Kishinev and Tiraspol, I take it as some cunning,” the Minister told. Trains are not needed for communication between Ungeany and Kuchurgany, they are needed for broader export-import operations. Therefore, without full participation of Russian, Ukrainian and European experts the problem is unlikely to get off the ground.”

Following the request of the journalists, Vladimir Yastrebchak commented on the situation connected with consideration in the PMR's Supreme Court of draft Law on the Goals and Principles of the Negotiation Process with the Republic of Moldova. Despite the fact, that this draft law was introduced by the President to the Parliament in regime of legislative necessity, deputies decided not to hasten with its adoption in the first reading. “Probably, we will need to make additional explanations of the obvious necessity of this document,” the Minister told. In connection with this, according to him, the MFA is intended to organize public hearings on the draft law in the nearest time, involving representatives of public organizations and experts of Pridnestrovie.

In the course of the briefing, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the PMR responded to other questions of media representatives as well.