Nina Shtanski, “We have charged negotiating space with socio-economic content, and our task today is to concentrate on solution of practical issues”

Nina Shtanski, “We have charged negotiating space with socio-economic content, and our task today is to concentrate on solution of practical issues”

Today, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the PMR Nina Shtanski answered the questions of Pridnestrovian journalists relating to results of recent Vienna round of consultations in the 5+2 format.

As Head of foreign office marked, the signing of a number of documents regulating principles and procedures of the negotiation process within the Permanent Conference are main results of this round of consultations. They were posted on official web-site of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the PMR on the day of their signing. Public representatives had opportunity to familiarize themselves thoroughly with them. Nina Shtanski emphasized openness of the ongoing foreign political course and willingness to discuss emerging questions, with expert community including.

In the course of the dialogue journalists asked to comment on harsh evaluations which were given to the signed documents because of the so-called third basket in the agenda of negotiations which consists of political matters and security issues.

Nina Shtanski told that such evaluations are largely caused by insufficient knowledge of the developed normative-legal base of the functioning negotiation mechanism. The Minister recalled that Permanent Conference as an advisory format was created in 2002 with direct participation of Russian diplomacy. “At that time negotiations at a higher level could not continue and this was a compromising variant, a way out from a deadlock,” the diplomat noted. She said that the first document to regulate the work of the Permanent Conference was Protocol on Organization of the Negotiating Process on the Pridnestrovian Settlement, which among other goals and objectives of a new mechanism specifies “the working out, coordination and record of specific parameters of the Final Document on a comprehensive resolution of the Pridnestrovian problem in the form of written agreements to be reported to the political leadership of the Sides for approval”. Presently, participants of the 5+2 format as well as five years ago understand goals of their work. “We perhaps would like these goals to be somewhat transformed but one will of the Pridnestrovian side is not enough for this. It's a collegial body, and work there is carried out in a constructive way,” the Minister stressed. At the same time, as Nina Shtanski told, Pridnestrovian diplomacy managed at the present stage to move issues of socio-economic character to the forefront. “We were heard: neither issues relating to status of Pridnestrovie, nor issues of peacekeeping operation are discussed in this format. We have charged negotiating space with socio-economic content, and our task today is to concentrate on solution of practical issues,” the Minister underlined.

Touching upon furtherance of the small steps tactics, Nina Shtanski also noted importance of preservation of existing dynamics in cooperation with Moldova. “We proceed from the fact that negotiation process should represent a stage-by-stage process, since previously the sides used to discuss political points, couldn't reach consensus which lead to cessation of negotiations. To step on old rake would be reckless. That's why there is need to stop on solution of practical issues at the present stage. The sides should prove each other their ability to negotiate; they should show that they are able to fulfill what they have agreed upon. This will help create climate of trust. It will be clear for politicians, diplomats and citizen to what extent this construction will stand fast in case it has real foundation at all. And only afterwards one will be able to move to consideration of more complicated issues such as those relating to human rights and general legal issues. This will be the next stage of settlement process. Only after this we will be able to start discussions of a comprehensive settlement, which was the purpose of establishing the Permanent Conference in 2002,” the Minister explained.

Nina Shtanski noted that not all the participants of the 5+2 format share Pridnestrovian point of view. But, taking into consideration that such approach is optimal for Tiraspol, Pridnestrovian diplomats managed to secure support from the other participants of the settlement process.

Minister also pointed out that so-called third basket remains empty at the present moment. “The agenda which is agreed upon does not allow Sides to submit issues from the third basket for consideration during the meetings”, ­– she noted. Nina Shtanski also underlined that issues within separate baskets can be discussed in arbitrary order, but this is not applicable for the baskets themselves. Until issues of the first basket are not solved participants will not begin to discuss issues from the second one.

Minister called reaching consensus on these issues to be a very important achievement of the negotiation process. “For the last six years it is the first document which is signed by all five participants of the 5+2 format. It is the first document which reflects total consent of all the participants”, – Minister noted while demonstrating original of the Protocol of the Permanent Conference of July 13, 2012.

Touching upon the issue of video-briefing organized by the OSCE office in Kishinev, Nina Shtanski expressed her support to this new format of contact with journalists. “To our opinion this is the safety net for the work we are doing. We remember that during the last round of negotiations we coordinate, though with great difficulties, the principle of equality of the sides and principle according to which agreements are to be carried out. As soon as representatives of the sides returned home, statements of certain Moldovan representatives appeared in Mass Media in which they stated that some other things have been agreed upon. So we got the situation when we have one thing written in black and white which is read differently in Moldova and in Pridnestrovie. It made us to ask for explanations from the Moldovan side. We received a letter from political representative Karpov. We found his explanations to be entirely acceptable. But, nevertheless, this situation complicated ratification of the already agreed document. Pridnestrovian side could not just sign the text of the document – it was no longer acceptable. It was necessary for us to make sure that all the participants of the negotiation process understand equality principle in similar way. Due to this we discussed the content of the protocol for a quite long period of time”, – Minister told. She noted that Pridnestrovian side had to double equality principle in text, to confirm current status of each participant and only after that to recognize agenda of the negotiations and the document on principles and procedures as legally binding for participants of negotiations. “Much time was lost due to different interpretations made unilaterally. Because of that Pridnestrovie and the OSCE proposed the sides to tell about the results of the work mutually after each round. This would make it clear to understand whether the sides reached the same results or not. Such format stabilizes our work”, – Nina Shtanski pointed out.

While communicating with the journalists diplomat also told how discussion on the issues of the social and economic basket connected with free transportation of people, goods and services, mutual recognition of documents took place. She noted that reports about current state of affairs in each sphere made by the sides became an innovation of the last round. Another positive result of the round, according to Nina Shtanski, was will of Russia and Ukraine to participate in dealing with the existing problems at the level of expert groups.

Nina Shtanski answered other questions of the journalists during the dialogue as well.