On the Meeting of the Permanent Conference in Vienna, June 5-6, 2014


On June 5-6, 2014 Vienna hosted the regular meeting, the second one in this year, of the Permanent Conference on political issues in the framework of negotiation process on the Pridnestrovian settlement.

Participating in the meeting under Chairmanship of the Special Representative of the OSCE Chairman-In-Office, Ambassador Radojko Bogojević were traditionally the representatives of Pridnestrovie and the Republic of Moldova, mediators – Russia, Ukraine and the OSCE, and observers – the EU and the USA.

Before the meeting the Pridnestrovian delegation had circulated the official address of the President of the Pridnestrovian Moldavian Republic to the 5+2 participants with several concrete practical initiatives aimed at giving impetus to resolving the existing problematic issues in socio-economic and humanitarian area. 

The discussion began with the debate that had already become traditional, on the draft agenda. The Pridnestrovian side stated that it did not consider the draft document provided by the OSCE Chairman-In-Office as a possible basis for useful discussions in view of the attempt made again to fill arbitrarily the so-called “third basket” with the issues which were not a part of agreed negotiation space. Radojko Bogojević, in his turn, confirmed the position of the OSCE Chairman-In-Office on the openness of the draft agenda that implies the possibility for the parties to ask any questions which are a part of the agreed negotiation space. Thus, a list of socio-economic, humanitarian and legal issues was formulated which both parties were ready to discuss. The position of the OSCE Chairman-In-Office allowed the delegations of Pridnestrovie and Moldova to start discussions on concrete practical problems, which were topical for both parties of the negotiation process.

In the beginning of the dialogue the sides exchanged views on the problem of freedom of movement in the broad context. The Moldovan side tried to subject the Pridnestrovian side to criticism in connection with the current notification procedure for entry into Pridnestrovie by the officials of the Republic of Moldova. The Pridnestrovian side explained that the notification procedure was established in 2009 as a reprisal for initiating politically motivated criminal cases against the officials of Pridnestrovie by the Prosecutor's office of the RM. The Representative on political issues of Pridnestrovie reminded that on September 16, 2013 the Protocol statement was signed that provided the initiation of practical measures to cease criminal proceedings simultaneously which had been initiated in Pridnestrovie and Moldova against the officials of the sides. Abolishment of the current notification procedure for crossing Moldo-Pridnestrovian border by the officials of the Republic of Moldova could be the next step after completion of that work. But the work on the implementation of the provisions of the Protocol statement was in fact sabotaged by the Moldovan side. At the same time a flawed practice of the initiation of the criminal cases against the representatives of the Pridnestrovie's authorities for performing their duties continues to exist. In the current year alone the Prosecutor's office of the RM has initiated 8 new criminal cases (at present in total 64 cases) which Pridnestrovie considers as a gross violation of the principles for conducting a responsible and partner's dialogue. Such measures, among the other things, exposed to a risk the prospects for the work of some expert (working) groups, in particular, on combating crime, as this expert group of Pridnestrovie was headed by the Minister of the Interior – a person who happened to be involved in one of these politically motivated criminal cases. 

The participants touched on the problems on promoting interaction on passing permits to Pridnestrovie in order to carry out international automobile passenger and cargo transportations which was an integral component of the efforts aimed at approval of the draft of the “big” Protocol Decision on Some First Priority Measures to Ensure Freedom of Movement for the Population of Pridnestrovie and the Republic of Moldova. The Pridnestrovian side appealed to the Moldovan colleagues to establish cooperation between the ANTA of the RM and JSC Dnestrtrans which were the competent structures of the sides in the sphere of international transportations by road. However, the discussion once again exposed the conceptual differences in approaches of the sides to that issue. The Pridnestrovian side consistently holds position on the need to implement previously reached agreements whereas the Moldovan side tends to set additional new preconditions giving the international obligations of the RM as a reason. It is expected that the consultations will continue at the level of relevant experts.

The resumption of movement of the passenger Kishinev-St. Petersburg train through the territory of Pridnestrovie was another issue discussed during the meeting. A particular interest to that issue was expressed by the representatives of the Russian Federation and Ukraine who declared about the readiness to support the organization of the movement of that train if it was economically viable. Generally, the Moldovan side adheres the identical position at the level of the expert (working) groups. The sides agreed to take all necessary measures to analyse economic viability of the project as soon as possible.

A priority issue of the discussion, as it was expected earlier, was the normalization of economic interaction between Pridnestrovie and the Republic of Moldova. Nina Shtanski provided a detailed report and presentation on three main problematic economic issues in the relations of the sides – lifting blockade of foreign trade of business entities of Pridnestrovie, lifting of mutual administrative barriers impeding development of trade turnover, and lifting bank blockade.

The Pridnestrovian side proposed to refuse mutual constraints in trade between Pridnestrovie and the Republiс of Moldova. At the same time clarifications were requested concerning the concrete term of the implementation in practice of the Law of the RM entered into force on May 9 a.c. abolishing the payment for customs clearance of imported and exported goods made by Pridnestrovian enterprises, as well as the environmental fee. Despite the fact that the given aspects were legally intended to abolish such unmotivated payments in the near future, the Pridnestrovian enterprises continue to pay taxes for customs clearance and environmental fees to the Moldovan budget. According to the Moldovan side, the RM's government resolution detailing the mechanism of exemption of the economic agents of Pridnestrovie from such payments is in the works now. 

In the course of the meeting the issue on land use by Moldovan farmers in Dubossary District of Pridnestrovie was discussed by the initiative of the Moldovan side. The Pridnestrovian side informed that currently 83 Moldovan farmers applied for registration in Dubossary state administration of the PMR that shows sufficient functionality of the mechanism created by the Pridnestrovian side allowing those farmers to work in Pridnestrovie.

A particular attention was drawn to the issue of forced documenting of the citizens of Pridnestrovie by competent authorities of the Republic of Moldova. The Pridnestrovian side again voiced the position that entry into citizenship of any country was an inalienable right protected by numerous international norms and principles, but not by the obligation of a particular individual.  Today, this right of Pridnestrovian people is artificially blockaded by Moldovan authorities refusing to issue certificate of stateless persons for Pridnestrovian citizens required to obtain passport of third countries (inter alia of the Russian Federation and Ukraine). In view of unreadiness of the Moldovan delegation to reach a stable compromise during the bilateral contacts, Pridnestrovie requested the 5+2 international participants to carry out expert assessment of the existing problem and provide recommendations on the practical ways to resolve it. And such work will be implemented with assistance of the European Union. The representatives of the Russian Federation and Ukraine made a commitment to discuss the problem of forced documenting during the upcoming interministerial consultations on consular issues with the Moldovan side.

During the meeting of the Permanent Conference a particular attention was paid to education, including proof of identity of the education documents issued in Pridnestrovie and the situation with Romanian-language schools in Pridnestrovie. The EU representative in 5+2 format Gunnar Wiegand informed the participants that in the near future two experts (from Finland and Germany) would begin work aimed at development of the independent expert recommendations on the settlement of the problem concerning the proof of identity of the education documents issued in Pridnestrovie on the basis of the Hague Apostille Convention.

It is expected that the discussion on some issues at the expert level will continue in the near future during the Conference on Confidence building measures in Freising on June 10-11 a.c. Particular emphasis will also be placed on economic, transport, infrastructure problems,  as well as on education and environment issues.