After the 1999 Summit of OSCE Heads of State in Istanbul, the Mission to Moldova was mandated to ensure transparency of the removal and destruction of Russian ammunition and armaments and to co-ordinate financial and technical assistance to facilitate its withdrawal and destruction.
In 2000 and 2001, the Russian Federation withdrew by rail 141 self-propelled artillery and other armoured vehicles and destroyed locally 108 T-64 tanks and 139 other pieces of military equipment limited by the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE). During 2002 and 2003 Russian military officials destroyed a further 51 armoured vehicles, all of which were types not limited by the CFE Treaty.
The Mission also observed and verified the withdrawal of 11 trains with military equipment and 37 trains loaded with more than 22,000 tons of ammunition. However, no further withdrawal activities have taken place since March 2004 and a further 20,000 tons of ammunition, as well as some remaining military equipment are still to be removed.
The Mission co-operated successfully with Russian military officials stationed in the region to observe and verify on-site destruction of Russian military equipment.
The Mission and CFE inspectors from various OSCE participating States are ready to verify the destruction of equipment and the withdrawal process. OSCE funds are available to compensate the Russian Ministry of Defence financially for the expenses incurred during withdrawal according to agreements.
For many years, the Mission has been participating in discussions promoting military transparency and increasing trust between the parties to the conflict. During the first half of 2004, Mission experts drafted a set of 14 proposed agreements on confidence- and security-building measures (CSBMs). These were presented in June 2004 to the Moldovan and Transdniestrian leaders by the OSCE Chairman-in-Office.
A revised version of the CSBM package incorporating comments and suggestions of Russian Federation and Ukrainian arms control experts was delivered to the parties on 12 July 2005.
The proposals feature draft agreements on possible reductions in military forces and armaments. The package also includes proposals for increased contacts, monitoring of weapon-manufacturing facilities, joint training on peace-support operations, joint inspections training, joint disaster relief operations, and common procedures for eliminating surplus ammunition and small arms.
Almost all the proposed measures are based upon existing CSBMs that have proved successful in the region such as the CFE Treaty, the Dayton Peace Accords, the 1999 Vienna Document, the OSCE Best Practice Guide on Small Arms and Light Weapons and the OSCE Document on Stockpiles of Conventional Ammunition.
The OSCE Mission promotes measures to encourage constructive discussions on the application of the CSBM Package and other measures to build confidence in the military sphere.
The OSCE Mission also works closely with the Moldovan Ministry of Defence on activities related to the application of best practices in the management of stockpiles of small arms and light weapons and ammunition in the interests of regional stability and non-proliferation.