Archive for March 7th, 2013


A new twist in the tale of the Transnistria frozen conflict

March 7, 2013

Not so very long ago, 11th February to be exact, I wrote about the 5 + 2 talks occurring in Lviv relating to the Transnistria-Moldova frozen conflict, somewhat wisely adding a caveat about whether or not the Moldavian government would hold together.

By 17th February, it had become clear that it would not, and I went on to describe some diplomatic shenanigans that were under way by Russia in relation to a consulate from Transinistra – something likely to only further complicate matters – as well as undermine a Ukrainian chairmanship OSCE headline issue.

Now, the pro-EU Moldavian coalition government has officially fallen – as was clear it had (unofficially) when I wrote on 17th February.

What chance for the next 5+2 meeting in Odessa in May?

It seems there is now yet another possible twist to this diplomatic manipulation by Russia.

Whereas previously, opening a consul actually on Transnistrian soil had been pooh-poohed and a very clever alternative had been organised by the Russians to use Transnistrian property in the Moldavian capital to act as a consulate on “Transnistrian soil”  – it now seems that Russia may be able to return to Plan A and open a consulate within the Transnistrian region itself if it is prepared to remove its troops from the region – with the blessing of the Moldavian President.

Naturally this would demilitarize the issue – but it has to be said, could make the politicisation of the issue far more difficult to navigate in the future.  It may be seen as something more than de facto – if not strictly de jure – recognition of Transnistria by Russia – something it (and no other nation) has done previously.

It seems that the EU-EaP Vilnius Summit in November is looking quite likely to be something of a major anti-climax for the EU – where none of the 6 EaP nations will have achieved anything like what the EU expects if it is to sign anything.  In fact, there must be an ever increasing chance that the summit could turn into a disaster.

Difficult days, weeks and months ahead for the  EEAS and European Commission ahead if it is to salvage anything from the EaP nations by November it seems!

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