Four years elapsed yesterday since Russia pledged to withdraw all its troops and arsenals from Moldova within three years. Signed on October 21, 1994 by the two prime ministers (Viktor Chernomyrdin and Andrei Sangheli), the agreement bound Russia to the three-year deadline, “subject to internal state procedures”–a codicil added at the last moment by the Russian side. Moldova’s then-President Mircea Snegur, always anxious to please Boris Yeltsin, failed to object. The Russian government then interpreted the codicil as requiring ratification of the withdrawal agreement by the Duma. The Duma, predictably, refused to even consider ratification. On the contrary, it passed from time to time resolutions calling for the retention of Russian troops in Moldova. Russia’s executive branch, for its part, supports the secession of Transdniester in order to secure a basing area for the troops. Some 3,500 of those troops are there, guarding arsenals and bases capable of supporting a far larger number of troops.
Moldova is the last country in post-Soviet Europe in which Russian troops are unlawfully stationed. Moldova’s Foreign Ministry issued a declaration yesterday, asking Russia to comply with the 1994 agreement through executive branch action, “as the text of the agreement does not require ratification.” Reminding Moscow that the Moldovan constitution bans the stationing of foreign troops in the country, the declaration demands a time-table for the withdrawal of the Russian armaments and troops. The document cites the 1994 and 1996 OSCE summits’ resolutions, calling for a prompt, unconditional, complete and orderly withdrawal of Russian troops from Moldova. Recalling that Russia did not veto the resolutions, but essentially ignored them, the declaration calls on the international community to support Moldova on this issue more actively. It also points out that Moldova will be unable to ratify the updated treaty on Conventional Forces in Europe (CFE) as long as Russia violates that treaty by stationing its forces in Moldova (Flux, Basapress, October 21).
UKRAINIAN PARLIAMENT TO INVESTIGATE NATIONAL BANK OPERATIONS.