Delegation of the Special Representative of the OSCE Chairman-in-Office visited Pridnestrovie. Franco Frattini is accompanied by the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Slovak Republic to Moldova Dusan Dacho, the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Italian Republic to the Republic of Moldova Valeria Biagotti, the Head of the OSCE Mission to Moldova Claus Neukirch and other representatives of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.
Communication with the leadership of the country was preceded by a one-hour working discussion at the Foreign Ministry. Accompanied by Pridnestrovian colleagues, European diplomats arrived in Bendery. The guests were welcomed by the PMR President Vadim Krasnoselsky. The Pridnestrovian side was represented by the PMR Minister of Foreign Affairs Vitaly Ignatiev and the adviser to the PMR President on foreign policy, Ambassador-at-large in the rank of Deputy Minister Ruslan Slobodenyuk. The venue of the meeting was the conference hall on the territory of the Alexander Nevsky Park. Vadim Krasnoselsky noted that the choice was made not by chance: the Bendery Fortress complex and the park are of great historical importance for the Pridnestrovian region. In addition, the PMR President expressed confidence that acquaintance with this object would be interesting to foreign guests.
Returning to the working visit of OSCE representatives, the PMR President called it important, and the upcoming conversation necessary. Vadim Krasnoselsky focused on the fact that over the past 5 months the activity of the negotiation process has noticeably decreased, approaching the zero level: the number of meetings of expert (working) groups and meetings of political representatives has been reduced to a minimum. The PMR President noted that the reason for this is the political processes taking place in Moldova. He said that stopping the negotiation process is dangerous. The years 2017-2018 showed good dynamics, concrete agreements were reached. To his opinion, the negotiation process should not be hostage to the political situation in Moldova. According to Vadim Krasnoselsky, whatever political processes take place there, the negotiation process at the level of experts, the interaction of technical specialists should continue. Speaking about the current agenda, the PMR President said that the parties need to implement the existing agreements and move towards the achievement of new ones.
The Special Representative of the OSCE Chairman-in-Office Franco Frattini spoke about the difficulties of the “5 + 2” format related to the transition period in Moldovan politics. He noted that the Slovakian OSCE Chairmanship does not allow the idea that the negotiation process can be frozen. He considers stagnation counterproductive, and the loss of the impulse given to the negotiation process in the previous two years unacceptable. The European diplomat emphasized, that we should not waste time, arguing the current visit to Pridnestrovie. He said that the issue of holding the next expert meetings (working groups) in the near future was discussed with the Moldovan side, assuring that the OSCE will continue to support the parties in their desire to continue the dialogue at the negotiating table.
Vadim Krasnoselsky expressed gratitude to the OSCE for support and close attention to the negotiation process between Pridnestrovie and Moldova, noting that he highly appreciates the participation and role of Franco Frattini personally. The PMR President noted how important it is for Pridnestrovians to know that all the negotiators are interested in their continuation and called for progress, eliminating obstacles.
Among the topics proposed by the Pridnestrovian side for today's discussion are issues that have been on the agenda for several years. These are telecommunications and the termination of politically motivated criminal cases. The conversation about joint Moldovan-Ukrainian posts, as well as about the full functioning of the bridge across the Dniester in the villages of Bychok and Gura-Bykului needs further development. It is possible to increase the tonnage of trucks allowed to move along the bridge only after carrying out technical examinations and performing a certain amount of repair work. Pridnestrovie is ready to independently conduct a detailed survey and repair, and is considering the option of joint or parallel activities with Moldovan and European experts in this direction. The main thing is the result, emphasized Vadim Krasnoselsky.
Another important topic of discussion is cooperation in the banking sector. Pridnestrovie cooperates with economic agents from 90 countries of the world. 37% of exports are focused on the European Union, Vadim Krasnoselsky recalled, noting that Pridnestrovie, together with its European colleagues is constantly working to create conditions for expanding the sphere of economic cooperation with the European Union. The problem is the impossibility of the implementation of direct calculations. Last year, two meetings of expert (working) subgroups were devoted to this topic. The Pridnestrovian side offers its own vision of solution to the problem, the Moldovan side so far is silent.
The situation with Moldova’s restriction of postal deliveries of Russian printed periodicals to Pridnestrovie also requires permits. By delaying the correspondence, the Moldovan side restricts Pridnestrovians to the right to receive information, violating international norms.
The Pridnestrovian side has developed a number of promising proposals for solving these problems. The meeting participants discussed these and other relevant issues of the negotiation agenda. Summing up, Vadim Krasnoselsky and Franco Frattini called the working discussion necessary, important and productive. The PMR President noted the fact that the interlocutors possess information and welcome the progress of the negotiation process. Vadim Krasnoselsky said that in addition to identified earlier issues, the topics for driver's licenses were discussed, as well as the initiative to build a new trolleybus line that will connect Bendery, Varnitsa and Severny microdistrict. As for the prospects of holding new meetings, then, according to Franco Frattini, he will recommend organizing the visit of mediators and observers in the negotiation process in June of this year, and the meeting in the “5 + 2” format - in July or September.