Books on Moldova
Leu (plural: Lei)
Update No: 303 - (27/03/06)
Moldovan president regards negotiations with Transnistrian
leaders as ineffectual and pointless
Moldovan President, Vladimir Voronin, believes that negotiations with the
current Tiraspol leaders are ineffectual, indeed pointless from the start. In a
most incisive manner he has recently given his reasons.
On March 10th, he took part in the Resonance weekly programme on the Moldova-1
national television channel, and said he had analysed the progress achieved in
the Chisinau-Tiraspol negotiations prior to his Communist Party's coming to
power, and after that, and the achievements of the talks' latest rounds in the
5+2 format. Commenting on the statement by Transnistrian leader Igor Smirnov
concerning Tiraspol's intention to quit the negotiations, Voronin said, "I
have analysed the entire history of the negotiations, and am now asking myself,
do we really need these talks?"
He compared the Tiraspol leaders' participation in the negotiation process with
a trial at which the defendant is taking part in discussing the judgement
concerning himself "on equal terms with the judge, defender and
"These gentlemen have usurped state power, they violate the law, go in for
smuggling, and do what they wish. They shot at our soldiers to consolidate their
state power. Their life is a paradise, so it would be naive to expect they would
give up paradise. They continue the negotiations for the only purpose of
receiving new benefits", stated Vladimir Voronin.
He stressed, "Negotiations should be conducted with the civil society, with
new democratic authorities that would win elections after the region's
demilitarisation and democratisation, not with these state power usurpers.
That's only how the Transnistria problem can and should be solved - on the basis
of the Yushenko Plan and the Law on the main provisions of a future special
legal status for Transnistria passed by the Moldovan Parliament last year".
Concerning the new customs regime of transporting Transnistrian goods across the
Moldova-Ukrainian border, the President said, "The entire hysteria has been
raised by the Transnistrian leaders who have been deprived of the possibility to
trade in armaments. They manufacture and export Grad [Hail] missile systems,
Kalashnikov submachine guns, and other arms. They do not want to lose all this,
and that's why they do not wish to work legally. Economic agents have nothing to
hide. As for the Tiraspol leaders, they are afraid least their weaponry
trafficking should be exposed. If Moldova and Ukraine hold on, the Tiraspol
leaders will lose interest to the arms trafficking. After that, nobody will need
Smirnov or his camarilla".
Voronin categorically refuted rumours that an attempt may be undertaken to solve
the Transnistria problem by using force: "This is rubbish, the fruit of
someone's ill imagination. Everybody knows it is not typical of me to settle any
questions whatever by force."
Kiev acts to close "the black hole" that is Transnistria
Ukraine has finally begun cooperating with Moldova and the European Union
against rampant unlawful trade across the Transnistria sector of the
Ukraine-Moldova border. That 450-kilometer sector, Europe's largest "black
hole," forms a major source of the secessionist authorities' income and
power as well as a gateway to illicit trafficking between the Black Sea region
and EU territory.
Ukraine's move marks an unexpected, full turnabout. On March 3, Ukraine's
Cabinet of Ministers announced its political decision to start implementing the
recent Ukraine-Moldova agreement, signed by Prime Ministers Yuriy Yekhanurov and
Vasile Tarlev, on introducing a legal trade regime on that border. Ukraine's
Customs Service Chairman Oleksandr Yehorov issued the relevant orders that same
day. Both decisions in Kiev cited EU requirements to Ukraine as well as the 2005
Ukraine-Moldova-EU Commission Memorandum on measures against illicit activities
on that border.
The Yekhanurov-Tarlev agreement stipulates that exports originating in
Transnistria (to Ukraine or via Ukraine) can only enter Ukrainian territory if
they carry Moldovan customs stamps and relevant documents; and that imports
bound for Transnistria (from or via Ukraine) can only enter Transnistria through
Moldovan customs checkpoints, which are situated on Moldovan-controlled
territory. Furthermore, Transnistria-based companies must register with
Chisinau's authorities and obtain Moldovan certification and licenses in order
to conduct legal export-import operations. Ukrainian authorities have now
started applying those provisions to railway cargoes and long-vehicle road
For its part, Chisinau has simplified the registration procedure and granted tax
breaks and duty exemptions to Transnistria-based companies that register as
Moldovan. Such companies are then entitled to all trading privileges that
Moldova enjoys on international markets as a member of the World Trade
Organization and other trade groups. They also qualify for all the tax breaks
and other advantages that right-bank Moldovan companies enjoy under Moldovan
law. Moldovan authorities had held a series of joint conferences with
Transnistria companies, Ukrainian authorities, and EU representatives from
December through February, informing Transnistria business in detail about
Moldovan registration procedures and the introduction of Moldovan customs
documents on that border sector.
