Russia should withdraw troops from Transdniestria - Moldovan foreign minister
Chisinau insists on full withdrawal of the Russian troops and weapons in accordance with international obligations, and on transforming the current peacekeeping operation on the Dniester River into a civilian, multinational mission with an international mandate, Moldovan Minister of Foreign Affairs and European Integration Natalia Gherman told the Ministerial Council of the Organization of Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) in Belgrade.
She expressed her "concern by the presence of the Russian military factor in the region and big stockpiles of Russian ammunition," a Moldovan Foreign Ministry spokesperson said.
Speaking of the Transdniestrian peace process, Gherman noted that "the negotiating process is behind the schedule due to various factors."
Progress in the five plus two talks (Moldova, Transdniestria plus Russia, Ukraine, the OSCE, the European Union and the United States) is being thwarted, in particular, by "Transdniestria's tough approach and the preconditions it has constantly put forward," the minister said.
"Nevertheless, the dialogue continues at meetings of political representatives in the one plus one format and working groups of experts from Chisinau and Tiraspol. Certain progress has been reached in finding solutions in the field of environmental protection, rail and motor transport," the Moldovan foreign minister said.
"Contrary to Transdniestria's false accusations about the so-called economic blockade, on the opposite, we and our partners in the EU made significant efforts to help facilitate sale procedures and ensured preferential access by Transdniestrian companies to European markets," German said.
She called for the dialogue over the Transdniestrian problem to continue "at all levels and without preconditions." The Moldovan minister urged the mediators and observers "to combine their efforts in order to resume the five plus two talks and focus them on the main political issues concerning the conflict resolution process." In addition, efforts must continue "in searching for lasting solutions to issues such as the functioning of regional schools that use the Latin script and providing free access by Moldovan farmers to their croplands."
"I am glad that here, at the OSCE, we agreed on a joint goal: to seek a comprehensive peace process based on the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Moldova, with a special status for the Transdniestrian region by fully guaranteeing human, political, economic and social rights to its population," she said.