Ms. Ann Robertson,
Eurasia Daily Monitor
The Jamestown Foundation
Dear Ms. Robertson:
In two recent articles in the Jamestown “Monitor,” as in numerous other interviews and comments, Vladimir Socor has totally misrepresented the position and activities of the OSCE in general and the OSCE Mission in Moldova in particular with respect to the pursuit of a political settlement of the Transdniestrian question.
First of all, Mr. Socor’s claim on July 14 that the so-called “Kozak Plan” is reemerging under OSCE urging is a total invention. His claim that I have urged such a course is an even more outrageous fabrication, as is his characterization of events at the 2003 OSCE Ministerial Meeting in Maastricht. There was no effort at Maastricht to combine Kozak and OSCE proposals, nor did the Ministerial Meeting “collapse” over the issue.
The OSCE position is on the record, as Mr. Socor should know, but unfortunately there seems to be a need to set the record straight. The OSCE proposal on the table since early 2004 originated with the Dutch OSCE Chairmanship and the Mission to Moldova. It neither originated nor was inspired by Russia, but the proposal was negotiated with representatives of Ukraine and the Russian Federation in Zagreb and Kiev in September-October 2003. This document is available via the internet on the OSCE website under the title “Proposals and Recommendations of the Three Mediators.” The Republic of Moldova formally endorsed this proposal, generally referred to as the “Mediators’ Document,” in June 2004. I totally reject Mr. Socor’s characterization of this document and urge interested readers to judge its contents for themselves.
The OSCE neither participated in the negotiation nor endorsed the contents of the so-called “Kozak Memorandum.” The Kozak mediation originated in response to a request from Chisinau, and negotiations were conducted between Moldovan, Russian, and Transdniestrian representatives. During autumn 2003 OSCE representatives met more than once with Mr. Kozak and Moldovan representatives to inquire whether the mediation efforts could be combined. The efforts remained separate until November 2003 when both Mr. Kozak and Moldovan authorities requested the OSCE to endorse the completed text of the Memorandum. The OSCE was not able to do so; the official OSCE response can be found in a press statement by then Chairman in Office and Dutch Minister of Foreign Affairs Jaap de Hoop Scheffer. I met personally with Mr. Kozak to explain several of the OSCE’s major criticisms of the document.
After Moldovan rejection of the Kozak Memorandum, the OSCE-initiated “Mediators’ Document” was presented to Moldovan and Transdniestrian representatives in February 2004. Since their endorsement of this document in mid-2004, Moldovan authorities have backed away from a federal solution for the Transdniestrian question, which makes some of the provisions of the Mediators’ Document inoperative. However, I believe the document still contains a useful proposal for a specific division of powers between national authorities in Chisinau and regional authorities in Tiraspol, which could be used in working out a political settlement.
As for the recent visit of OSCE Chairman in Office Rupel to Moscow, discussions obviously included recent developments in the Transdniestrian settlement process, including the Yushchenko Plan, presented at Vinnitsa in May of this year. Russian Federation Foreign Minister Lavrov has referred to the Kozak Memorandum in more than one recent meeting, not just in his conversation with the Chairman in Office. Mr. Rupel’s own press release in Moscow states that “On Moldova, the Chairman in Office called for a renewal of negotiations and cited the possibility of reconciling elements of proposals made by Ukraine and the Russian Federation.” This is hardly an “endorsement of the Kozak Plan,” as Socor would claim.
Mr. Socor also falsely claims that the OSCE intends to obtain a settlement through de facto recognition of the Transdniestrian regime under Russian domination. Every OSCE Head of Mission in Moldova, including me, has firmly and consistently espoused the position that Transdniestria is an integral part of the Republic of Moldova and shall not be recognized as an independent state. Since November 1993 the OSCE has supported the conclusion that a political settlement should be reached by according the Transdniestrian region a special status within a united Republic of Moldova. This is clearly provided for under the current 1994 constitution of the Republic of Moldova. I made a clear statement of these basic principles in a keynote address to an April 2005 conference in Chisinau organized by the German Sudosteuropa Gesellschaft. This address is posted on the OSCE Mission website; interested readers can check it out.
Mr. Socor also distorts and falsifies the content of a massive package of arms control and confidence-building and security measures which representatives of the OSCE, Ukraine, and Russian Federation presented to representatives of the Moldovan government and Transdniestrian administration on July 12. This package was initially drafted by the OSCE Mission and refined and revised over six months by OSCE, Ukrainian, and Russian military experts. The first aim of the package is to create confidence and transparency between the current Moldovan and Transdniestrian military forces, quite large for a country of Moldova’s size and in close proximity. The steps proposed would create conditions to permit disengagement and gradual reduction of these military forces. The eventual goal is a single, united armed force in a united Moldovan state.
Mr. Socor also claims that OSCE says nothing about withdrawal of Russian troops. To the contrary, I personally have had at least five meetings in recent weeks with Transdniestrian and Russian officials at which I have pressed for renewal of movement on the withdrawal of Russian troops and arms from the Transdniestrian region of the Republic of Moldova. Other high OSCE officials continue to press this case. One should keep in mind that since the November 1999 OSCE Istanbul summit, OSCE efforts have facilitated the withdrawal of over 1,300 troops, and the removal or destruction of over 500 heavy weapons and 20,000 tons of ammunition from Moldova. Regrettably the process of withdrawal has been stalled since March 2004, but no more than six months of steady work remains to complete the process entirely.
