The government of Moldavia is seriously trying to settle the conflict with the unrecognized Transdniestr republic. Moldavia’s President Vladimir Voronin set forth new initiatives, which would make for the establishment of the dialogue with Tiraspol. First, the Moldavian authorities are offering to organize joint customs. Secondly, Chisinau (the capital of Moldavia) believes that the Transdniestr government should not prevent Russia from withdrawing its defense technology and ammunition from the depots in Transdniestr. The major obstacle between Chisinau and Tiraspol is the undetermined status of the Transdniestr republic.
The division of Moldavia into two parts was predetermined historically to a certain extent. The territory of the present Transdniestr republic was included in the Soviet Union before 1949, and Russians and Ukrainians made up the majority of its population. The Moldavian republic appeared in 1940 with the capital of Chisinau, with Russians and Ukrainians being predominant in its population until the break-up of the Soviet Union in 1991. The nationalists in Chisinau were trying to oust the foreign population from their territory, which led to the split of the country. As a result, the conflict is still unsolved.
A solution to the conflict would be very good for the interests of both Moldavian republics. The majority of the industrial enterprises is situated on the territory of the Transdniestr republic. However, they are not able to work normally, since the republic is actually in isolation. Furthermore, the no-peace-no-war situation is very bad for the investment perspectives of both Moldavia and Transdniestr.
Previous negotiations between the republics finished without any results. Chisinau insisted on the unitary Moldavia, in which Transdniestr would be an integral part, and Tiraspol (the capital of Transdniestr) acknowledged the common borders but asked for a status equal with Moldavia’s.
Vladimir Voronin, the Moldavian president, announced after the presidential elections in Transdniestr that he was not going to negotiate with Transdniestr’s leader. However, the Moldavian government stressed that they were ready to continue the dialogue on the level of experts, including talks pertaining to the status of Transdniestr. The Moldavian authorities may count on Russian and Ukrainian support in this respect, for these countries are intermediary in the regulation of the Transdniestr conflict.
Moscow and Kiev believe that granting special status to Transdniestr, but within the framework of Moldavia, could become the basis for the solution of the problem. This way was mentioned in Primakov’s plan, pursuant to which Moldavia would become a federal republic. The initiatives of the Moldavian president are surely aimed at the solution of the Transdniestr conflict. Further events will show, to what extent Chisinau and Tiraspol are ready to compromise.
Oleg Artyukov PRAVDA.Ru
Translated by Dmitry Sudakov
Read the original in Russian: http://www.pravda.ru/main/2002/02/05/36607.html