Head of the Pridnestrovien MFA Takes Stock of the Work of the Foreign Policy Department in January


The beginning of the year has become rather fruitful for the Pridnestrovien diplomacy and was marked by intensification of bilateral contacts with the foreign partners of the Republic. This was stated today by PMR's Foreign Minister Vladimir Yastrebchak at the briefing for journalists of the Pridnestrovien mass media and those accredited in the Republic. During the intercourse with the press, the head of the MFA took stock of the work of the foreign policy institution in January.

In his words, the most notable events of the current year have become contacts with representatives of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. In the middle of January, Special Representative of the OSCE Chairman-in-Office, Giedrius Cekuolis, paid visit to Pridnestrovie, and on the 9th February Tiraspol saw the visit of the OSCE Chairman-in-Office/ Foreign Minister of Lithuania, Audronius Azubalis. The head of the Pridnestrovien diplomacy mentioned meetings held in the Pridnestrovien capital with the participation of a high guest as rather productive. “This is indicative of the growth of international interest towards Pridnestrovie,” told Vladimir Yastrebchak. As the Minister announced, in the run-up to the visit of the representative OSCE delegation, the foreign policy institution of the PMR had prepared and with President's support published a collection of documents signed in the course of the negotiation process between Moldova and Pridnestrovie. The first copies of this book were handed to the OSCE diplomats. In the Minister's point of view, this collection issued in the three languages – Russian, English and German – “will become a good help for all those who are interested in asking questions and receiving clear, objective responses based on the documents signed.”

Among the most significant events, Vladimir Yastrebchak highlighted also the January visit to Pridnestrovie of the Special Representatives of Russia and Ukraine Sergey Gubarev and Igor Kharchenko who visited, in particular, depots of the Russian ammunition located in the vicinity of the settlement of Kolbasna. The monitoring of depots was carried out in the context of implementation of agreements reached in the course of the meeting of the Subcommittee on International Cooperation of the Russia-Ukraine Interstate Committee in April 2010. “We estimate such joint action as a definitely positive step,” said the head of the PMR's MFA. Following the results of the visit to Pridnestrovie, representatives of Moscow and Kiev stated that existing system of safety assurance at the depots guarantees secure preservation of ammunition.

The head of the Pridnestrovien diplomacy paid attention to intensification of socio-cultural cooperation seen in the relations between Pridnestrovie and Russia. Sharp evidence of this fact are the events which have recently taken place in Moscow involving representatives of the PMR's MFA and a whole range of public organizations, timed to the hundredth anniversary since the birthday of Yevgeny Fyodorov, a prominent statesperson and public figure, geoscientist, academician of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR, Hero of the Soviet Union, Prizewinner of Stalin and State Awards, native of the city of Bendery. The Russian capital saw a solemn unveiling of a commemorative plaque memorizing the famous Pridnestrovien. This action was held to become yet another bright evidence of continuous historical ties from time immemorial uniting Russia and Pridnestrovie.

Rather active, in the Minister's words, are developing in the new year contacts of Pridnestrovie with representatives of the European Union, first of all, in the humanitarian dimension. “Those plans and projects which were voiced in the course of the recently held meetings have good prospects for their implementation. Naturally, this will become possible provided that our European colleagues don't drift away from the principles of impartiality, equality and direct interaction with Pridnestrovie,” marked Vladimir Yastrebchak. “If attempts arise to politicize and make implemented projects dependent on any political goals, then such approaches will raise considerable questions on our part.”

 Journalists inquired a wide range of aspects. The first question was about the upcoming consultations in Vienna to be held on February 14-15, 2011. Vladimir Yastrebchak noted that the agenda was shaped by the receiving side – the OSCE representatives. “According to the topic presented, issues expected to be tackled in Vienna are connected with the crossing of borders of Moldova and Pridnestrovie, the whole a range of problems relating to the movement of people, goods and services in this region of Europe,” the diplomat said. He also stressed that the OSCE hadn't ignored the problem of the fulfillment of agreements reached between Chisinau and Tiraspol, which is of principle to the Pridnestrovien side. Apart from that, as the Minister announced, it is supposed “to elaborate some kind of a working draft of the agenda for the current year in order to define what goals and objectives we are setting for us, what we are striving to reach in the course of this year.” “Agenda is heavy enough; I think this two-day round of consultations will be helpful for the final clarification of the positions of the two sides,” Vladimir Yastrebchak summarized.

Speaking about the process of compilation and inventory of all the documents signed during the years of negotiations between Tiraspol and Chisinau which is now conducted with the support of the OSCE, the head of the MFA took note of the difficulties which had emerged in this work. “As it turned out, it is rather complicated to make a single index of documents for everyone that would be generally binding. There are different points of view regarding what documents are to be included into it. The Pridnestrovien side considers that this list should first of all include agreements signed by the sides to the conflict,” the head of the Pridnestrovien MFA told. He expressed his hope for the OSCE representatives, under auspices of which this work is carried out, to present at the upcoming consultations in Vienna “a finally drawn up list of documents” with this to allow starting the work over the most urgent issues existing in relations between the sides.

In the course of the conversation with the journalists, an issue was raised of what Tiraspol's attitude towards the prospects for the dialogue with Chisinau in the five plus two format is and what first-priority objectives in the settlement of relations with Moldova are standing today before the Pridnestrovien diplomacy. According to the Minister, before official negotiations in the five plus two format are resumed, appropriate favorable conditions shall be created. “Why are we so toughly developing system of our arguments regarding untimeliness of the resumption of this work exactly now? Because we have no guarantees that if tomorrow we resume it, this very day no one will forget about the problems that our enterprises are confronted with. As soon as we announce our official return to the 5+2 format, no one will recall that economic agents of Pridnestrovie have some problems. And so we are trying to argue in favor of this question before our colleagues,” told the head of the foreign policy department.

