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Minister Creighton calls for further progress in Transdniestrian conflict negotiations

Security, Press Releases, Europe, 2012

CHISINAU, 20 September 2012 - Minister for European Affairs, Lucinda Creighton, TD,  is visiting Moldova today where she emphasized the need to maintain momentum in the negotiations on a political settlement of the Transdniestrian conflict.

In Chisinau she met Moldova’s President Nicolae Timofti, Prime Minister Vlad Filat, Deputy Prime Minister for Reintegration Eugene Carpov and Minister of Foreign Affairs and European Integration Iurie Leanca. Today she also traveled to Tiraspol to meet Transdniestrian chief negotiator Nina Shtanski.

The Minister said:

“I am encouraged by the progress we have seen this year, notably the agreement on the principles and procedures for the conduct of negotiations and on the agenda for the process. I have seen some positive developments on the ground as well, including the re-opening of rail freight traffic through Transdniestria and the disposal of radioactive waste.

Welcoming the recent agreement to intensify dialogue on human rights issues as well as to establish a joint forum for dialogue with civil society and media from both sides, Minister Creighton underlined that these achievements were possible thanks to the sides’ political will and positive approach towards reaching a consensus.

The Minister said:

“With this positive and constructive approach there could also be progress on issues concerning freedom of movement and resolution of problems facing Moldovan-administered schools in Transnistria,” she said. “In both my roles representing the OSCE Chairmanship and the incoming EU Presidency I urge the sides to agree on the reopening of the Gura Bicului bridge for vehicle traffic. This bridge was renovated by the EU more than 10 years ago and it is high time that this important connection between both banks of the river is restored.”

During her visit Minster Creighton stressed the important work done by the OSCE Mission to Moldova in facilitating the negotiations in the 5+2 format and building confidence between the sides.

Note for editors:

The 5+2 process towards a Transdniestrian settlement includes the representatives of the sides, mediators and observers in the negotiation process – Moldova, Transdniestria, the OSCE, the Russian Federation, Ukraine, the US and the EU.

The Transdniestrian conflict dates back to 1990 when separatists declared the region independent from Moldova.  In spring 1992 the conflict between the Transdniestrian authorities and the central government in Chisinau escalated, resulting in several hundred casualties and more than 100,000 refugees.  A ceasefire was agreed in July 1992 and the parties committed themselves to negotiate a settlement to the conflict.  Most of the refugees returned home.  Since 1993, the OSCE has supported efforts to find a comprehensive, durable and peaceful solution to the conflict.  The talks on a settlement comprised the sides to the conflict - Moldova and Transdniestria and the OSCE, Russian Federation and Ukraine as mediators.  In 2005 the EU and USA joined the process as observers and the format became known as the “5+2”.  The official “5+2” negotiations were suspended in February 2006, and were resumed only in November 2011. Under Ireland's Chairmanship in 2012, three meetings have taken place to date and some progress has been achieved.