Chisinau, August 23 (Interfax) – Moldovan President Nicolae Timofti has called on Russian soldiers to leave Transdniestria and has proposed transforming the peacekeeping operation into a civilian mission with an international mandate, the presidential press service said.
“There is a need for Russia to withdraw its ammunition and servicemen from the left bank of the Dniester River in accordance with its international obligations. Such a move will help further promote confidence building measures and rapidly settle the conflict by peaceful methods,” Timofti said at a meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who paid a brief visit to the Moldovan capital Chisinau on Wednesday.
“The peacekeeping mission in the Security Zone has exhausted itself and ought to be transformed into a civilian operation with an international mandate,” the Moldovan president was quoted by his press service as saying.
Timofti thanked Merkel for coming to Chisinau, adding that “the Moldovan authorities view this visit as a clear signal of Berlin’s support of Moldova’s European ambitions.
The German chancellor, for her part, said that Berlin would insist that the search for a solution to the Transdniestrian conflict “should stay on the European agenda.”
“We should resolve this problem by joint efforts. During discussions with Russian officials, Germany has been speaking about the need to make progress in the Transdniestrian settlement talks,” she said.
Merkel “appreciated Chisinau’s efforts aimed at approaching European standards,” the Moldovan president’s press service said.
“Germany will continue supporting the Moldovan authorities’ efforts at the European level and through German investment in Moldova’s economy,” Merkel said.
When addressing Moldova’s political elite, the German leader spoke in favor of resolving the Transdniestrian conflict by “granting some special status to Transdniestria within Moldova’s borders.”
“Maintaining the current status quo of the frozen conflict suits only a limited circle of persons. This painful problem cannot last long. It ought to be sorted out for the benefit of the people on both banks of the Dniester. Granting this region some special legal status within Moldova’s internationally recognized borders based on the principle of territorial integrity could offer a solution to this conflict. At the same time, there is a need for an effective central government and the local authorities’ autonomy,” Merkel said.
“The artificial barriers between the two banks of the Dniester should be removed and freedom of movement should be guaranteed in order to promote economic development and encourage investment,” the German chancellor said.
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