Swiss foreign minister and 1996 OSCE chairman Flavio Cotti told Moldovan leaders January 16 in Chisinau that OSCE lacked the means for sending peacekeeping troops to the conflict zone in Transdniester. OSCE can only use preventive diplomacy with regard to the four-year old conflict, Cotti said. The OSCE chairman was responding to an appeal from Moldovan parliament chairman Petru Lucinschi, who had asked the OSCE to create its own peacekeeping forces and use them in Moldova, where the cease-fire appears stable and the terrain does not require a large peacekeeping contingent. Lucinschi also asked for the appointment of a senior OSCE representative to advance negotiations between Chisinau and Tiraspol, long deadlocked over Transdniester’s insistence on secession. However, Cotti publicly predicted that a direct agreement between the two sides would render high-level OSCE intercession moot. In related developments, President Mircea Snegur outlined to Cotti a plan for Russian-Ukrainian-Moldovan talks concerning the Transdniester and Foreign Minister Mihai Popov solicited OSCE support for the implementation of the 1994 Russian-Moldovan troop withdrawal agreement abandoned by Russia. (17)
Russia has exercised a "peacekeeping" monopoly in Moldova since 1992, sealing Transdniester’s military gains on the ground. Chisinau’s attempts to internationalize the peacekeeping operation have been hampered by indecision, particularly at the presidential level. A deputy minister of internal affairs, for example, was recently authorized to air a proposal to internationalize the peacekeeping force, but president Snegur kept his distance from the proposal. Snegur’s influential foreign policy adviser Petru Dascal then told a Chisinau briefing last week that introducing international peacekeeping forces in Transdniester would be premature as long as the OSCE mission and a Russian presidential special envoy continued to mediate negotiations between the two sides. (18)
Georgia Ratifies Political Treaty With Russia.