Global Policy Forum

Russia Ready to Compromise with Moldova on Transnistrian Conflict

A Russian official has indicated that the breakaway region of Transnistria will be recognized by the Russian Federation. After decades of discussion with Moldova, Moscow has agreed to grant Transnistria special status of an autonomous territory. Although a state of war technically still exists between Moldova and Transistria's de facto government, negotiations have been progressing since 1993 to address the conflict.

March 29, 2011

A senior Russian official on Tuesday signaled a willingness to compromise with Moldova on the status of the breakaway region Transnistria, after almost two decades of diplomatic stalemate over the conflict.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov was speaking after meetings with his Moldovan colleague Iurie Leanca in the Russian capital Moscow called for 'a new format for the peace mission' in Transnistria, often referred to as one of the continent's 'frozen conflicts.'

Russia was also was ready to empty, dismantle, and if necessary destroy the contents of three Soviet-era munitions depots in Transnistria province, Lavrov said.

The Kremlin has long cited the existence of the three military warehouses in Transnistria and the potential of a loss of control of their contents as a key justification for the continued presence of some 3,000 Russian troops in the region.

Moscow and Chisinau also had agreed, Lavrov said, that Transnistria be given a special status as an autonomous territory within the state of Moldova.

Lavrov and Leanca both were 'optimistic' that further negotiations in Vienna in April might eventually help resolve the Transnistria conflict, the Interfax news agency reported.

Lavrov also called for an EU response to a Moscow-backed proposal to form a special multilateral committee to settle the Transnistria dispute.

'We want it to go forward, 'said Lavrov.

Moldova's Leanca said Chisinau believed that with Russia's support a 'road map is possible' to settle the Trannistria conflict 'in a way that is fair to all.'

Participants in upcoming Vienna talks on Transistria scheduled in April include Russia, the EU, the US, Ukraine and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). Moldova and Transnistria are the conflicting parties.

Transnistria runs along a narrow strip of land on the left bank of the river Dniester. Most members of its population are ethnic Russians or Ukrainians.

Moldova in a civil war in 1992 attempted but failed in Transnistria to establish widespread use of the Romanian language, and effective collection of taxes to be paid to Moldova's central government. Russia troops fought on the Transnistrian side.

A state of war technically still exists between Moldova and Transistria's de facto government.

On and off negotiations have been in progress since 1993 to resolve the conflict. Transnistria's unclear legal status and widespread smuggling through the region have contributed towards making Moldova Europe's poorest country.


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