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NATO Worries About Future of Transdniestria

31.01.2008 15:25

Dmitry Babich

NATO Assistant Deputy Secretary General Robert Simmons at his meeting with President of Moldavia Vladimir Voronin proposed a new universal plan for development of Transdniestria as a territory within Moldavia. According to the West, this plan may terminate “the social and political mess and Russian expansion in Transdniestria”.

"The Transdniestria conflict may be settled through cooperation of all peacekeeping structures maintaining the regional stability”, Mr. Simmons said. In spite of the philologically senseless and politically incorrect expression of the NATO official the leadership of Moldavia welcomed his amendments to the National Security Concept.

…The current visit of Robert Simmons, top-ranking NATO official, to the Moldavian capital was regarded as significant by analysts first of all in Moldavia itself. At the first meeting with Voronin Simmons let him see that Brussels is interested in strengthening its positions in the region. And the Alliance is going to send its military advisers to Kishinev if not a limited contingent of peacekeepers.

The initiative proposed by NATO to Moldavia is rather impressing with its cynicism. In the opinion of Simmons, the conflict in Transdniestria may be settled relatively simply and quickly providing Transdniestria with “a special legal status”. Naturally upon the condition of the Moldavian territorial integrity.

From bad to worse. “The special legal status” enables Kishinev to request the world community to replace the Russian peacekeepers stationed in Transdniestria with an international peacekeeping force.

Taking into account that the Western peacekeepers are mainly represented by NATO soldiers the Alliance gets an opportunity of control over Transdniestria. In so doing, the NATO official absolutely was not embarrassed with the fact that the Russian peacekeeping operation in Transdniestria is objectively recognized as one of the most successful in the world. There were no casualties of the conflicting parties during the operation as distinguished from the NATO peacekeeping efforts in Iraq, Afghanistan or Kosovo…

What caused Brussels to hurry up with its “Transdniestria” proposal? Maybe, the Alliance considers that its mission in Kosovo is accomplished and now worries that secession of Kosovo from Serbia supported by Brussels will evoke the response of Russia.

In so doing, NATO analysts apparently believe that the most probable recurrence of the Kosovo scenario in the post-Soviet space is quite possible in Transdniestria. Therefore they made a decision to take a preventive step…

It is not impossible that Brussels plans to use the Balkan tactics in the Moldavian region. In spite of the fact that NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer categorically denies similarity between Prishtina and Teraspol, the possible Western presence in Transdniestria may repeat a classical Kosovo model including, for example, establishment of Mission military bases and conduct of joint military exercises with the Moldavian Army.

Besides, today Brussels urgently needs to seize the Russian peacekeeping initiative. They say, the Kremlin is preparing a principally new plan for settlement of the Transdniestria conflict…

Anyhow, Moldavian President Voronin found himself is a rather sensitive situation. Last year the vector of the Moldavian foreign policy radically changed. Experts believe that Kishinev at last understood that the key to the Transdniestria problem is in the Kremlin. It explains recent frequent visits of Moldavian delegations including Voronin himself to Moscow, and recent peaceful initiatives of Kishinev.

Therefore the whole-hearted support of the Brussels idea by President Voronin was sharply criticized by his former mates in the Communist Party. Local communists wonder why the head of state resorted to “the bifront policy”: to speak for the closest cooperation with Russia on the one hand, and to promise assistance to the NATO envoy in implementation of bilateral projects on the other hand.

Meanwhile, it seems that the President does not care of the public opinion. At the meeting with Simmons Voronin noted that immediately after adoption of the pro-NATO National Security Concept by the Moldavian Parliament the relations between the Alliance and Moldavia “will move to a new level”.

It is curiously enough that discussing the future of the Transdniestrian Moldavian Republic neither Voronin nor Simmons asked an opinion of Tiraspol. Both the West and Moldavia still do not care…