Interview of Vitaly Ignatiev to Komsomolskaya Pravda in Moldova


Lately it seems that the relations between Kishinev and Tiraspol are deadlocked. Indeed, there was Berlin. More precisely it was another round of negotiations in the 5+2 format held on June 2-3. It was a breakthrough after a lull. Certainly, it was all thanks to the efforts of Russia and Germany which is chairing the OSCE. The meeting resulted in signing of a protocol, drafted by the Russian delegation, with a variety of items that meet interests of ordinary citizens. What is the Pridnestrovian side assessment of the current stage of relations? ‘Komsomolka’ posed 5 questions to Vitaly Ignatiev, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Pridnestrovie:

- How do you estimate negotiations on the Pridnestrovian settlement at this stage?

- With a share of cautious optimism. The Permanent Conference meeting in the 5+2 format, in our opinion, has confirmed the validity of Pridnestrovie’s stand on a variety of problems in our relations with Moldova. Moreover, the international participants in the negotiations share the vision of the Pridnestrovian side as well. First of all, I refer to politically motivated criminal cases. Our Moldovan counterparts had been denying this problem for a long time, nevertheless this issue found its way into the Protocol adopted at the 5+2 meeting. 

In general, the mediators and observers in the negotiation process expressed understanding of most issues raised by Pridnestrovie in recent years such as inadmissibility of unilateral discriminative measures, including criminal prosecution, the need for a system of guarantees, importance of practical work, rather than empty declarations. In our opinion, this is utmost important.

In the near future as a part of the dialogue with representatives of the Moldovan side we will have to work out practical solutions for a set of problems including those in the sphere of education and road transport. We have been ready for this work for a long time. There are initiatives and proposed solutions of the Pridnestrovian side and now we expect no less constructive stand from the Moldovan colleagues.

-What is the role of the mediators? Might they be more of an obstacle in fact?

- Mediation is an essential element of any negotiations. It is mostly thanks to the efforts of the international mediators, the Russian Federation first of all, and the proposals distributed by Russia as a non paper, that we managed to get the “Permanent Conference…” in the 5+2 format continue its work. I believe that if we develop a mechanism to guarantee implementation of the agreements that we reached, the mediators would obtain additional capacities, which has positive impact on the negation process.

- What happened to ‘football diplomacy’, small steps tactics?

- I suppose it is France, rather than Pridnestrovie or Moldova, that is the football life centre now, at least during the European Championship. I hope negotiation mechanisms that we have at our disposal are enough to leave sport out of politics. I should also note that all the participants in the negotiation process understand the need to address important socio-economic and humanitarian issues, which directly affect people’s wellbeing. These are the ‘small steps’ that make it possible to resolve practical issues rather than multiply loud political statements. Apparently, the Berlin Protocol fully reflects this approach.

- What are the chances that the conflict would be ‘unfrozen’? Will the participants in negotiations show enough political wisdom?

Here it is important to determine what we define as unfreezing. I remember as earlier we heard liberal interpretation of it from various high-ranking officials, including the foreign ones. The Pridnestrovian side means by this term the final, comprehensive and just settlement and is committed to finding a solution through peaceful means, taking into consideration the opinion of the Republic citizens.

For more than 20 years of the settlement Pridnestrovie has repeatedly confirmed its competence as a negotiating partner and readiness to resolve all conflicts exclusively through negotiations. In fact, this important principle is also reflected in the Protocol on the results of the Berlin meeting (on 2-3 June) of the “Permanent Conference…”.

- The term ‘civilized divorce’ is often used when speaking of Tiraspol and Kishinev, but when will a happy family life start?

- It would be inappropriate to speak of a ‘family life’, to put it mildly. The ‘newlyweds’ have not lived a day together, if we are talking about the latest post-1990 history. As for the Soviet period, living in a large ‘communal flat’ can hardly be viewed as a legitimate ground to claim one’s hand and marriage; I refer to the territory, property, people and etc of the independent Pridnestrovie. Moreover, we have never been proposed an ‘equal marriage’. Moldova’s approach to conflict settlement is more like a fantasy of an elderly ‘suitor’, who is dreaming of getting a ‘concubine’! However, we have experience of 26 years of independent ‘separate’ life and these years have convincingly proved the invalidity of both the ‘suitor’ as well as his claims. So, why cherish illusions?

Source: Komsomolskaya Pravda in Moldova