Russian president Boris Yeltsin discussed the future of Russian troops in Moldova among other subjects at his November 10 meeting at the hospital with Defense Minister Pavel Grachev. According to the presidential press office, Yeltsin approved proposals submitted by the Defense and Foreign Ministries to hold consultations with Moldova regarding the transfer of peacekeeping functions from Russia’s peacekeeping contingent to Russia’s operational group of forces in Moldova (the former 14th Army). Grachev insisted after the meeting that Yeltsin was in good working condition. (9)
The move adds to the signs that Moscow has no intention of honoring the October 1994 troop withdrawal agreement with Moldova. The "peacekeeping" role has since 1992 been exercised by a Russian contingent, originally six battalions, now down to two, entirely separate from the 14th Army, and under a mandate theoretically subject to Moldovan consent. Transferring that mission to the ex-14th Army would perpetuate its presence in Moldova. Yeltsin’s endorsement of the proposed measure follows the cancellation of his scheduled meeting with Moldovan president Mircea Snegur last month, and invalidates yet again Snegur’s reassurances (including last month) to Western interlocutors that Yeltsin will solve this problem for Moldova.
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