OSCE hosts meeting of Moldovan and Transdniestrian leaders

The Chairperson-in-Office, Lithuanian Foreign Minister Audrionus A┼żubalis, opened a bilateral meeting between the leaders of the sides in the Transdniestrian conflict - Prime Minister Vlad Filat of Moldova and Transdniestrian leader Igor Smirnov – in the German town of Bad Reichenhall today.

The meeting took place on the margins of an 8 to 9 September conference on wider confidence-building organized by the OSCE Mission to Moldova with the sponsorship of the Government of Germany and the Lithuanian OSCE Chairmanship.

“I believe that today’s meeting and the conference will be a direct stepping stone towards renewing official negotiations in the ‘5+2’ format, which have been stalled since 2006,” said Foreign Minister A┼żubalis. “We hope that the sides will announce a renewal of official negotiations when they meet again in Moscow later this month.”

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The conference brought together leaders of the joint working groups between the sides in an effort to give a new impulse to confidence-building measures in the security, social and economic fields. Experts with experience in resolving different conflicts shared their knowledge of ways of resolving practical problems faced by populations involved in frozen conflicts.

“It is important to de-politicize issues and resolve them with an emphasis on people,” said Ambassador Philip Remler, the Head of the OSCE Mission to Moldova.  “Resolving issues together helps create a climate of trust and leads to greater long-term investment in a solution.”

The “5+2” format consists of the sides plus mediators and observers representing the OSCE, Russian Federation, Ukraine, the US, and the EU. Official negotiations were broken off in 2006. Informal talks have continued under the OSCE aegis aimed at renewing the official negotiating process, a continuing endeavour of the Lithuanian OSCE Chairmanship.