Publication: Monitor Volume: 3 Issue: 47

Transdniester leader Igor Smirnov has reaffirmed to Yuri Karlov, Russian president Boris Yeltsin’s special envoy, and to a visiting CIS Interparliamentary Assembly delegation, that Transdniester will not return to the negotiations with Chisinau and will also withhold cooperation with the OSCE Mission to Moldova in the armistice control commission. Tiraspol leaders profess outrage over the Mission’s report, presented last month to the OSCE Permanent Council in Vienna and subsequently disclosed in Chisinau. Smirnov’s chief military adviser declared that the report looks unfavorably upon Transdniester in order to hurt Russia’s interests and because OSCE Mission chief Donald Johnson is an American. (Basapress, Flux, Infotag, March 4-6)

The OSCE report recorded Transdniester’s illegal deployment of military posts and banned weapons, including truck-mounted Grad missile-launching systems, in the security zone; its denial of Moldovan and OSCE requests for inspection access to suspected military sites in the security zone; cases of Russia and/or Transdniester vetoing the OSCE Mission’s participation in armistice control commission meetings; Tiraspol’s absence of will to negotiate a political settlement with Chisinau and its refusal to allow Transdniester’s population to vote in Moldova’s recent presidential elections.

Tiraspol also vehemently objects to the Mission’s disavowal of a June 1996 Russian-drafted "Memorandum," which Chisinau initialed under pressure but eventually backed out of signing. As mediators Ukraine and the OSCE have pointed out, and as Johnson stressed in his latest report, the draft Memorandum violated OSCE principles by omitting Moldova’s territorial integrity and sovereignty and virtually awarding Transdniester a legal status coequal to rump Moldova’s. Transdniester conditions its return to the negotiations on Chisinau’s acceptance of that document.

War of Words Over Arms.