Moldova And Transnistria Another Step Closer to Reconciliation
24 April, 2018

The self-proclaimed Transnistrian Moldovan Republic and Moldova take another step towards reconciliation. The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) has reported that another agreement from the “package of eight” – the eight agreements identified as key by Chisinau and Tiraspol in Spring 2017 – has been signed by the two sides today.

This agreement makes Transnistrian license plates recognized internationally so that the citizens of unrecognized Transnistria will be able to use their cars abroad. Previously, only Russia, Belarus, and Ukraine – along with the two unrecognized Georgian republics, Abkhazia and South Ossetia – recognized their number plates.

“It is a success story for both Chisinau and Tiraspol,” the Head of the OSCE Mission to Moldova Ambassador Michael Scanlan was quoted as saying by the OSCE website. “When the joint implementation of the new mechanism begins this September, the trust between the Sides will deepen even further.”

Photo credit: Dmytro Rusanov/HROMADSKE

The unrecognized republic of Transnistria wrenched free of Moldova in the early 1990s and has been locked in a so-called “frozen conflict” with the country since 1992 when a ceasefire ended two years of fighting between Russian-backed Transnistrian forces and the Moldovan army. Since then, Transnistria has not been recognized by any state in the world. The 5+2 format was invented to resolve the status issue. The talks within this format include mediators and observers from the OSCE, Russia, Ukraine, the US, and the EU, as well as representatives from the two sides: Moldova and Transnistria.

READ MORE: Moldova And Transnistria Take Small Steps Towards Special Status

According to the OSCE, the license plate agreement’s implementation will “bring benefits to the lives of people on both banks of the Dniester River and advance the Transnistrian Settlement Process within the parameters of the agreed end state endorsed by all 57 OSCE participating States.”

“As output has now been achieved, Special Representative [Franco] Frattini will convene a “5+2” meeting at the end of May in Rome,” the statement on the OSCE website reads.

In November, Chisinau and Tiraspol signed the first five agreements of the eight, which, among other things, saw the bridge across the Dniester River finally coming into use this year. The bridge, which runs from the Gur-Bikului village on the Moldovan side to the Bychok village in Transnistria, was destroyed in 1992 during the military conflict. And despite it being rebuilt at the beginning of the 2000s, it continued to stand unused until now.

READ MORE: Window For Transnistria Breakthrough Opens

A week ago, Moldovan President Igor Dodon told Belarusian news service BelTa that a political settlement, which would unite the country, will only be possible after the parliamentary elections in Autumn this year as that would allow Chisinau to decide on a “single pro-state and pro-Moldova position” in this regard.

“Then the dialogue will become possible,” Dodon said.

It has also been reported by some media outlets that Dodon and the so-called president of Transnistria Vadim Krasnoselskiy are scheduled to meet tomorrow.