Publication: Monitor Volume: 3 Issue: 91

Presidents Boris Yeltsin of Russia, Leonid Kuchma of Ukraine, and Petru Lucinschi of Moldova, together with OSCE chairman-in-office Niels Hdelvig Petersen and Transdniester leader Igor Smirnov, signed a memorandum today in the Kremlin on the principles of settling the Transdniester conflict. The core of the document commits the sides to working out relations between Moldova and the "Dniester republic" — a formulation that Smirnov yesterday interpreted as amounting to international recognition. The memorandum further envisages "building a common state," which Tiraspol unilaterally interprets as a confederation.

While Moldova remains a single subject of international law, the document entitles Transdniester to pursue its own foreign economic relations and to play an as yet undetermined role in the central government’s foreign policy. There is no word on a single army, border force, and security service as Moldova had sought. The memorandum defines Moldova’s territorial integrity in accordance with "the 1990 borders of the Moldavian SSR" — not in accordance with independent Moldova’s internationally recognized borders. Russia, Ukraine, and the OSCE will act as mediators in the Chisinau-Tiraspol negotiations and as guarantors of the eventual political settlement; but the document envisages only CIS/Russian peacekeeping troops on an open-ended basis.

Ukraine and the OSCE had sought to change some of the provisions in an attempt to reaffirm Moldova’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. Those objections were to have been codified in a joint statement by the mediators as an attachment to the memorandum. There is no immediate word about whether that statement was signed today. (Monitor interviews, May 8)

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