Ambassador-at-Large Sergey Gubarev’s answers to questions from the TASS news agency, May 18, 2017
Question: What is going on in the framework of the 5+2 format of the Transnistria settlement? Does the current state of affairs suit all negotiating parties?
Sergey Gubarev: The pause in the 5+2 negotiations has clearly lasted too long. The talks resumed in the summer of 2016 after a two-year pause thanks to Russia and the German OSCE Chairmanship. We believe that the talks should proceed regularly, in keeping with the Permanent Conference [for Political Questions in the Framework of the Negotiating Process] on the Transnistrian Settlement, which provides for holding five or six official meetings a year. We should try to comply with this schedule. It would be unreasonable to expect practical results from each meeting, but we do need to meet to discuss our positions, which is the only way to achieve any result. Even the smallest step is very important now. Meetings between the leaders of Moldova and Transnistria, dialogue in the 1+1 format between the parties’ political representatives and meetings of the working groups are certainly important, but only if we agree on the priority importance of the internationally recognised platform for negotiating a settlement.
I believe that our Moldovan and Transnistrian partners share this view and stand for an early convocation of an official meeting in the 5+2 format.
It is sometimes said that meetings in the 5+2 format only lead to scandals over the joint Moldovan-Ukrainian customs stations at the Pervomaisk-Cuciurgan checkpoint. The discussion of this issue clearly cannot be avoided, but there are also many other issues that need to be dealt with. We must not evade these issues.
Question: The Russian Foreign Ministry has recently posted an announcement on your upcoming visit to Chisinau and Tiraspol. What is the main goal of this visit?
Sergey Gubarev: The goal of this visit is to look at the situation yet again and to coordinate the issues that could be proposed for the agenda of an official meeting. The focus can be on the analysis of progress on the issues which were discussed at this year’s meetings between [Moldovan President] Igor Dodon and [Transnistrian President] Vadim Krasnoselsky. We must also consider ways to reduce the influence of new irritants between the conflicting parties on the settlement process.
Question: The Moldovan President has visited Russia three times this year. Were these visits connected with the Transnistrian conflict settlement?
Sergey Gubarev: As we can see from the news conference held by the presidents of Russia and Moldova following their meetings, they did discuss this issue. Most importantly, President Vladimir Putin pointed out that Russia remains ready to act as an intermediary and a guarantor of the agreements the parties will potentially reach.