Results of the Expiring Political Year in an Exclusive Interview by Nina Shtanski to INFOTAG Agency

Results of the Expiring Political Year in an Exclusive Interview by Nina Shtanski to INFOTAG Agency

Part I. Ukrainian OSCE Chairmanship had positive impact on Pridnestrovian settlement.

INFOTAG: Observers tied in accession to power by Yevgeny Shevchuk with the breakthrough in Pridnestrovian settlement. At first, all facts spoke for that – launch of rail operation, the resumption of meetings of political representatives and the negotiation process in the “5+2” format. But it was sufficient only for the first time; the situation has not improved and has even got worse. Why?

Nina SHTANSKI: Resumption of negotiations in 2011 after a six-year break could not bring the results, we are waiting for, during this period. Each round of negotiations is aimed at finding ways to overcome differences, and no one has guaranteed that such negotiation would, first, occur every two months, and secondly, could be fixed. So I would not apply such wording while assessing negotiation process.

At the same time, I have to emphasize that the potential which could have been realized over the past two years, has not been used even by half. A number of initiatives on the negotiation table and those which have not been even discussed are evidence.

As for the resumption of rail communication, I regard this result of interaction between Pridnestrovie and Moldova as an example of compromise which can be found and how interests of people and economic agents can be put ahead of political differences. In 2013 Tiraspol initiated extension of rail operation for one year. It means the viability of “small steps tactics” when a decision on important socio-economic issues has been found. This gives a good basis for further cooperation.

I would not say that the situation in the negotiations generally has not improved, but has even got worse. Unfortunately, there are certain areas such as the economics, where such an assessment is quite applicable. Meanwhile, we are able to move forward on the issue of freedom of movement, and recent initialing of Protocol Decision on non-application of sanctions to nationals of Russia, Ukraine and other countries residing in Pridnestrovie was executed during the round in Kiev and can be regarded as a good example.

INFOTAG: Last months have brought many acts of provocation in Bendery, a city on the right bank of Dniester, which was damaged during warfare in 1992. Whoinitiatedthem?

Nina SHTANSKI: I want to stress that Bendery is a Pridnestrovian city. When you ask me about provokers, I want to put you a question “Do you remember at least one incident over the past two years, initiated by militia in any Moldovan village in the Security Zone (SZ)?” the answer is obvious. Pridnestrovian militia does not exercise operational investigations within Moldovan settlements in the SZ, brings no people to responsibility, send no writs, draws up no protocols, makes no attempts to exercise justice, does not arrest people and does not take them to its territory.

In general, the situation in Bendery can be quickly regulated, and for this we need only to go back to the interaction which is regulated by documents of the Joint Control Commission (JCC) and the Joint Military Command (JMC). They were established to maintain balance and stability in the SZ. These documents prescribe that no armed forces of Moldova can be located on the territory of Bendery.

It has been stipulated that the parties should act within their territory on the principle of territoriality after the end of warfare in 1992. According to above regulations, Pridnestrovie carries out administrative and economic activities in Bendery independently.

These documents and further legislative norms of the PMR laid the basis for the work of law enforcement structures in Bendery that keep order and protect interests of the people living there. It was defined that activity of Moldovan policemen in the Security Zone and particularly in Bendery is possible only in the framework of the Joint Operational Investigative Group established immediately after the end of hostilities. However, it not only has failed to start its work and submit any report in the JCC, but also shows today its utter helplessness.

Let me remind you that according to the JCC documents this group should include 100 representatives from each side, i.e. 100 Moldovan policemen and 100 Pridnestrovian militiamen. There are some nuances: first, this group can participate only in joint activities; secondly, its work is subject to control only by the JCC; thirdly, activity of this group should be regulated by a document which hasn't been adopted so far. This raises the question: on what grounds does Moldova increase its military presence in the Security Zone, especially in Bendery? For what reason is the number of armed men from Moldovan authorities 5-6 times higher than 100 men?

Why haven't armed people and prisoners, who are allegedly there, been withdrawn from Bendery prisons while prisons in Moldova are empty? There are many questions. I shall repeat: I am sure solution can be found once the parties demonstrate political will in order to return and work strictly in the framework of documents of the Joint Control Commission.

INFOTAG: Do you agree with the fact that Pridnestrovie “helped” Ukraine to “fail” its OSCE Chairmanship?  Why were rounds in the 5+2 rather ritual than substantive?

Nina SHTANSKI: I am surprised at such assessment. Can we consider Chairmanship which has hosted five (!) negotiation rounds, most of which were efficient, a “failure”? Can we consider Ukrainian OSCE Chairmanship a “failed” one when for almost half a year Moldova was shaken by internal political crisis sometimes bringing negotiation process to a standstill? Important decisions that couldn't be solved by the parties for many years were adopted in the course of this Chairmanship.

Let's start with small steps: dismantling of emergency cable car in Rybnitsa, one part of which belongs to economic entity in Rezina. Since at least 2008 the parties couldn't find any common ground, but it was under Ukrainian Chairmanship that the Protocol Decision defining the format of interaction for dismantling  of this cable car was elaborated. As a result, Russia has defrayed financing expenses of this project. We expect that the works will have been carried out by the end of 2013.

In addition, during Ukrainian Chairmanship controversial wordings preventing the parties from signing the Plan of Joint Actions in the field of ecology were agreed. At the Kiev round the sides succeeded in signing another document in the same dimension – the Protocol Decision which defines parameters of construction of treatment facilities in Dubossary and collector system in Kriulyany, which will have favourable effect on the Dniester.

This year the sides continued interaction on removal of hazardous radio emitting elements located at different sites in Pridnestrovie. Pridnestrovie couldn't dispose them on its own. Current year also witnessed progress in a rather complicated dialogue on freedom of movement. Though only several steps were made, but these were steps forward.

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