Vladimir Yastrebchak: presently Pridnestrovie could agree to a “delayed status”


On July 7, 2009, a meeting took place between PMR's Foreign Minister Vladimir Yastrebchak and Deputy of Bundestag Rainder Steenblock and Deputy Ambassador of Germany to RM Julia Krummenauer. The German side was interested in Tiraspol's view on current state of Moldo-Pridnestrovian relations as well as in vision of further settlement prospects. 

Vladimir Yastrebchak noted that positions of the sides in the settlement are now diametrically opposite: Kishinev insists on the idea of unitarism while Pridnestrovie expects to establish neighbourly relations between both states. The diplomat marked that tendency of further divergence in positions of the sides has become evident in recent years. Moldova imposes economic sanctions on Pridnestrovian enterprises even more frequently. Thereupon the Minister emphasized PMR economy should not depend on the process of political settlement especially as there is an international document – Memorandum of 1997 where the freedom of PMR external economic activity is fixed. Vladimir Yastrebchak mentioned that many chances for settlement were lost in the past. At present the existing realities and new international tendencies should be taken into consideration in order to create a stable model of conflict settlement. In this regard Tiraspol reckons upon international assistance as well.

Rainder Steenblock declared the European Union is interested in the conflict to be solved as quicker as possible. Having noticed that Germany has its own position in conflict settlement and can promote Moldo-Pridnestrovian settlement, he stressed the necessity to take into account positions of both sides. According to the German representative, the conflict should be settled stage by stage.

Vladimir Yastrebchak agreed to the opinion of his interlocutor and marked that Tiraspol considers the first stage to be the work of industrial interdepartmental groups of Moldova and Pridnestrovie. The Minister told that the next round of expert work would begin soon and that the meeting of experts who deal with the railway issue was to be held that day. The diplomat declared Tiraspol attaches great importance to the work of expert groups while “the way forward cannot consist of unilateral actions.” “No problem can be solved if you rely upon Moldavian or Pridnestrovian legislation only – it should be joint work,” he stressed.

According to Vladimir Yastrebchak, Kishinev and Tiraspol should at the same time give up practice of unilateral decisions and revise those which were made earlier. The Minister noted that during the summit meeting between Moldova and Pridnestrovie which took place on December 24, 2008, in Tiraspol, the Moldovan side was handed a Pridnestrovian draft on non-use of force and mutual pressure in relations between the sides. Kishinev has not responded to this proposal yet.

Realization of proposals made by PMR President Igor Smirnov during the meeting between the three Presidents on March 18, 2009, in Moscow should become the next step in the process of settlement as it is seen in Tiraspol. The main point of these proposals is that the negotiation process needs a number of guarantees in relation to agreements which were achieved earlier as well as future agreements. “Each side should be assured that agreements will be carried out.”

As the Head of the Foreign Office noted, the question about the political status of Pridnestrovie is not the principle one for securing stability in this region of Europe. Peace is reliably guaranteed here by existing mechanisms, the acting format of peace-making operations included. Tiraspol is aware of the fact that to reach consensus between the sides is impossible without consensus of great countries. As there are no perspectives of such a consensus for the time being, it would be more expedient to recognize Pridnestrovie as a territory with a “delayed status”. Such a temporary model could help to avoid needless politization by solving vital problems.  Vladimir Yastrebchak noted the idea of a “delayed status” is not Pridnestrovian invention. This idea was earlier suggested by the Ukraine; the same model was informally offered by the EU representatives during their participation in “5+2” format work. 

Touching upon the question of settlement through federalization, Vladimir Yastrebchak claimed that the model achieved by mutual consent in 2003 was rejected by Moldova and now Moldovan authorities do not agree even to discuss any other model except a unitary one. According to the diplomat, such approach of Kishinev is quite clear: to change the form of government one needs a national referendum but its organization presupposes certain risk. Therefore a “delayed status” of Pridnestrovie could suit everyone.

Also, during the conversation the sides touched upon the issues of  Pridnestrovian foreign trade activity as well as some aspects of  cooperation between Moldova and Pridnestrovie in the sphere of ecology, medical care and education – spheres in which the European Union including Germany could assist in confidence-building between the sides.