28 Nov 2017 17:12

OSCE sees tangible progress in Transdniestrian settlement

CHISINAU. Nov 28 (Interfax) - The recent agreements between Chisinau and the unrecognized Transdniestrian Moldovan Republic, including the one to open for traffic a bridge destroyed 25 years ago and rebuilt in 2000, are signs of constructive interaction between the conflicting sides, the OSCE said in a statement.

A two-day round of the official Transdniestrian settlement talks in the 5+2 format (Moldova, Transdniestria, Russia, Ukraine, and the OSCE, as well as observers from the United States and the EU) began in Vienna on Monday.

OSCE Secretary General Thomas Greminger and OSCE Chairperson-in-Office and Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz welcomed the tangible progress in the Transdniestrian settlement process on Monday, the OSCE Mission to Moldova said in a statement on Tuesday.

"Following the decision to open the Gura Bicului-Bychok Bridge across the Dniester/Nistru River and its swift implementation, we are seeing significant progress in the negotiations for the first time in more than a decade," Kurz said. "We welcome this constructive engagement and believe the other economic and social issues - which have been discussed for many years - can be solved swiftly," he said.

He said that there are "wide political and economic benefits of the recent developments for Moldova and the Black Sea region as a whole," the OSCE's statement said.

"The OSCE Secretary General Greminger joined Kurz in welcoming the outputs achieved by the Sides in the last two weeks that will advance the Settlement Process," it said.

"The recent progress provides momentum and a positive impulse for the OSCE as a whole. As well as delivering positive change to local populations, the progress made is of significance to the whole OSCE area. Positive developments reflecting progress in Moldova are good for the OSCE and all its participating States," Greminger said.

Kurz and Greminger noted that "OSCE efforts and the will of the political leaderships, chief negotiators and concerted collective efforts of the international partners in the 5+2 format have produced tangible results," the statement said. They also called for the "speedy implementation of the social and economic issues which have been agreed."

These 5+2 talks are the first official negotiations held since April 2014, though participating countries held a number of informal meetings in the interim.

The negotiations address problems in relations between Chisinau and Tiraspol and the implementation of the Berlin Plus package, which includes four problems highlighted by each side. The talks are taking place amid increasing dialogue between the two banks of the Dniester River and the solution of several problems earlier included in the package.