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Foreign Policy Association: Moldova avoided a big disaster at the 5+2 negotiations in Berlin

Victor Chirilă, the Executive Director of the Foreign Policy Association (FPA), issued an opinion about the 5+2 negotiations between Moldova and Transnistria that took place in Berlin.

According to Chirilă, Moldova avoided a big disaster in Berlin, because the moderators and the observers of the negotiations increased and coordinated pressure against Moldova’s position. Nevertheless, “George Balan, the Deputy Prime Minister for Reintegration managed to negotiate a compromise protocol which would not harm irremediably the Republic of Moldova’s position”.

Chirilă thinks that Russia exploited the interests of the German OSCE Chairmanship and the inconsistency of Moldovan authorities to form a united front against the latter:

“At the meeting in Berlin, the moderators and observers formed a “united front” towards the Republic of Moldovan’s negotiator. It is undoubtedly a failure of the Moldovan diplomacy”, writes FPA.

The impartiality of the OSCE Mission in Chișinău is doubted, as it was pressuring the Moldovan part to make unilateral concessions:

“The impartiality of the OSCE Mission in Chisinau raises big question. It is increasingly pressuring the Moldovan authorities to make unilateral concessions, for example, to accept the movement of the vehicles from the Transnistrian region abroad with the registration plates issued by the separatist administration in Tiraspol. In essence, this would mean recognition the “state symbols” of the separatist regime before agreeing on the status of the Transnistrian region within Republic of Moldova, as stipulated by Law 173 dated 22 July, 2005 on basic provisions of the special legal status of the localities on the left bank of the Nistru River (Transnistria)”, reads the article.

Accordingly, the Moldovan diplomacy can be blamed for Ukraine’s inactivity and lack of support:

“Ukrainian support in Berlin was anemic, again a failure of our diplomacy. It seems that Ukrainian negotiator does not fully understand that the precedents decided today in the 5+2 will be applied tomorrow in Lugansk and Donetsk. Our authorities should ask themselves why this happens. The answer must be sought primarily in Chisinau.”

As expected, Russia imposed again its conditions:

“Russia again attempted to impose a formalizing of a binding guarantees mechanism on the implementation of the formal decisions between Chisinau and Tiraspol, which once accepted would legalize a process of gradual recognition of de-facto realities in the Transnistrian region. In other words, gradually legalize the unrecognized status of Transnistria, without formal negotiations on this issue.
The guarantee mechanism proposed by Russia, supported by Tiraspol and the OSCE mission in Chisinau has not been opposed by the observers, the US and EU. Ukraine has not supported the Russian proposal for now, but what will happen in the nearest future……..? Certainly, we cannot be sure at all that Ukraine would change its mind. Germany would rather support such a mechanism.”

Chirilă concludes that the imposed guarantees are unacceptable for Moldova and negotiations should be focused on the status of Transnistria:

“Moldovan authorities must say NO to any Russian attempts to legalize their dangerous mechanism of guarantees. First of all, Transnistrian side has to show a good faith and real will and determination to negotiate a political compromise over future Transnistrian status in a reintegrated Moldova. Only in the framework of comprehensive negotiations on the Transnistrian autonomous status we shall talk about guaranties.”

The 5+2 negotiations on the Transnistrian conflict took place on June 2nd in Berlin and included Moldovan authorities and the leadership of the unrecognized Transnistria as counterparts, Russia, Ukraine, the OSCE as moderators and the US and the EU as observers.

Currently studying International Relations at the University of Pécs, Hungary. Study focus: Transnistrian conflict settlement, Moldovan statehood, Moldovan democracy.

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Chișinău and Tiraspol sign protocols to solve issues of Latin script schools, telecommunication, diploma recognition and land ownership

On November 25th, the political negotiators of the Republic of Moldova and the separatist Transnistrian administration met in Bender to discuss technical issues ahead of the upcoming 5+2 negotiations in Vienna.

