Vladimir Yastrebchak: Guarantees for us are means of achieving optimal model of relations settlement between Moldova and Pridnestrovie


On September 8-9, 2011, German town Bad Reichenhall hosted the Conference on wider confidence building measures in Moldova-Pridnestrovie settlement process initiated by Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. At the international forum the Pridnestrovien delegation was headed by Head of the PMR's Cabinet of Ministers Igor Smirnov. On September 12, President of the PMR held a press-conference on the outcome of the meetings. During the press-conference, on instructions from the head of the state, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the PMR Vladimir Yastrebchak told about the results of the work of the section in which political issues of the Moldo-Pridnestrovien settlement and guarantees were discussed. The Pridnestrovien side was represented at this forum by Vladimir Yastrebchak; participating in the work of the section from the Moldovan side was political representative from Moldova Evgeniy Karpov.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs of the PMR informed that in the course of the meeting there was a comprehensive dialogue between the sides on guarantees of the negotiation process. Besides, the sides gave their assessment of the ongoing conference and the situation in the Moldo-Pridnestrovien settlement in general. The diplomat marked that even by the level of sides' representation in the conference one can judge to what extent Tiraspol and Kishinev are serious about the goals of the settlement. He drew attention of interlocutors to the fact that delegation of the Pridnestrovien side includes six ministers where four of them are heads of the field-specific expert groups; as for the Moldovan side, there is only one representative of the same level – E. Karpov. Other members of the Moldovan delegation, inter alia heads of working groups, are, at best, deputies head of the profiled institutions. “All this is indicative of both observance of the principles of equality and real interest of the Moldovan side in realization of confidence measures with Pridnestrovie,” the Minister pointed out. In Pridnestrovie one is convinced that true work along any direction of the work of working and expert groups is possible only provided that it is the head of the field-specific institution who is responsible for this direction. At the same time, as Vladimir Yastrebchak pointed out, regulations which were approved during the meetings in Bad Reichenhall stipulate that irrespective of the post they occupy, heads of the groups have equal status upon signature of the documents.

Vladimir Yastrebchak noted that in the course of his speech at the forum he recalled all participants of the settlement of the draft Agreement “On the Basis of the System of Guarantees in the Moldova-Pridnestrovie Settlement” forwarded to the Moldovan side and intermediaries as far back as 2009. The question of guarantees is regarded in Tiraspol as one of the fundamental ones. The Minister stressed that the Pridnestrovien draft is based on the well-known Agreement “On the Maintenance of Peace and Security Guarantees”. This document is one of the few settlement agreements deposed by the OSCE which for the first time fixed importance of the system of guarantees for relationship of the sides.

The diplomat noted that system of guarantees should include mutual guarantees of the two sides – Moldova and Pridnestrovie which should be equal guarantors of the fulfillment of agreements reached. He emphasized that any disagreements should be resolved by the sides on the basis of Agreement but not basing on legislation of one of the sides. Apart from that, signed agreements should serve as ground for amending domestic legislations of the sides, not visa versa.  “In no way should joint work on development of agreements be substituted by the work of one of the sides in its own legal framework,” the Minister told. Important component of mutual guarantees, according to Vladimir Yastrebchak should become renunciation of the sides of the use of pressure or threat. “All disputable issues should be solved exclusively by means of equal political negotiations,” he stated.

One of the most important issues in the Pridnestrovien draft is the question of international guarantees. Among them – deposition of major documents of the negotiation process by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe that would make it possible to exclude some variant readings. Vladimir Yastrebchak gave an example when on the official web-site of a legislative body of one of the guarantor countries documents which were signed in the course of the Moldova-Pridnestrovie negotiation process are included in the column “International Treaties”, while in Kishinev the question of the status of the signed agreements is constantly put in doubt. “In our opinion, agreements of the sides should be framed up as international treaties with concrete international obligations,” the Minister told. In his words, if one of the sides acts in a unilateral way and tries to change established rules, guarantors should act in relation to this side proceeding from their status of a guarantor.

Vladimir Yastrebchak noted that concentration of the Pridnestrovien side on the question of guarantees doesn't mean at all that in Tiraspol it is estimated as some “final point” of the settlement.  “When in Bad Reichenhall, we drew attention of our colleagues to the fact that guarantees are not a goal of the settlement, for us it is means of achieving optimal model of relations settlement between Moldova and Pridnestrovie,” the diplomat told. He clarified that Kishinev proposes another scheme: Moldova finds it possible to discuss the question of guarantees only after the final settlement and proceeding from the model which, according to Kishinev's theory, should be established by that time. Such approach is unacceptable for Tiraspol. “Negotiation process at all its stages – from the very beginning up to the final settlement – should be accompanied by legal and political all-binding guarantees,” Vladimir Yastrebchak stated.

In general, the head of the Pridnestrovien diplomacy gave positive assessment of the outcome of the forum in Bad Reichenhall. In his words, at this forum Kishinev and Tiraspol clearly defined their positions along major directions of bilateral cooperation. Taking into account that there is enough time before the forthcoming consultations in Moscow in the 5+2 format, practical steps of the sides on resolution of existing problems may lay good groundwork for successful work of the upcoming event.