The commander of Russia’s Operational Group of Forces in Moldova confirmed February 5 in Tiraspol that his troops will remove to Russia most of the construction and bridging equipment left over from army engineering units disbanded since 1992. But Lt. General Valery Yevnevich insisted that no armaments or operational ammunition and none of his troops would withdraw to Russia because the October 21, 1994 Moldovan-Russian agreement on troop withdrawal was not in force. Yevnevich’s clarification implicitly responds to two major statements just issued by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) and the European Union. PACE amended the January 25 resolution in favor admitting Russia as a full member of the Council of Europe to require Russia to ratify the 1994 agreement within six months of Russia’s admission to the Council. The amendment also requires Russia to withdraw its troops from Moldova within the three-year period stipulated by the agreement.
At the OSCE Permanent Council’s session in Vienna February 1, EU member countries issued a joint statement expressing their satisfaction with the PACE amendment. They urged in the name of the European Union that the Moldovan-Russian agreement be ratified and that Russian troops be withdrawn within three years. (10) Russian delegates at both forums were cited as taking the position that the amendment and the joint statement were recommendations rather than binding requirements. They were also cited as saying that any move toward ratification of the agreement would require time and that Russia’s ultimate decision will have to take into account a variety of local and overall strategic factors. The present Duma is certain to refuse the agreement’s ratification.
Tajikistan: Dissident Warlords Make Peace with Government.