Accompanied by 5+2 mediators and observers, Reintegration Minister George Balan and the so-called “foreign minister” Vitalyi Ignatiev signed 4 protocols elaborated at the expert groups level. The protocols focus on 4 key issues:

  • Recognition of diplomas issued by education institutions in the Transnistrian region– the parties agreed to Chișinău accepting (apostillation) a neutral diploma issued in Transnistria;
  • Elimination of barriers in the telecommunication domain- establishing a direct connection of fixed and the mobile telephone network, as well as internet, after the negotiations between operators on both banks of Nistru river;
  • Elimination of barriers to the functioning of Romanian language (Latin script) schools in Transnistria- setting minimal rent and utility prices for the buildings rented out to these schools, setting 10 years as the minimal rent period for the buildings, providing the adjacent lands in use to the schools, providing conditions for free movement of teachers and pupils of these schools, but also the needed materials for their functioning;
  • Allowing farmers to use their lands across Tiraspol-Camenca road in Dubăsari district- applying the “2006 Mechanism” of distributing the lands to those persons owning them initially, stopping the use of lands by Transnistrian firms or persons (2014 distribution), stopping the penal cases against the latter by Chișinău.

Solutions to these problems are expected to be delivered by the joint expert groups.

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2017 Eastern Partnership Summit ends: EU encourages EaP countries to continue reforms, acknowledges “European choice” of MD, UA, GE

Representatives of the Republic of Armenia, the Republic of Azerbaijan, the Republic of Belarus, Georgia, the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine, the representatives of the European Union and the Heads of State or Government and representatives of its Member States have met in Brussels on 24 November 2017. During their meeting, they agreed on a joint declaration on the Eastern Partnership.

The declaration, however, does not bring new dimensions to the Eastern Partnership. Everyone reconfirmed their commitment and the high importance they attach to the Partnership. The EU, in particular, reaffirmed its commitment to support the territorial integrity, independence and sovereignty of all its partners- a hint on Ukraine’s hybrid war with Russia. Due to the fact that 5 out of 6 EaP countries have such problems, the Summit participants called for renewed efforts to promote the peaceful settlement of unresolved conflicts, though not named in the declaration, in the region on the basis of international law.

In the declaration, the European Union and its Member States acknowledged the European aspirations and European choice of partners who signed association agreements with the EU, namely Georgia, the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine; while recognizing the right for other partners to choose the level of ambition they aspire to in their relations with the EU. Some compared these statements as being too similar to those from the Riga Summit in 2015.

The 20 deliverables for 2020 framework was welcomed as the way to improve the lives of citizens of the Eastern European states in four priority areas with a focus on good governance, better transport links, energy security, independent media and people mobility.

The European Council President, Donald Tusk, made it clear that the Eastern Partnership will develop on both economic and societal dimensions:

“We want to reinforce Eastern Partnership cooperation in a number of specific areas such as small and medium-sized enterprises, digital economy, broadband investments, and investments in transport, energy and infrastructure projects. The list is long. But above all, we want to strengthen links between our citizens and give more support to civil society”, said Tusk, alongside with Estonia’s PM Juri Ratas and EU Commission President, Jean-Claude Juncker at the closing press conference.

In the margins of the summit, the EU and Armenia signed a Comprehensive and Enhanced Partnership Agreement, as well as an Aviation Agreement.

Moldova’s Prime-Minister Pavel Filip underlined that this EaP Summit was important for all the partners to reevaluate the partnership, its aims, and its future. According to him, the Partnership is very important for Moldova in this critical period of difficult reforms unpopular decisions. However, at the arrival in the morning, Filip, did not approach the journalists and just passed them smiling, as compared to representatives of other states.

The EaP was launched in 2009 to promote the political association and economic integration between the EU and the six Eastern European partner countries: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine.

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New round of 5+2 talks to take place in Vienna during November 27-28

A new round of 5+2 negotiations will take place in Vienna during November 27-28. The information was communicated to IPN by Moldova’s Minister for Reintegration and chief negotiator, George Balan, who received the invitation on the afternoon of November 14th.

According to Balan, Moldova’s proposals for the agenda of the 5+2 meeting will include the “Berlin plus” package (Berlin protocol): the problem of access to farmlands, the situation of Latin script Romanian-language schools, and the movement of vehicles registered in the Transnistrian region.

The invitation was reportedly made by the mediators to the Transnistrian conflict settlement talks Russia, Ukraine, and OSCE.

5+2 negotiations regard the talks on the conflict resolution between the separatist authorities of the Pridnestrovian Moldovan Republic and the constitutional authorities of the Republic of Moldova, together with the OSCE, Russia, and Ukraine as mediators, and the EU and the US as observers.

The latest round of the 5+2 talks was held in Bavaria in July 2016.

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