Nina Shtanski: Common Citizens should benefit

Nina Shtanski: Common Citizens should benefit

Head of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Pridnestrovie Nina Shtanski answered the questions of VESTI.MD in exclusive interview.

- Miss Shtanski, the Dublin Meeting showed that the sides of the negotiation process are not always ready to listen to each other. In spite of this they managed to reach compromise on number of issues. When will common citizens feel progress on themselves?

- To my mind you used the word ‘compromise' in right context. You see, compromised decision, in spite of what is its subject, importance, etc. is always mutually acceptable decision. It is always a result of concessions made by both sides. Without these concessions it is hard to imagine any progress in seeking compromise. Dialogue which we are trying to establish now with our Moldovan colleagues is based upon such reciprocal and mutually acceptable concessions. Compromise not only helps us to work out jointly some decisions on specific matters (for example, on the removal of radioactive waste from the industrial enterprises or on the resumption of railway communication) but it also helps the sides of the negotiation process to end the regime of confrontation and to become partners. And in such partner cooperation should be nor victors, nor losers. These are common citizens who should win. These first steps which we are making together with the Moldovan side in building compromising negotiation space give reasons for optimism, though cautious optimism, as the Head of State Yevgeny Shevchuk said recently.

- Earlier you mentioned that Tiraspol is waiting for demonstration of political will from Kishinev. Do you think that interest in settlement is declarative only?

- It seems that we are opening new page in the history of negotiations between Pridnestrovie and Moldova. There are new leaders among the leadership of the sides; the political representatives who are taking part in negotiations are also involved into this process only recently; the official consultations in 5+2 format are resumed after long break; the negotiation platform will be based upon renovated principles, though these are to be settled yet. Appraisals to negotiation processes are given with consideration of former periods, of analysis of positions of the sides and of discharging their obligations. Alas, the whole negotiation process was not stable. There were periods when negotiations were not conducted at all and there were periods when negotiations, though being conducted, represented some painful imitation, some quasi negotiations. In such periods even coordinated and signed agreements were not implemented. And this is the major indicator which allows me to say that sides need to demonstrate political will in order to solve the majority of issues. I hope now we are at the beginning of this constructive way.

- Can you call the work of expert groups a productive one? What is the future of these groups?

- At this moment I would refrain from making any appraisals because their work already got new impulse after signing agenda at Bad Reichenhall and after Pridnestrovian side started work of expert groups in new staff on March 19 during the meeting at OSCE Office in Tiraspol. The work is started in really intense manner. For last few weeks about ten working meetings already took place. There are intermediate results and coordinated plans. I think we should give experts possibility to prove their effectiveness.

- There is an opinion that even new Pridnestrovian leadership is not really ready to influence the settlement process without direct orders from Kremlin. How much valid do you find such opinion?

- First of all, I would like to mention that for Pridnestrovian people Russia is an effective guarantor of peace and stability on banks of Dniester River. Russia confirms her high status of the guarantor in deed. Maybe some “experts” are frustrated with it or are jealous of it but I am sure my opinion is shared event far away from the Security zone.

The question about the role of foreign participants in the settlement process is indeed very important. But when people talk about settlement they sometimes tend to forget that this process has many stages and is very complex. As recent meetings of the heads of the sides demonstrated, cooperation in bilateral format also can be very efficient. The sides manage to move forward in resolving some key problems concerning welfare of people in both Pridnestrovie and in Moldova. Of course, because of the very long period of settlement foreign participants were involved into this process as well: the guarantor-States, mediator, observers. All of them have their own interests in the region.

For example, can it be that Russia and Ukraine, who have their citizens permanently residing in Pridnestrovie, let alone large national diasporas, can it be that they have no interests in Pridnestrovie? But the practice of international participation in settlement processes proves that when such factors are absent there is no direct interest in settlement of conflict either and assistance in conflict resolving is much less effective. As for the opinions of the kind you mentioned, they are based upon erroneous confidence in possibility of resolving such inveterate conflicts with a stroke of a pen. Alas, history knows no examples of such kind.

-Recently, a new series of documents unclassified by Wikileaks has been made public. What is Tiraspol's attitude to now and then appearing information about attempts of Russia and Germany to agree on the settlement of the conflict? What do you think about 15-20 deputies from Pridnestrovie getting representation in the Moldovan parliament?

-Wikileaks is not that kind of resource the content of which I would like to discuss. As regards parliamentarians, Pridnestrovie has an elected and now operating supreme legislative body of power. By the way, Supreme Soviet of Pridnestrovie has a signed Agreement on Cooperation with the Parliament of Moldova which, as far as I know, has not been terminated to the present time.

- From the point of view of constructiveness and initiative, which of the Moldovan politicians has made an impression on You? Who of Kishinev representatives do You see as a basic partner for a dialogue?

- In compliance with the powers vested in me by the President of Pridnestrovie, my partner in negotiations, in the dialogue in this part, is defined. It is a political representative of Moldova in the negotiation process.

-You have repeatedly told that political crisis in the RM is some kind of hindrance in relations between Tiraspol and Kishinev. Does it mean that with appearance of the President in Moldova the two sides of the Dniester will become more active and start making concrete deeds to solve the problem? And what is a hindrance for Pridnestrovie in this context?

- Any political uncertainty in any country is always a hindrance on the way of settling international problems. It is absolutely apparent that everyone is interested in a quiet neighborhood where there would be triumph of law and order. Yevgeny Shevchuk has recently noted that he hopes to build partnership with the new head of the Moldovan state.  I am certain that carrying forward interaction between the sides in a constructive way will bring positive results.

- Ex-commandant of Pridnestrovie Mikhail Bergman claimed in one of his interviews that Pridnestrovie is used as a sort of black hole through which one can receive colossal means. Hence, Russia, Moldova and neighboring states are not interested in the conflict to be solved. How can You comment on this?

- Alas, neither I nor the majority of TV viewers was able to watch the whole interview. According to M. Bergamn, “splitted” separate phrases taken out of the context broke the discourse in general and distorted the meaning of the interview. I am convinced that not only guarantor states but many countries in Eurasian space are interested today in conflict reconciliation. Non-settlement is always accumulation of conflict potential.

- According to Bergman, expired ammunition remains in the region. Are the Pridnestrovians not afraid of the threat of explosion on arms depot? As Bergman told, it will result in that “half of Moldova will disappear and part of Ukraine will be also affected”.

- These depots were more that once inspected by international structures and today their due maintenance is ensured by efforts of Russian military men. I have no factual grounds to share this alarm, no matter who voiced it.

- What results in the negotiation process can we expect by the end of 2012?

- We are focused on positive results and we take a whole range of measures with Moldovan colleagues to make this goal become a reality. I hope that by the end of 2012 our estimations will meet public expectations.