CHISINAU, 21 January 2013 - The OSCE Chairperson, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Leonid Kozhara, on an official visit in Chisinau today, urged the Moldovan and Transdniestrian leadership to prepare the ground for progress in the coming months' Transdniestrian settlement talks.
"I have put the Transdniestrian settlement process at the top of Ukraine's agenda as OSCE Chair, which is why my first official visit as OSCE Chairperson is to Moldova," said Minister Kozhara. "I urge leaders in both Chisinau and Tiraspol to make good use of the time between now and next month's 5+2 talks in Lviv so that we can start the year on a positive note with progress in the negotiations."
The Chairperson stressed that Ukraine - which is a co-mediator in the 5+2 process along with the OSCE and the Russian Federation - was uniquely placed to take forward the negotiations.
"Ukraine is very familiar with the complex issues involved in the settlement process, both as a mediator and as a neighbouring country. I hope that this experience can act as a catalyst for further progress as we chair the 5+2 talks this year on behalf of the OSCE," he said.
"Last month the 57 OSCE participating States gave their full political backing to the settlement process at the OSCE Ministerial Council in Dublin, where they encouraged the advancement of the negotiations on all three baskets of the agreed agenda. I have reiterated this here in Chisinau and I will be giving the same message when I visit Tiraspol tomorrow.”
The three baskets are socio-economic issues, legal and humanitarian issues and human rights, and a comprehensive settlement, including institutional, political and security issues.
“As a first step, the re-opening of the Gura Bicului bridge to traffic would be a positive signal of the commitment of both sides to the process and immediately improve the lives of the people on both banks of the river,” he added.
The Chairperson met with Moldova’s President Nicolae Timofti, Prime Minister Vlad Filat, Deputy Prime Minister for Reintegration Eugen Carpov, Minister for Foreign Affairs and European Integration Iurie Leanca and Parliament Speaker Marian Lupu. Tomorrow he will meet Transdniestrian leader Yevgeniy Shevchuk in Tiraspol.
The Chairperson was also briefed by the staff of the OSCE Mission to Moldova on their work on human and minority rights, democratization, media freedom and combating human trafficking.