This new approach is conclusive of the total failure of the previous approaches employed in dealing with the Transdnistrian conflict, or at best of their need of improvement. Indeed, there is only one document agreeable to Tiraspol leaders, namely the Memorandum signed in 1997, providing for the establishment of a single state by two equal subjects. This document was developed by the current pentagonal negotiation mechanism and was endorsed by Russia, Ukraine and OSCE. The draft on Republic of Moldova federalization was developed within the same framework and looks more like a draft Constitution of a federative state.
On the one hand, 1997 Memorandum is a very general document, in contrast the Kiev draft is more detailed. The strange thing is that nobody remembers now about the draft, moreover the parties involved in the conflict, engaged in developing a new federative Constitution without having an agreement in principle regarding the draft released in Kiev. Despite the general understanding that it was practically impossible to develop a Constitution without having first an agreement in principle over the structure of the future state, it was preferred to concentrate on details. It took almost a year of international seminars under the aegis of OSCE to reach this conclusion.
Apparently, the new initiative to develop a political Agreement has no chances of success. Normally, we should firstly answer the question “What shall we do with 1997 Memorandum and Kiev draft?” Transdnistria and Russia claim that the current negotiation format as well the documents already developed are acceptable and need no changes. Although committed to settle the conflict, Republic of Moldova leadership refrains from taking a clear stance, instead resorting to maneuvers and appealing to international institutions. There are a number of reasons for such a tactics, however the most important is the Basic Treaty Republic of Moldova signed with Russian Federation, entitling the latter to protect Transdnistrian regime in legal terms.
Consequently, it comes as no surprise that the ruling party rejected the discussion of an opposition Popular Party Christian Democratic (PPCD) draft statement on the failure of Russia to remove its troops from the Transdniester region. Communists, in the person of the Parliament Chair, Mrs. Ostapciuc, justified their decision by the fact that the motion procedures were not observed. On the other hand, the head of the Communist faction in Parliament, Victor Stepaniuc, who several years ago openly militated for examining the possibility of allowing Russian military basis in Transdnistria, justified the refusal to examine Christian-Democrats initiative by the Republic of Moldova’s unwillingness to further complicate its foreign relations. Consequently, non-compliance with the motion procedures wasn’t the real reason for rejection.
The funny thing is that Christian-Democrats’ initiative was nothing but a sequel to the appeal to OSCE member-states to pressure Russia to comply with the decisions of the Istanbul and Porto OSCE Summits and withdraw its troops from Transdnistria by the end of 2002 and 2003 respectively. The ruling party rejected the initiative at the very time President Voronin publicly stated that at the next OSCE Summit in Maastricht Russia would have to report on the measures taken to enforce the aforesaid decisions. To put it differently, Republic of Moldova would like Russia to be pressured, however it does not want to be the target of its anger.
Meanwhile, the Chief of OSCE Mission to the Republic of Moldova, William Hill, indicated that “Russia would not be able to evacuate its munititions from Transdnistria within the set deadlines”.
Technical and financial reasons are cited. These reasons seem to be true, however from a totally different perspective. Transdnistria demands its main supporter, Russia, to pay a reward for the permission to withdraw its own munitions from the Republic of Moldova. There is no doubt that the “financial litigation” between Russia and Transdnistria could go on forever under the Moldovan-Russian Basic Treaty. This fact does no good to the OSCE overall image, as it would have to extend for the third time the deadline for evacuating Russian munitions from the Republic of Moldova.