Publication: Monitor Volume: 3 Issue: 235

Returning from a week-long visit to Moscow, Transdniester Supreme Soviet chairman Grigory Marakutsa named a list of preconditions for a political settlement between the Russian-controlled region and the central Moldovan government. In addition to wanting the political status of a distinct republic, Marakutsa stated at a briefing, "Transdniester demands that Moldova join all the CIS structures, beginning with the political and military ones; join also the Russia-Belarus Union; and renounce its alignment with Ukraine, Georgia and Azerbaijan [GUAM]." Marakutsa also expressed discontent with Chisinau’s "pro-Western orientation," and complained of President Petru Lucinschi’s continued pursuit of that policy. (Russian agencies, December 16)

That orientation seemed to earn an ambiguous reward from the U.S. State Department’s new special envoy for relations with the former Soviet countries, Stephen Sestanovich, who was in Chisinau yesterday to acquaint himself with Moldova. Asked at a news conference to state Washington’s position regarding the presence of Russian troops in Moldova, Sestanovich stated the "long-known U.S. position that any country is fully within its rights to demand the withdrawal of foreign troops from its territory." As regards Moldova specifically, the envoy urged that the timetable for the withdrawal of Russian armaments and troops be finalized. (Russian agencies, December 16) That timetable has awaited finalization ever since the signing of a 1994 troop withdrawal agreement, an accord still not honored by Moscow. In contrast to the State Department envoy, the chairman of the House of Representatives’ Foreign Affairs Committee, Benjamin Gilman, expressed yesterday his concern regarding the failure to honor the 1994 troop withdrawal agreement. (Flux, December 17)

Georgian Parliament Sends Warning Signal to Moscow.