The EU Affairs Ministers of Germany, the UK, and Romania have urged Russia to help solve the conflict in Moldova over the separatist republic of Transnistria.
British Minister for Europe David Lidington and his German counterpart Werner Hoyer and Bogdan Aurescu, Romanian State Secretary for European Affairs, gave a joint news conference in Bucharest Tuesday, reported Romania‘s Act Media.
“There is a European welcome and a European future for Moldova if that is the course its people wish to take,” British minister for Europe David Lidington said adding that the visit that he and Hoyer made to Moldova before coming to Romania “sought to demonstrate the importance which both our governments give to the process of democratic and economic reform in Moldova,” as cited by BGNES.
The German and UK EU Affairs Ministers have recognized the difficulties in the democratization in Moldova but said they were hopeful with respect to the elections scheduled to take place there in November. A recent referendum on constitutional changes in Moldova failed as fewer than the required 30% of the voters went to the polls.
Lidington and Hoyer especially emphasized the need to resolve the conflict over Transnistria, the breakaway Moldovan region bordering Ukraine, which declared independence from Moldova in 1990, and has been under Russian domination even though it failed to achieve international recognition.
Romania‘s State Secretary for Europe Bogdan Aurescu in turn urged a re-boot of negotiations on the separatist region in the “5 + 2 format” (Moldova, Transnistria, Russia, Ukraine, OSCE, plus the US and the EU as observers). He said that this was the “only formula likely to lead to a viable solution while preserving Moldova’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.”
“The United Kingdom looks to the Russian government to demonstrate that its promise of cooperation and goodwill is meaningful in practice,” Lidington said.
“Progress on Transdniestr would be a wonderful signal for future cooperation with Russia in difficult security fields,” Hoyer added.
Both made it clear they hoped the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) summit in December in the Kazakhstan would lead to progress on Transnistria. Russian troops are still stationed there, despite Moscow’s commitment to withdraw them, under a treaty signed in 1999.