OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities (HCNM) Knut Vollebaek visited Moldova from 19 to 21 November 2012, where he presented his recently launched Ljubljana Guidelines on Integration of Diverse Societies and discussed co-operation with the Government to develop a comprehensive integration strategy.
Vollebaek also went to Bender to visit the lyceum “Alexandru Cel Bun”, one of the Latin-script schools in Transdniestria. The High Commissioner has been concerned about the situation of these schools for many years and has urged all sides to find pragmatic solutions that would allow these schools to operate normally, pending a final settlement of the Transdniestrian conflict. Together with Ambassador Jennifer Brush, the Head of the OSCE Mission to Moldova, Ambassador Vollebaek presented to the Moldovan Government and the de facto Transdniestrian authorities the conclusions and recommendations of an OSCE assessment of the situation of the schools. He stressed his hope that this assessment might serve to facilitate an agreement on this issue at the 5+2 negotiations in Dublin in late November.
During his visit, Vollebaek also met minority representatives who shared with him their concerns regarding the closure of minority-language schools in Moldova as part of the school optimization process. He visited the village of Troitskoe, where the lyceum level of a school with instruction in the Russian language is facing downsizing into a gymnasium and the closure of some classes due to declining pupil numbers, and spoke with the school director, parents and the mayor of the village. He also raised the matter with the Moldovan Government.
During his visit, Vollebaek met Moldovan Prime Minister Vladimir Filat, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and European Integration Iurie Leanca, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Reintegration Eugen Carpov, Minister of Education Maia Sandu, as well as de facto Transdniestrian authorities in Tiraspol.