In Europe - East

TASS, June 10, 2016

TIRASPOL, Moldova – Chisinau and Tiraspol have begun to implement agreements reached at the Transnistrian settlement talks in the 5+2 format in Berlin last week, the press service of the foreign ministry of the unrecognized republic of Transnistria said on Friday. [1]

Border between Moldova and Transnistria (Dieter Zirnig, Flikr)

Border between Moldova and Transnistria (Dieter Zirnig, Flikr)

Thus, a protocol on exchange of hydrometeorology information was signed on Friday by Transnistria and Moldova in the presence of mediators and observers.

“The document regulates the procedure and character of hydrometeorology information exchange between the relevant service of Moldova and Transnistria,” the ministry said. “The sides also agreed to continue efforts to coordinate a draft document on cooperation the sphere of regulation of the fishing sector and efficient use of aquatic bio resources in the River Dniester.”

Map of Moldova and Transnistria

Map of Moldova and Transnistria

It was among the seven points the sides reached consensus on at the Berlin meeting. The other six concern mutual recognition of documents, the freedom of movement of cargoes and people, education, communications, criminal prosecution of officials. At the Berlin meeting, Chisinau and Tiraspol once again reiterated their commitment to peaceful ways of settling disputes and agreed to improve the mechanism of implementation of agreements they reach.

Talks in the 5+2 format, involving Moldova and Transnistria as parties to the conflict, the OSCE as a mediator, Russia and Ukraine as guarantors and the European Union and the United States as observers, have been stuck for the second year. Only two out of five scheduled meetings were held in 2014. Relations between Chisinau and Tiraspol chilled after the Transnistrial leaders accused Moldova and Ukraine of exerting coordinated pressure on the unrecognized republic through economic sanctions. Tiraspol accused the Moldovan authorities of opening about 200 criminal cases against Transnistrian officials.

A traditional Bavarian conference on trust-building measures between Chisinau and Tiraspol is to be held in July. It is an unofficial annual meeting held near Munich since 2009. The sides are expected to outline coordinated solutions from the Berlin package.

Transnistria, a largely Russian-speaking region, broke away from Moldova following the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. Its relations with Moldova’s central government in Chisinau have been highly mixed and extremely tense at times ever since then. In 1992 and 1993, tensions erupted into a bloody armed conflict that claimed the lives of hundreds of people on both sides.

Note by New Cold
[1] The 5+2 format encompasses Russia, Moldova, Transnistria, Ukraine, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) and observers from the European Union and the United States. Previous talks on settling the Transnistria dispute scheduled to take place in September 2015 were postponed, becoming the third canceled meeting in the 5+2 format. The last such meeting was held in mid-2014.

Transnistria is internationally recognized as part of the Republic of Moldova, but is a de-facto independent state. The region declared its independence from Moldova after the War of Transnistria in 1990-1992, which ended with a ceasefire on July 21, 1992. Since February 2014, Ukraine has restricted its border crossings with Transnistria, including efforts by Ukrainian extremists to mount similar road blockades to those it mounted against Crimea. (From Sputnik News, June 29, 2015 and April 7, 2016)

Russia has 1,200 peacekeeping soldiers in Transnistria dating from a ceasefire on July 1992 which ended 20 months of military clashes between Moldova and a newly-declared, independent Transniestra. (Wikipedia)

Also on TASS:
Transnistrian leader: NATO drills in Moldova threaten regional stability, May 20, 2016

Transnistria accuses Moldova of unwillingness to settle bilateral contradictions, May 11, 2016

Moldova ready to resume talks on Transnistrian settlement — deputy PM, May 11, 2016



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