Tuesday, May 25, 2010

OSCE Chairperson calls for restart of official 5+2 talks on Transdniestrian conflict

A "5 + 2" meeting on the Transdniestrian settlement process was held in Astana at the invitation of the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office, Kazakhstan's Secretary of State and Foreign Minister Kanat Saudabayev.

The meeting brought together the 5+2, which includes the sides, the Republic of Moldova and Transdniestria, the mediators - Russian Federation, Ukraine and the OSCE - and the United States and the European Union as observers. The meeting was agreed in April during Saudabayev's visit to Chisinau and Tiraspol.

"The settlement of protracted conflicts, including the conflict in Transdniestria, is an important priority of the Kazakh OSCE Chairmanship. We believe that a real settlement of the conflict in Transdniestria can only be reached through peaceful and political means, taking into consideration the interests of all parties," said Saudabayev at the start of the talks.

"For Kazakhstan, a settlement formula relies on the principle of respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Moldova, while granting Transdniestria a proper status, as well as respect for the political, economic and humanitarian rights of the region's residents."

The meeting participants noted that there had been elements of progress in solving practical matters between Chisinau and Tiraspol. Meetings between political representatives of the parties are now conducted on a regular basis. Joint Expert Groups on Confidence Building Measures are working and there are already concrete results, in particular in the field of public health.

Among the topics discussed in Astana were proposals made by the two parties to establish guarantees in the conflict settlement process, as well as freedom of movement. The 5+2 agreed to meet informally in Vienna in July.

Since 2006, the conflict settlement process has been taking place in an informal format, and Saudabayev emphasized that it was critical to restart formal 5+2 talks and address the political aspects of the settlement process.

"We believe it is important that informal meetings become formal talks," he said.

Saudabayev said that the Kazakh Chairmanship welcomed the recent joint declaration issued by the Presidents of the Russian Federation and Ukraine on the Transdniestria settlement process. He also noted the key importance of the co-operation with observers, the United States and the European Union, in the settlement process.

"We are in full agreement with calls to Moldova and Transdniestria to refrain from unilateral actions which could complicate the situation in the region and the prospects for a settlement," said Saudabayev. "The settlement process is a key factor for the development of democracy and prosperity in the region."

Source: OSCE. Published in Astana on 24 May 2010

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