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Date: Sep 10, 2017 (00:29)

Political will is key to advance the negotiation process, says OSCE Special Representative for the Transdniestrian Settlement Process

The Special Representative of the Austrian OSCE Chairperson-in-Office for the Transdniestrian Settlement Process, Ambassador Wolf Dietrich Heim, concluded today his fifth visit to the region.

In Chisinau, Ambassador Heim met with Moldova’s Deputy Prime Minister for Reintegration and Chief Negotiator Gheorghe Balan and Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and European Integration Lilian Darii. In Tiraspol, Heim met with Transdniestrian Chief Negotiator Vitaly Ignatiev. He also facilitated a 1+1 meeting of the Chief Negotiators in Bender, and met the resident Ambassadors of the 5+2 Mediators and Observers.

In his discussions with Deputy Foreign Minister Lilian Darii, the Special Representative reiterated that the OSCE Mission and Institutions under the Austrian Chairmanship will continue to help Moldova promote an inclusive, tolerant and resilient society through the implementation of the national strategy for the consolidation of interethnic relations, strengthening the functionality of the Autonomous Territorial Unit of Gagauzia, and promoting the commemoration and study of the Holocaust in Moldova.

During his meetings with the chief negotiators in Chisinau and Tiraspol, and in today’s meeting in Bender, the Special Representative discussed ways to advance the settlement process. He was briefed by the Sides on the political decisions they were respectively ready to take to reach agreements within the so-called “package of eight”, as in many areas the technical issues have been worked out by the Working Groups. The package of eight includes four outstanding agreements contained in the June 2016 Berlin Protocol, plus the issues of the Latin-script schools, the Dubasari farmland, freedom of movement for people, goods and services, and the Gura Bicului-Bychok bridge.

“The political will expressed at my meetings in Chisinau and Tiraspol gives me hope that the Sides are ready to undertake measures to unlock the benefits of some aspects of the package of eight that they themselves have defined as their priorities,” Heim said. “We value the voiced political will and encourage the Sides to follow through on it, thus giving an impetus to the negotiations at all levels of the settlement process and helping to achieve progress for the benefit of people on both banks of the Dniester/Nistru.”

The Special Representative’s meeting with the resident Ambassadors of the Mediators (the Russian Federation and Ukraine) and Observers (the European Union and the United States) in the 5+2 talks was hosted by the Head of the OSCE Mission to Moldova, Ambassador Michael Scanlan, in Chisinau. Ambassador Scanlan praised the international partners’ unwavering commitment and co-ordinated efforts to help the Sides embrace the opportunities created as a result of the hard work of the Working Groups under the leadership of the Chief Negotiators and to move forward on agreements within the package of eight.

Talks in the 5+2 format include the representatives of the sides, mediators and observers – Moldova, Transdniestria, the OSCE, the Russian Federation, Ukraine, the United States and the European Union. The goal of the 5+2 format is to work out the parameters of the comprehensive settlement based on the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Republic of Moldova within its internationally recognized borders, with a special status for Transdniestria, as reconfirmed by all 57 OSCE participating States in the Ministerial Council Statement agreed in Hamburg on 9 December 2016.