The parliamentary assembly chairwoman of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), Helle Degn of Denmark, paid a high-profile visit to Moldova on February 24-26. The visit and her statements signaled that the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly (PA) intends to press for the withdrawal of Russian troops from Moldova and the resolution of the Transdniester conflict as priority issues. The PA leader also reviewed the activity of the OSCE’s permanent mission in Chisinau and the proposals for Transdniester’s political status, which were worked out by the central government and three mediators–Russia, Ukraine and the OSCE mission.
Degn’s meetings in Tiraspol with Transdniester leaders and the commander of Russian troops, Lieutenant-General Valery Yevnevich, were the high points of the visit. Refusing to accept the pretext that Russia lacks the funds to withdraw the troops, Degn asked Yevnevich to remind Moscow that the United States, Germany, France, Norway and Denmark are prepared to provide financial and technical assistance to expedite the removal of Russian arsenals and troops. Degn, furthermore, told Transdniester leaders that the OSCE is concerned about the restrictions on both native-language (Moldovan/Romanian) education and the use of the Latin script in the breakaway region and about the unlawful imprisonment of Moldovan parliamentary deputy Ilie Ilascu. Degn served notice that the OSCE PA “eagerly expects the necessary decisions and tangible steps” from the Russian government and the Transdniester authorities (Flux, Basapress, February 26; Itar-Tass, February 27; see also the Monitor, February 24).
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