Nina Shtanski: “For us the main thing is independence of our republic.” (Video)

Nina Shtanski: “For us the main thing is independence of our republic.” (Video)

On January 21, head of the PMR's foreign office Nina Shtanski gave exclusive interview to Observer program, which goes on the air of First Republican TV channel. During her TV appearance she elucidated topical issues of Pridnestrovien foreign policy, which disturb citizens of our republic at he present moment. Here we publish Minister's answers to the questions of the TV channel.

Question: Which kind of guidelines will Pridnestrovien foreign policy follow? Will new international partners of our republic appear?

After the elections, held in our republic, interest, shown towards Pridnestrovie by mass media and different international actors, particularly, diplomatic representative offices, accredited in the Republic of Moldova, has increased dramatically. That is how diplomatic practice is built – many of them considered it necessary to make familiarization visit to our republic. We consider it to be a very positive factor, we gain an additional possibility to designate our positions, to tell about problems, which complicate life of our citizens.

In recent years relations with our international partners developed in complicated conditions: there was a long-term recess in negotiation process, definite complications in making our position clear for international actors. But, in order to be heard, you must know how to hear. And we attentively listen to our guests, we want to understand them and to be understandable for them. I hope that in the sequel this constructive activity will be conducted as actively as it happens now.

Realization of will of Pridnestrovien people, expressed during nationwide Referendum on September 17, 2006, is major foreign policy guideline for Tiraspol. For us the main thing is independence of our republic. 

Question: But we still had to build our basic line in foreign policy in dialogue with Kishinev. In your opinion may it be called a dialogue? After meeting, held in Vilnius, many began to talk about new stage of negotiation process. Which basic principles will it follow?

Dialogue is necessary for us; we must seek possibilities for conduct of the dialogue, strive towards it, and it will surely go through. Head of state noticed repeatedly that there is no alternative to negotiation.

Big complex of unsettled problems amassed in relations between Kishinev and Tiraspol. Nevertheless, we must communicate with our colleagues from Moldova; this country is our neighbor, and it is necessary to build friendly relations with neighbors.

As to negotiation process, Vilnius meeting showed, that it is rather complicated for us to communicate even in the spheres, which concern formal procedures of negotiation process. In Vilnius the sides unfortunately failed to reach consent even on such natural principle as equality of the sides of negotiation. But it is impossible to negotiate without equality. In this case they turn into talking to oneself.

During meetings with international partners, which took place last week, head of state noticed that equality during negotiation is the main principle, we should proceed from in order to resume the dialog, which is needed for all of us badly. We hope that position of head of our state was heard. In any case the opinions that were voiced by representatives of the Russian Federation – the guarantor state, and representatives of the OSCE – intermediary during negotiation process, and our European colleagues, inspire me with big portion of optimism. We will endeavour for next meeting in 5+2 format in Dublin to bring positive results in this direction. We must move forward and not get stuck on procedural issues.

Question: Tell us in more detail about the meeting in Dublin, which is to be held at the end of February. The agenda of the meeting already exists. What will the sides talk about in Irish capital?

Initially there will be hard working on concordance of procedures. We expect that a serious talk will be dedicated to discussion of system of guarantees in negotiation process. As is known, there exist large number of arrangements, which are not executed and not realized today, in spite of the fact, that they are signed by both Moldavian and Pridnestrovien side, guarantors and intermediaries. These documents are not implemented or denounced, nobody refused from them, but in fact they do not work. But there are documents that are topical today. In Dublin we would like to accentuate the attention of our partners on this issue, besides we would like all participants of settlement process to treat the problem of guarantees of execution of achieved agreements more serious. Besides, we hope, that we will succeed in filling the agenda of the meetings in 5+2 format with social and economical issues and issues, which concern humanitarian cooperation. Today we have reached consent on the resumption of activity of working and expert groups. I think, they will give enough “food” for diplomatic activity. We will hope that concrete problems, which disturb each person, will be solved in the framework of negotiation.

