Progress on ‘package of eight’ will advance Transdniestrian settlement process and improve people’s lives, says OSCE Special Representative
CHISINAU, 24 March 2017 – The Special Representative of the Austrian OSCE Chairperson-in-Office for the Transdniestrian Settlement Process, Wolf Dietrich Heim, today concluded a visit to the region where he met political representatives of the sides in Chisinau and Tiraspol.
This was Heim’s third visit in as many months, and follows on from a visit of the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office, Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz, in early February.
In line with the Hamburg Ministerial Statement of December 2016, Heim called on the sides to focus on maintaining constructive, results-oriented dialogue at the 1+1 and working group levels in order to finalize confidence-building measures contained in the ‘package of eight’. These include the four outstanding agreements contained in the June 2016 Berlin Protocol, plus the issues of the Latin-script schools, the Dubasari farmland, freedom of movement for people, goods and services, and the Gura Bicului-Bychok bridge.
“The ‘package of eight’ presents a real opportunity for the sides to demonstrate that they have the determination and discipline to bring about practical changes to the benefit of people on both banks,” said Heim. “At this juncture, a little political will could go a long way in making tangible progress in the settlement process, resulting in immediate improvements to people’s quality of life.”
To this end, the Special Representative conveyed the international partners’ unanimous support for holding an informal conference on confidence-building measures in Bavaria by mid-May. He noted that the conference would be an opportunity to assist the sides as they work towards achieving the ‘package of eight’ that would advance the settlement process by creating the necessary conditions for the next round of substantive 5+2 talks, as committed to in the Hamburg Ministerial Statement.
“Now is the time for the sides to take ownership of the commitments already made and to follow these through,” said Heim. “That is why I reiterated the OSCE Chairperson’s appeal to the Moldovan authorities to swiftly develop a policy and vision for a special status for Transdniestria within Moldova, and to dedicate resources to that end.”
Talks in the 5+2 format include the representatives of the sides, mediators and observers – Moldova, Transdniestria, the OSCE, the Russian Federation, Ukraine, the United States and the European Union. The goal of the 5+2 format is to work out the parameters of the comprehensive settlement based on the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Republic of Moldova within its internationally recognized borders, with a special status for Transdniestria. This objective was reconfirmed by all 57 OSCE participating States in the Ministerial Statement on the Negotiations on the Transdniestrian Settlement Process in Hamburg on 9 December 2016.