At the same time, in his words, Tiraspol “has never underestimated the importance of the 5+2 format”. ‘We understand insofar this format is important for the international community, but we think that such contacts should take place primarily between the two conflicting parties, both having equal status”, said Vladimir Yastrebchak. According to him, Tiraspol has always understood problems of the domestic policy in the Republic of Moldova and has been ready to carry out dialogue proceeding from the current situation. “In the course of eight years –from 2001 to 2009– there was no much sense of talking about fundamental features of the parliamentary system of Moldova's governmental system; there was a president there and it was clear that it was he who defined all decisions and actions of the executive branch. Now situation is changing, there is a coalition government and its head, leading the executive branch; there is a chairman of the Parliament, who is at the same time an acting president. But even in this situation, we should find opportunities for contacts, and such work will be continued,” the Minister said.

Touching upon the first-priority objectives for Tiraspol in the settlement, Vladimir Yastrebchak marked that at the last meeting of PMR's President with the OSCE Chairman-in-Office there had been two main blocks of questions: economic block and range of problems in the sphere of public security. Of all these questions, the question of economic cooperation of Pridnestrovie with the outside world shall be regarded as one of the most painful questions. “What is taking place now within the system of foreign economic activity of Pridnestrovie is not a normal system; the fact that we are forced to tolerate restrictions and blockade measures is far from being consistent with what Ukraine agreed with the EU when they were introducing appropriate measures in 2005-2006”, said the diplomat. He stressed that if international partners are interested in stabilizing economic situation in the region and ensuring normal dialogue, one needs to see it that barriers impeding economic performance, primarily, in the field of transport, are removed.

 The second block of questions concerns cooperation between the law-enforcement structures of the PMR and the RM. Vladimir Yastrebchak noted that in the course of the recent presidential meeting with the OSCE delegation, the head of the Ministry of Interior of the PMR had briefed colleagues from the OSCE about difficulties which his institution encounters when making attempts to improve interaction with organs of Interior of Moldova.  In particular, over the last year, at requests of the Ministry of Interior of the RM, the Pridnestrovien side basing on the earlier signed agreements on cooperation has issued several dozen of people suspected of committing crimes. At the same time, none of those sought by the Pridnestrovien side has been extradited by the Moldovan side to Pridnestrovie. Apart from that, as the diplomat marked, “provocations are constantly created on the border by the Moldovan policemen; they try to work in Pridnestrovie as if they were at their home, on the territory under their jurisdiction, while no incident with law-enforcement structures of Pridnestrovie on the territory of Moldova has been fixed.” “All this is a significant indicator of the degree of Moldova's willingness to cooperate and of Pridnestrovie's attitude towards this matter,” the Minister told.  According to him, any talks, for example, about the confidence-building measures in the military sphere and disarmament “are similar to placing a cart ahead of a horse.” Vladimir Yastrebchak underlined, that the first thing to be done is to ensure securely smoothly running interaction between law-enforcement bodies. He marked that all necessary legal framework for normal interaction at the level of the Ministry of Interior is available with Moldova and Pridnestrovie; Chisinau, however, prefers to ignore it.

The diplomat told that civilized work in case of any complaints on the part of the participants in the negotiating process is possible enough. There are quite standard mechanisms of work. “We, for example, have questions concerning agreement on activity of the OSCE Mission approved on August 23, 1993.  Yesterday the Pridnestrovien side forwarded draft new agreement to the colleagues from the OSCE. It specifies principles and some nuances which take into account the past period of almost 20 years of the Mission's presence. This agreement is brought into compliance with the existing reality. What prevents our Moldovan counterparts from using the same approach towards implementation of existing documents? If there are some problems or claims, then one should submit his own considerations, but not unilaterally renounce them and make believe there is no problem,” the Minister stressed.

Sudan and Kosovo cases have become a separate topic of the briefing. Soon the Kosovo case will mark its 3 years; it raises no doubt that outcomes of the Sudan referendum will be recognized as well. In what way can these precedents influence the situation around Pridnestrovie?

Case law literally means from English (here: if translate into Russian) “law of practice”. But when this “law of practice” gives rise to a whole system, then it indicates how this system should be applied in all cases. In the course of the last 20 years the system of precedents has been functioning so that the will of people and dissolution of artificial state formations have been put in the first place. One cannot retreat from this fact, it is to be kept in mind. Moreover, as we see it, one will have to be guided by it, in our case including,” declared Vladimir Yastrebchak.

“As for the South Sudan, we realize it perfectly that Sudan is far away, that interests of certain states are acting there, and so, this is a precedent first of all for Sudan itself. But it is important for us – and we will voice it – that the major precedent lies in the fact that the will of the people residing on this territory is taken into account, and if they made their decision, their will shall become indisputable law which is accepted even by their opponents,” the Minister told. “We have more than once faced such a situation when our position doesn't coincide with our international partners' outlook, but this doesn't mean that we have to abandon our position; we will maintain our attitude and as far as possible will bring this position up to our partners and to all those involved in the international process,” he emphasized.

Following the request of the journalists, Vladimir Yastrebchak gave his comments on the recent Russia's initiative which had proposed elaborating universal principles of conflict settlement at the international level. “We have not been involved into this discourse so far but we welcome the very idea of the fact that common principles must exist and be applied,” stated the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the PMR. He specified that first of all he means here provisions voiced by the head of the Russian MFA, Sergey Lavrov, which include exclusively peaceful resolution of conflicts, account for positions of the sides, inadmissibility of pressure and creation of humanitarian problems for the population.