Question: This week Evgeniy Shevchuk and you met with colleagues from the European Union; it is not a secret, that observers in 5+2 format lay claim to change of their status and expansion of their powers. Is it possible?

 It is not quite so. During recent communication with European colleagues it became absolutely evident for me, that they do not lay claim to change of their actual status in negotiation process, only expansion of powers, given to observers, was mentioned. Though, I did not hear about such desires from the representatives of the USA. But representative of the European Union Mr. Lajcak, who recently made a visit to Pridnestrovie, expressed a desire to expand powers, stipulated today for the EU and for the USA.

Our position is the following: today it is not reasonable to transform in any way 5+2 negotiation format. During more than five years of recess in activity of this format, its' participants had to make serious efforts in order to stabilize it. If we will try to change something now, I am afraid, that it will open Pandora's box. It is no need to do it today, we will insist on stabilization of established format in order to bring certain results.

Question: on January 12, Yevgeny Shevchuk made a working trip to Kiev where he met with Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine Konstantin Grishchenko. There is an opinion that Ukraine is intent to become more active in the Moldova-Pridnestrovie settlement.  Is it so?

We would like Ukraine to play a more active role in the process of the Moldova-Pridnestrovie relations normalization. It is natural since Ukraine is a guarantor country in the settlement, it is a country which borders with us directly, it is our neighbour.

It is known that fairly complicated customs regime is operating on the Pridnestrovien-Ukrainian border. And in the course of the meetings in Kiev the head of our state touched upon the question of its optimization. So far we shall admit that this question requires further work. To us it is especially important since it is directly connected with carrying out of foreign economic activity by our economic entities. Many of them are currently in extremely complex situation.

We are going to develop cooperation with Ukraine. We hope that in Kiev one takes into account current realities and will attentively refer to those problems which exist here in economy. We consider Ukraine as a partner that can have a significant influence on the well-being of the Pridnestrovien economy.

Question: From the first day of this year after the incident on the peacekeeping post number nine, situation in the Security Zone has aggravated, though even without this it was rather tense. Moldovan side demands the peacekeeping format to be changed, and yesterday's sitting of the JCC was simply disrupted by the Moldovan delegation. What do you think, how the situation shall be stabilized?

Peacekeeping mission which is today implemented by efforts of Ukraine, Russia, Moldova and Pridnestrovie on the banks of the Dniester is very important for Pridnestrovie. This mechanism is unique in its success and has no analogues in the post-soviet space. Hereby it is important to emphasize that in the framework of the peacekeeping mission efforts of not only external actors but also of the conflicting parties are combined. This format has proved its efficiency. In essence, it has become the only real guarantee of peace and security. No other guaranties have been worked out over 20 years.

The head of our state in the course of the meetings with international partners, inter alia, during recent meeting with ambassador of Russia, laid special emphasis on the fact that the change of the current format of the peacekeeping operation is inadmissible for Pridnestrovie.

Today, in Moldovan and some other foreign mass media one can read many interesting things regarding the change or even elimination of the peacekeeping mechanism. However, our opponents should take into account that the principle of synchronization of withdrawal of the peacekeepers from the region with the process of settlement was laid in OSCE documents as far back as in 1993. It means armed peacekeeping forces can be withdrawn from the region only when the conflict is settled by peaceful political means. This provision was embodied in the course of entire process of normalization of relations with Kishinev. This provision was fixed in the Joint Statement by the heads of states of Ukraine and Russia in 2010, as well as in the course of the tripartite meeting of the heads of states of Pridnestrovie, Russia and Moldova in 2009. Therefore, we consider acting format to be inviolable till the conflict is completely resolved, till formula of a peaceful political settlement is found.

We consider it to be unacceptable to speak today about transformation of the peacekeeping format in the framework of the 5+2 negotiation format as it is required by some Moldovan politicians. Let me remind you that Bratislava document which sets procedures in the framework of this negotiation format does not imply that its participants have such powers. For discussion of issues arising in the course of implementation of the peacekeeping format, there is another international platform which is the Joint Control Commission.

We hope that we will manage to come to an agreement on this issue.