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News 29 Nov 17

OSCE Claims Some Progress in Transnistria Talks

Moldova and its breakaway region made modest progress in talks held in Vienna – but only on the less contentious issues of educational diplomas and telecommunications.

Madalin Necsutu
BIRN
Chisinau
Participants of the Transnistria-Moldova talks in Vienna. Photo: OSCE/Ben Erasin

The OSCE representative to the talks on Transnistria, Wolf Dietrich Heim, on Tuesday said Moldova and its breakaway region had made some progress in talks on conflict resolution in Vienna.

Heim said agreements had been reached in two out of eight points of the so-called “Berlin plus” package, which formed the main agenda for the talks.

Neither touched on the status of the region, which broke away from Moldova with Russian aid when Moldova broke away from the dissolving Soviet Union.

“The first point is the certification of university diplomas of the University in Tiraspol,” Heim said, adding that this would result in “academic mobility for graduates from the University of Tiraspol beyond Transnistria” in pursuing their studies in other parts of Europe.

The other agreement concerned telecommunication, easing mobile communication and landline telecommunications between Moldova and Transnistria.

Earlier, on November 25, political representatives from Chisinau and Tiraspol in the Moldovan town of Tighina signed four protocol decisions on the work of Latin-script schools in Transnistria and on the certification of the education documents from Transnistria by the authorities in Chisinau. Other signed decisions regulate disputes over farmlands in the divided region of Dubasari.

Moldova’s Deputy Prime Minister Gheorghe Balan said he was keen for discussions on purely economic and social issues to move ahead and include the more sensitive political questions of Transnistria’s future status – an issue that Tiraspol has avoided so far.

“We are convinced that, after the resolution of the measures we have mentioned, we will step towards the main subject to be discussed, I am referring to the elaboration of special legal status for the Transnistrian region,” he said.

Transnistria’s chief of diplomacy, Vitaly Ignatiev, meanwhile said Tiraspol wanted also to see a deal on registration of Transnistrian cars in Moldova. Cars registered by the unrecognized authorities in Tiraspol cannot currently travel outside Moldova.

Both sides agreed to open a new round of negotiations in February 2018.

The “Berlin plus” package refers to a series of issues regarding access to agricultural land, the situation of Latin-script schools, the circulation of registered vehicles in Transnistria, and infrastructural issues.

Besides representatives of Moldova and Transnistria, the talks are being conducted with the participation of the OSCE, Russia, Ukraine, as well as the US and the EU.

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