“The Main Vector of the Foreign Policy and a National Idea of Pridnestrovie is a Course toward the Eurasian Integration” - Nina Shtanski said in an Interview to ITAR-TASS News Agency


April 28, 2014 marked the 20th anniversary since the signing of the Statement by the leaders of Moldova and Pridnestrovie which launched “urgent” process of negotiations between the parties “on the whole range of issues of mutual interest”. Deputy Chairperson of the Government for International Cooperation of the PMR, Minister of Foreign Affairs Nina Shtanski in her exclusive interview to ITAR-TASS News Agency of Russia told about the topical aspects of the Moldo-Pridnestrovian dialogue, the role and mechanisms of implementation of the Russia's peacekeeping mission on the banks of the river Dniester, as well as about the foreign policy priorities of the republic.

Returning to the historical background, the Head of the PMR's MFA reminded that on the 6th and 17th of April 1992 in Kishinev four-party meetings took place between the Foreign Ministers of the Republic of Moldova, the Russian Federation, Romania, and Ukraine. At the very beginning of the armed stage of the conflict they set up the four- party mechanism of military observers that the Republic of Moldova defined as creation of prerequisites for peaceful conflict resolution. However, as Nina Shtanski noted, when the first shots were fired in Bendery, the military observers, except the Russian ones, were the first who evacuated the area in conflict. “In that situation the Russian Federation did a truly invaluable favour to both parties and saved, perhaps, hundreds and thousands of lives of innocent civilians, in fact, putting the Russian soldier between furious conflicting parties and preventing further bloodshed,” – emphasized the Head of Pridnestrovian diplomacy. In this regard, Nina Shtanski defined irresponsible the calls of some international partners to transform the Russian peacekeeping operation into the international civil observation mission. “There is scarcely reason to dispute the fact that the mission is a guarantee of peace, because it is clear that it is rather the only one guarantee of peace, security and stability in the conflict region to this day at all,” – stated Nina Shtanski. Peace on the Dniester was recorded on July 21, 1992 when the Presidents of Russia and Moldova signed the Agreement on the Principles of a Peaceful Settlement of the Armed Conflict. At that time, it was agreed on full ceasefire and creation of the Security Zone, as well as the conflicting parties should immediately start negotiations on the settlement of some issues.

But the official negotiation process started in April, 1994. The Head of the PMR's MFA noted that when signing the Statement of April 28, 1994, for the first time in the settlement process Pridnestrovie appeared as an independent subject and became a signatory of agreements which allowed to state juridically its legal personality in the further negotiation process. “At that time a separate article already established core principles of settlement, on the integrated implementation of which the parties scarcely can report even today, - deeming application of sanctions and blockades as inadmissible by the conflicting Parties and the commitments to remove any obstacles immediately that hinder free movement of goods, services,  and persons,”- said  Nina Shtanski. 

According to the Head of the PMR's MFA, an important provision of the 1994 Statement is the provision which declares that all disagreements can and should be resolved in compliance with people's will and for their benefit.  The Minister paid attention that the Pridnestrovian side appeals constantly to the principle which was already agreed in 1994 on taking into account the international experience. Nina Shtanski reminded, “Almost 20 years later, last autumn, at the International Conference in Germany, the President of Pridnestrovie Yevgeny Shevchuk called the Moldovan party for the implementation of the idea on “civilized divorce” based on the precedents of the most recent history, as well as Serbia and Montenegro, the Czech Republic and Slovakia.”

Dwelling on the detailed problems of the Moldo-Pridnestrovian dialogue, Nina Shtanski touched upon the issue on the need to create a system of mutual guarantees, including the international ones, on full and unconditional implementation of the reached agreements. “More than hundreds of agreements signed by the parties over the years of the negotiation process are not being carried out. Soon after the resumption of formal negotiations in 2011 (the break lasted for six years), the attempts by the Pridnestrovian side “to restart” with developing system of guarantees, the internal and external ones, have not yet succeeded,”- said the Head of Pridnestrovian diplomacy to the Russian journalist. The Minister clarified that the Pridnestrovie's initiative on creation of the effective guarantee mechanism was supported by all participants of the negotiation process in 5+2 format except the Moldovan side.  

Besides, Nina Shtanski emphasizes that the official Kishinev continues to initiate consideration of issues from the third section in the agenda of the negotiations which affect the political status of the republic and issues related to the provision of security of Pridnestrovie what causes us justified concern. “There is no an adequate level of credibility and mutual understanding between the parties for such discussions, as well as there are no absolutely regulatory and institutional basis in the Republic of Moldova itself and in Pridnestrovie,” – said the Head of the PMR's MFA. She reminded that the “small steps” tactics providing priorities for resolving economic and social issues was agreed by the leaders of the parties at the highest level. Therefore, the Minister thinks that forming a successful economic, social, and humanitarian collaboration the confidence space will enable the parties to start discussions on more complex political issues focusing on comprehensive settlement.

According to Nina Shtanski, “the Moldovan side's tendency which has already become a trend to try to force the Pridnestrovian side to carry out international commitments of Moldova and its legislation, does not provides dynamics to the negotiation process”. In this regard, Nina Shtanski told the Russian journalist about recent excise duties unilaterally introduced by Moldova for the goods imported by the Pridnestrovian enterprises in contravention of the existing agreements. The Minister said that such actions by the partners put at threat not only the February's round of negotiations, but cooperation between the parties as a whole, as a direct prohibition on such actions of any of the participants was laid down in the Principles and Procedures of Carrying out Negotiations signed in 2012. “Fortunately, the Moldovan side corrected that decision by itself. However, there is no point in walking twice into the same water,” - said Nina Shtanski.

Regarding the foreign policy chose of Pridnestrovie, the Minister stated that the main vector of the foreign policy and a national idea of the Republic is a course toward the Eurasian integration. Given the European aspirations of neighbouring Moldova, the Head of Pridnestrovian diplomacy emphasized that these essentially different positions of the parties “do not only alienate the parties from finding compromises on many major unresolved issues, but exacerbate the problems, since they are adopted without regard to the commitments that Moldavia made during the negotiation process”. “We have interest in reviving and consolidating trade, economic, social, cultural and other ties, traditional for our economy, with the Eurasian Space, as well as in ensuring entry for our manufacturers to the Customs Union market of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan. By the way, the Pridnestrovie's initiative to establish a common trade zone, free of all mutual restrictions, was already voiced late last year and it has been submitted for consideration now,” – said Nina Shtanski.

At the same time she expressed confidence that in spite of obvious difference between the vectors of development of foreign policy and therefore, trade and economic vectors, the “parties should build also its own good-neighbourly trade and economic space”. “I think that the key to the enhancement of efficiency of the negotiations is building integrated confidence which is unthinkable under conditions of sanctions, of mutual threats and accusations and other forms of confrontation. Only mutual trust and orientation towards interests of the population of both sides will allow to move forward the dialogue making it possible to reach a new level of cooperation, new “heights” in the dialogue with each taken and implemented compromise-based decision,” – summarized  the Head of Pridnestrovian diplomacy.

Originally published by http://itar-tass.com/opinions/interviews/2107