1 Mar 2024 20:10

Moscow urges Chisinau to resume 5+2 talks on Transdniestria settlement - Lavrov

ANTALYA. March 1 (Interfax) - In light of an appeal from Transdniestria, Russia calls on the Moldovan leadership to resume negotiations in the 5+2 format, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said.

"We have already responded by calling on the Chisinau regime led by Romanian citizens, who don't even hide that they want to attach Moldova to Romania, to stop blocking the negotiating process," Lavrov said at the Antalya Diplomacy Forum on Friday.

The 5+2 international format allowed for considering Transdniestria's interests in the context of preserving Moldova's territorial integrity, Lavrov said.

"And the Romanian leadership in Chisinau is trying to ruin this format," he said.

Asked what Russia could do to make sure that Transdniestria's appeal does not fuel tensions in the region, Lavrov replied, "This question should be addressed to those who prompted this statement by the Transdniestrian parliament, primarily the regime that has settled in Chisinau, which is following precisely in the footsteps of the Kiev regime by cancelling everything Russian."

The Moldovan authorities, "along with Ukrainians, are putting serious economic pressure on Transdniestria," he said.

The congress of deputies of all levels in the unrecognized Transdniestrian Moldovan Republic on February 28 adopted an appeal to the Russian Federation Council and the State Duma to take measures to protect Transdniestria amid pressure from the Moldovan leadership, "taking into account the fact that over 220,000 Russian citizens permanently live in the region and the unique positive record of Russian peacekeeping activities in the Dniester area, as well as its [Russia's] status as a guarantor and mediator in the negotiating process".

The congress delegates accused Moldova of "waging economic war against Transdniestria and intentionally creating preconditions for a multimillion budget deficit".

The 5+2 negotiating format, which involved Moldova, Transdniestria, Russia, Ukraine, and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), plus the European Union and the United States as observers, has not functioned for over five years. The last meeting in this format took place at the end of 2019 and did not produce any results. Transdniestrian leader Vadim Krasnoselsky spoke in favor of resuming talks in the 5+2 format at the end of October 2023, although he admitted that "the geopolitical situation is not conducive to that." Immediately afterwards, Moldovan parliamentary Chairman Igor Grosu said the 5+2 format was nonexistent and could not be revived in the context of the Transdniestrian settlement process. Ukraine said in mid-December 2023 that it would not be part of 5+2 talks on Transdniestria because of Russia's presence.

A meeting between negotiators from Chisinau and Tiraspol at the office of the OSCE Mission in Tiraspol at the end of January 2024 was attended by diplomats from all parties to the 5+2 format.