Ambassador Meier-Klodt travelled to Moldova from 15 to 17 February for his first official visit as Special Representative of the OSCE Chairperson in Office for the Transdniestrian Settlement Process. The talks with high-ranking government representatives in the Moldovan capital Chișinău and with the Transdniestrian leadership in Tiraspol aimed to sound out scope for progress in the cooperation between both banks of the Dniester River and the resumption of the official 5+2 process to resolve the conflict. Both Chișinău and Tiraspol reaffirmed their willingness to explore constructive opportunities this year for injecting fresh impetus into efforts to resolve the conflict.
Reviving the 5+2 process
The OSCE Special Representative had, prior to his visit, travelled to Moscow, Kyiv, Washington and Brussels, the capital cities of the 5+2 process partners. In Chișinău, Meier-Klodt met a series of leading government representatives, including Prime Minister Filip, Minister of Foreign Affairs Galbur, Deputy Prime Minister Balan, Deputy Minister of Economy Calmîc and Speaker of the Parliament Candu. In Tiraspol, he then held talks with the Transdniestrian leadership, including Yevgeny Shevchuk and chief negotiator Ignatiev.
At the talks, all sides welcomed the approach of working towards achieving tangible successes in practical areas of life as part of a first step. These include, above all, implementing the agreed trade facilitation measures and supporting a phase model in the border regime for telecommunications, transport and language promotion.
Positive reaction to roadmap
The Special Representative’s proposals for a political roadmap for the coming months were welcomed by the dialogue partners. A trip to the region in the 3+2 format (Russia, Ukraine and the OSCE, as well as the USA and European Union) has been scheduled for early April in order to prepare the ground for a resumption of the political process.
In order to achieve rapid initial successes in political matters, Meier-Klodt urged first and foremost for the chief negotiators’ direct dialogue to be resumed as soon as possible. Furthermore, he called for a timely revival of the official 5+2 format for its actual political purpose, including status issues and a comprehensive conflict resolution strategy. Meetings in this format have not taken place since June 2014.
Experience shows that practical successes can only be achieved with regular and personal talks between the two sides in all available formats, and by dovetailing such formats in an efficient manner. I have emphatically called for efforts to be made to strengthen these formats and to ensure that all instruments of the conflict resolution process are effectively deployed in a new and constructive spirit. Top-level representatives from both sides have assured me of their willingness to do this. It is now essential for both sides to translate these most encouraging words into appropriate action.