Mr. Socor also takes a highly biased and inaccurate shot at me and Finnish Parliamentarian Kimmo Kiljunen, long-time Head of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly Group on Moldova, in a July 11 article. This piece claims that Kiljunen and I allegedly railroaded a highly pro-Russian, anti-Moldovan resolution through the OSCE PA’s annual session in Washington DC from July 1-5. As usual with Mr. Socor, the facts are quite to the contrary.
As has been done for the past five years, the OSCE PA Group on Moldova passed to Moldovan parliamentarians on May 23 a draft resolution for proposed adoption at the annual session, and requested Moldovan comments and suggestions. Kiljunen visited Moldova from June 15-17, asked for comments on the draft text, but received none. The Moldovan delegation later submitted two separate, similar, but not identical sets of amendments directly to the OSCE PA Secretariat in Copenhagen. The Moldovan delegation (whose attendance was partially supported by the OSCE Mission to Moldova) arrived shortly before debate on the Moldova resolution was scheduled to begin. I personally witnessed how Kiljunen went to great lengths to obtain consensus on suspending the normal rules of procedure so Moldovan concerns could be discussed and accommodated.
The final text of the resolution includes many but not all of the changes proposed by the Moldovan delegation. This text (as well as the text of the proposed amendments) is available on the internet, so readers can check my claim that Socor’s characterizations of the provisions of the resolution are either false or misleading. Similarly, events during the discussion and voting on the resolution were unfortunate, but nowhere near as dramatic as press accounts – including Mr. Socor’s – would suggest. I personally regret that the unfortunate last minute pressures in Washington prevented continuation of the five years of harmonious work by the OSCE PA Group on Moldova. I hope we will be able to overcome misunderstandings and hard feelings, and restore what has been a helpful channel for cooperative work by parliamentarians.
Finally, leaving aside his factual misrepresentations and ad hominem attacks on OSCE officials, I am troubled by Socor’s advocacy of an approach to achieving a political settlement in Transdniestria that apparently involves a complete rejection of dialogue with anyone in Transdniestria and an exclusively confrontational approach to the Russian Federation. In my view this leads to a dangerous illusion that a political settlement in Transdniestria may be achieved solely through the application of coercion or the use of force. We all should certainly refuse absolutely to compromise on such basic principles as the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Republic of Moldova. We must also insist that agreements such as those reached at the 1999 OSCE Istanbul Summit be implemented fully. However, successful policies must also involve persuasion and realism, or they simply risk increasing the resistance and hostility that they purport to overcome.
For my part, I prefer that I and my colleagues in the OSCE be judged by our actual words and deeds, and not by their misrepresentation by journalists and analysts with their own political agendas.
Head of OSCE Mission to Moldova
Dear Ambassador Hill,
Thank you for your letter regarding my recent articles in the Eurasia Daily Monitor.
Your letter denies the accuracy of the evidence presented and questions my professional integrity. While several of your arguments are highly contestable, I believe they are best understood in their recent political context. Most notable is the collapse of the OSCE Mission’s policy in Moldova in recent months and weeks. Your anger regarding those developments is readily apparent and, to a certain degree, understandable.
In May 2001 you penned a similar letter to the Jamestown Foundation after I reported the de facto reinstatement of political conditionality for a Russian withdrawal from Transnistria despite the terms of the 1999 Istanbul Summit agreements. At that time the Foundation stated that it would report the lifting of synchronization following the discontinuation of that policy. Unfortunately, the OSCE’s 2002 Porto conference attached a similar conditionality to Russia’s troop-withdrawal obligation. Analysis of recent events — including statements by yourself and Russian officials — indicates a continuation of that policy.
Your characterization of the multi-party mediation process merits similar scrutiny. Many regional analysts believe that joint campaigning by the Kremlin and OSCE for Moldovan “federalization” improperly legitimizes the Tiraspol authorities, provides them a share in the central government in Chisinau, and appoints the Kremlin as the ultimate arbiter of Moldova’s internal political structure. The OSCE’s repeated attempts to convene a Joint Constitutional Commission to enact federalization represent a troubling case in point.
These realities are not lost on Moldovans and Western analysts. As “mediators,” Russia and the OSCE routinely surprise a vulnerable Chisinau by producing “federalization” documents and demanding their prompt assent. The pervasive secrecy that characterizes these activities suggests political compulsion rather than open negotiation. It is little wonder that many Moldovans now view OSCE policy as an unconditional accommodation of Russian interests.
Most disturbing, however, is the apparent disconnect between the OSCE’s activities and the aspirations of the Moldovan people. The political class now shares civil society organizations’ critical assessment of the OSCE’s role. The newly elected leadership has repeatedly rejected the Russian/OSCE conflict-resolution model in favor of a European-democratic model. This pattern is encouraging for those who believe that Moldova should be an independent, democratic state in an integrating, democratic Europe.
My articles will continue to illuminate these and other issues so long as they remain cause for legitimate concern. This is a constructive undertaking, and I would warmly welcome any documentation from your office that would further clarify the points addressed in your letter. Absent revealing data or a reversal in current policies, however, I will continue to present this issue and its regional implications to Jamestown’s readers in the most accurate and impartial manner possible.