Presidents Viktor Yushchenko of Ukraine and Vladimir Voronin of Moldova
conferred on this issue by telephone on March 4, 6, and 7, agreeing to have
their presidential offices monitor the situation and exchange information about
the situation on the border. Yekhanurov, Yehorov, and Deputy Minister of Foreign
Affairs Volodymyr Khandohiy confirmed the decision and explained the background
to it in public statements on December 6, thus implicitly signalling the
authorities' consensus on this issue (Interfax-Ukraine, UNIAN, Channel Five TV [Kyiv],
However, Ukraine's National Security and Defence Council Secretary Anatoly
Kinakh is sounding a somewhat discordant note. On March 6, Kinakh suggested that
Ukraine, Moldova, Transnistria, Russia, OSCE, and EU examine the situation
collectively (Ukrayinska pravda, March 6; Itar-Tass, Flux, March 7). The
suggestion corresponds with Moscow and Tiraspol's position seeking Tiraspol's
participation with blocking rights in all decisions and claiming that Russia has
interests on this border (1,000 kilometres distant from Russia). By contrast,
Chisinau and the EU -- and, now, the Ukrainian president and cabinet -- take the
position that only Moldova, Ukraine, and the EU need make decisions on that
border under international law.
Kiev had, over the years, resisted the introduction of law and order on that
border. From time-to-time it signed agreements that were not to be honoured.
Even Yushchenko twice quashed agreements signed by the Ukrainian and Moldovan
prime ministers on normalizing the trade regime on that border. The
Yekhanurov-Tarlev agreement of December 30, 2005, was suspended on January 25 by
the Ukrainian president for never-clarified reasons. The factors behind the
sudden turnabout are not fully clear, but among them is undoubtedly Washington
and Brussels' insistence that Ukraine finally take this step.
The EU's High Representative for Common Foreign and Security Policy, Javier
Solana, telephoned Yushchenko to support the implementation of the December 30
Moldova-Ukraine agreement. Solana and his Special Representative, Adriaan
Jacobovits de Szeged, are publicly encouraging Ukraine to carry the measures
through and to cooperate with the EU's recently deployed Border Assistance
Mission (EUBAM) in this effort.
They are urging Transnistria economic entities to register in Chisinau, so as to
"establish an orderly regime on the Ukraine-Moldova border, to which the EU
attaches great importance"; and are criticizing Tiraspol's decisions to
close the border and block the legal trade. A statement by the U.S. State
Department welcomes Ukraine's decision to implement the December 30 agreement
with Moldova "as an important step promoting border security and resolution
of the Transnistria conflict" (EU Council press release, March 6;
Ukrayinska pravda, March 6).
Whether Kiev will stay this course beyond the March 26th legislative elections
seems as uncertain as the composition of the post-election parliament,
government, and presidential entourage. With EUBAM present on that border,
however, any post-election government would find it difficult to backtrack on
the obligations assumed by this government.
Moldova to overhaul power plant with Czech loan
Moldova will overhaul a major power plant using a Czech government loan
potentially worth US$240 million, Interfax News Agency reported.
The Czech Republic's EximBank will offer the low-cost credit as part of a
programme to promote Moldovan energy independence, said Vladimir Antosiy,
Moldova Minister for Industry and Infrasturucture. The money will go initially
towards modernising the Chisinau TETs-2 power plant, an installation currently
providing 20 per cent of all of Moldova's electricity needs. Some nine million
dollars would additionally be used to cover long-standing debts owed by TETs-2
to creditors, and so improve the station's cash flow, the report said. The Czech
project could extend to infastructure overhauls across Moldova totalling 240
million dollars, Antosiy added. The announcement came one month after Moldova
was plunged into an energy crisis due to Russian hikes in natural gas costs.
Pressure on Moldova's Communist government to provide the country with steady
and affordable energy supplies has increased in recent weeks due to capture of
the Moldovan power plant, in the city Dubosary, by security forces from