The Head of the MFA of Pridnestrovie: We Look Forward to the Outcome of Negotiations with Kishinev

The Head of the MFA of Pridnestrovie: We Look Forward to the Outcome of Negotiations with Kishinev

Team of Yevgeny Shevchuk who won the presidential election holds almost a year power in Pridnestrovie. The tactics of "small steps" in relations with Moldova which caused controversy within Pridnestrovie and beyond its borders has allowed smoothing of mistrust between the parties to the conflict. Vladimir Sandutsa, the RIA Novosti correspondent in Pridnestrovie talks with Nina Shtansky, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the PMR on the outcome of the political year.

- Nina Viktorovna, how can you estimate the outcome of efforts concerning settlement of the Pridnestrovian conflict in the expiring year? 

- First of all the work of the official format (“5+2”) has been resumed just a year before. Secondly a year of the chairmanship of Ireland in the negotiation process is over, and in the following year we meet new challenges, new attitudes under the chairmanship of Ukraine.

It is very important that we managed to agree on the principles and procedures of the negotiation process. We agreed to take into account more than 180 previously signed agreements while developing new agreements.

We have agreed on the agenda and have given it legal force. Moldovan party leaned towards non-mandatory signing of protocols of agreements and agenda. We were able to activate the work of the expert groups. 11 expert groups operate in Pridnestrovie; three groups were formed this year. The steps that we managed to take have shown positive result. This concerns interaction at the level of expert groups on education, and joint solution to environmental problems. Full resumption of goods transport by rail, of course, has led to a favourable situation for both parties on the right and on the left banks.

- The negotiation process at the start of the year was sprinting and active, but it began to stall and fade by the end of the year. Do you agree with it? How can parties increase the efficiency of the negotiations?  

- It may seem incredible but the number of contacts between political representatives of Tiraspol and Kishinev began to increase by the end of the year. We met practically almost every week.

But we must evaluate our work according to its results. From this point of view we managed to do much at a glance at the beginning of the year. By the end of the year performance was close to zero. I want to emphasize that most of the steps towards the Moldovan party were made by Pridnestrovian party ​​unilaterally. We have shown our transparency. One of the first decrees of the President of Pridnestrovie was concerned the abolition of the 100% protective duties. The next step was appeal for dialogue on the railway management. Pridnestrovie unilaterally began broadcasting two Moldovan TV-channels. We expected reciprocal step. Experts have recorded no technical barriers to broadcasting Pridnestrovian channel in Moldova. But it turned out that the political will to be required. All that has led to the choice of tactics of symmetric behaviour: give-and-take principle. Of course, we had to take steps in the opposite direction. These measures concern the imposition of duties for certain types of goods in order to protect our economic agents, and abolition of broadcasting Moldovan TV-channels. Constructive interaction can not be based on unilateral steps without adequate response.

- What is the character of your relations with Yevgeny Karpov, Vice-Premier Minister of Moldova and its representative in the negotiation process, as well as in general with the Moldovan side? Is there any place for the element known as confidence?

-  Confidence is the key point to be found while negotiating. We search for this confidence. During this year Pridnestrovie has not taken any steps that could harm the negotiation process at any degree or impinge upon the interests of the Moldovan party. I regret to note that such steps have been taken by the Moldovan party. It includes the purchase of licenses by two 4G-operators to broadcast frequency band used by the Pridnestrovian television. Unilateral actions have also influenced foreign trade of Pridnestrovian enterprises.

Our last initiative in this year was aimed at development of socio-economical interaction and confidence. Unless we finish it, we couldn't go further.

- Do you think that some actions taken by Kishinev can be regarded as pressure?

- Regretfully I must acknowledge this fact. And above all this situation is topical for our enterprises which were forced to be registered in Kishinev. Registration in the Republic of Moldova is necessary to perform foreign economic activity; otherwise no certificate of origin would be issued. Sometimes economic agents learn about legislative change of the requirements when they have to bear responsibility for violations. The demand of book accounting presentation in Romanian language makes us sad. It means that the enterprise is brought a condition that is impossible a priori. This is also subject to ecological dues. Moldovans say they will modify their legislation. The Moldovan Parliament can not amend the law during last four years. 22 years of Pridnestrovian history gave evidence that it is not worth pressing us. There is a need for partner dialogue.

- Why political issues are not under discussion in the dialogue with Kishinev?

- Today our negotiation agenda is focused mainly on socio-economic issues. As long as we do not trust each other political decisions will stay out of the question. As for the agenda there are three so-called baskets. The third basket (political issues) is empty. For the present the parties were able to agree on the content of only two baskets.

- Vlad Filat, the Prime Minister of Moldova, has recently stated the impossibility of opening of the Consulate General of the Russian Federation in Tiraspol. In your opinion, how can the absence of the Russian Consulate impact on the social situation in Pridnestrovie?

- There is no excuse of the fact that constitutional rights of 170 000 Russian nationals living in Pridnestrovie depend on political bias or suggestions of certain politicians. International practice requires several comprehensive consular agencies for such number of people. Because of the inability to renew the passport in time many can not travel abroad. Such consulate is extremely essential for Pridnestrovie. This problem requires urgent priority solution.

- Don't you think that they try to corner Pridnestrovian party, deprive it of manoeuvre and to prompt its acceptance of the developed plan of settlement?

- I do not rule out the possibility that someone would like to push us into a corner. But, fortunately, this intention is not common. We believe that dialogue can not be interrupted; we must look for new arguments and new patterns of interaction.

I believe in results. We know what way we are moving and know exactly what people need. Negotiations were often simulated in the past in order to gain time. We can not treat ourselves in this way because there are too many problems to be solved.