Wednesday 27 August 2008

Transnistria in the shadow of the Georgian crisis

In an article on the breakaway region Transnistria, Moldovan independent daily newspaper Timpul ("The Time") today quotes the policy expert Vlad Lupan, former head of the NATO department in the Moldovan Ministry of Foreign Affairs:
"For a long period of time, the Republic of Moldova will disappear from the international agenda, because everyone will concentrate on Georgia. This concentration will allow Russia to negotiate on other fronts, including the Moldovan front. The meeting [of Moldovan President Voronin and Russian President Medvedev; JF] in Sochi, on the day of the recognition of the two separatist republics [see my article on "The separatist agenda"], demonstrates that Russia wants to impose now a regulation in its own style. In short time, we can expect a Kozak-II."
(own translation)
The so-called Kozak Memorandum,
"[t]he Memorandum "On the Fundamental Principles of the State Structure of a United State - the Republic of Moldova", [...] prepared in 2003 by Dmitry Kozak, the then Russian President's Plenipotentiary Representative at the Southern Federal District, envisaged the formation of a united federal state - the Republic of Moldova, in which Transnistria was offered to be given the status of a federation subject. At the very last moment, Moldovan President Vladimir Voronin refused to sign the already initialed document.
Here you can see that "the separatist agenda" will continue to preoccupy not only the European Union but especially its neighbours such as Moldova and also Ukraine. The fear of more trouble in the space between the Russian Federation and the European Union is apparent, and the countries concerned do not have the luxury of just looking what happens.

The European Council on the 1st of September therefor has to give a clear sign not only concerning Georgia and the two breakaway republics of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, but also concerning similar cases, i.e. Transnistria in Moldova and Crimea in Ukraine. I would regard anything else but a clear-cut statement as a failure and as wrong sign to the EU neighbourhood!