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Thursday, 26 October 2006 - Strasbourg

European Parliament resolution on Moldova (Transnistria)

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to its previous resolutions on the situation in Moldova and the situation in Transnistria, and in particular that of 16 March 2006(1),

–   having regard to the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement between Moldova and the European Union, which entered into force on 1 July 1998,

–   having regard to the European Neighbourhood Policy Action Plan for Moldova, adopted on 22 February 2005, which sets the direction for strategic cooperation between the Republic of Moldova and the European Union,

–   having regard to the statements of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) at the 1999 Summit in Istanbul and the 2002 Ministerial Council meeting in Oporto,

–   having regard to the Ukrainian initiative 'Towards a Resolution through Democracy', launched by the President of Ukraine, Viktor Yushchenko, on 22 April 2005,

–   having regard to the Declaration by the Presidency on behalf of the European Union of 18 September 2006 on the 'referendum' in the Transnistrian region of the Republic of Moldova,

–   having regard to Rule 103(4) of its Rules of Procedure,

A.   whereas a 'referendum' took place in the Transnistrian region of Moldova on 17 September 2006, aimed at full independence for the region and its possible unification with the Russian Federation,

B.   whereas neither this 'referendum' nor its outcome were accepted by the international community, as it was organised in a completely unilateral manner by the repressive regime of Transnistria, thus blocking the possibilities for a negotiated political solution to the conflict in Moldova, and as the suggestive character of the questions and the failure to meet basic requirements for free and fair elections such as freedom of the media, freedom of assembly and political pluralism were considered as predetermining the outcome of the referendum,

C.   whereas the conflict between the separatist authority of Transnistria and the central government in Moldova has largely contributed to the instability in the whole country,

D.   whereas negotiations concerning the status of Transnistria have been ongoing since 1992, in the so called 5+2 Format', in which Moldova, the Transnistrian region of Moldova, Russia, Ukraine and the OSCE are participating, with the EU and the USA as observers; whereas in April 2006 the negotiations broke down,

E.   whereas the European Union took important steps recently to enhance its engagement with the Republic of Moldova and the search for a resolution of the Transnistrian conflict by opening a permanent Commission delegation in Chisinau, appointing an EU Special Representative (EUSR) for Moldova with a mandate to contribute to a sustainable settlement of the Transnistrian conflict and establishing an EU Border Assistance Mission (EUBAM) to Moldova and Ukraine,

F.   whereas, according to the UN's 2005 Human Development Report, Moldova is the poorest country in Europe and the situation with regard to Transnistria is a major hindrance to the country's socio-economic development,

G.   whereas at the beginning of this year the Russian Federation imposed a ban on the import of agricultural products (wine, fruit and vegetables) from Moldova and Georgia, which is particularly harmful to the economic development of both countries,

H.   whereas the unilateral movements for independence in Transnistria, South Ossetia and Abkhazia are not being supported by any international organisation, and continuing efforts are being made under the auspices of the OSCE and the United Nations to restore the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Moldova and Georgia,

1.  Strongly denounces the attempt in the Transnistrian region of Moldova to establish its independence in a unilateral way by organising a so-called referendum;

2.  Calls on the government of the Russian Federation to withhold its support from this move and in particular from the holding of so-called referenda on the independence of the region; calls on the government of the Russian Federation to give its fullest support to the multilateral efforts to find a solution to the conflicts in its neighbourhood; calls on the government of the Russian Federation, furthermore, to fulfil the commitments made in 1996 in the Council of Europe and reflected in OSCE Summit (Istanbul, 1999) and Council of Ministers (Oporto, 2002) decisions concerning the withdrawal of Russian troops and arms from the territory of Moldova; expresses concern over the lack of progress on this issue;

3.  Fully rejects the organisation and outcome of the 'referendum' on independence for the Transnistrian region of Moldova and its possible accession to the Russian Federation, as this is in sharp contradiction with the internationally recognised sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Republic of Moldova and as the repressive regime in Transnistria does not allow for the free expression of the popular will;

4.  Stresses that the resolution of the Transnistrian issue constitutes a crucial element for promoting political stability and economic prosperity in the Republic of Moldova and in the whole region; stresses the need for a peaceful solution to the conflict, in line with the UN Charter and Conventions and OSCE declarations and with full respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Republic of Moldova within its internationally recognised borders;

5.  Calls on all parties to the conflict to refrain from any measures that would lead to a further escalation of the situation and to return immediately to the negotiating table in the 5+2 format and work towards a speedy and transparent solution of the conflict;

6.  Calls on the Council, the Member States and the Commission to continue to give their fullest support to a political and peaceful solution of the regional conflicts in the neighbourhood which the EU shares with the Russian Federation, and urges them to discuss these matters at their next meetings with the President and government of the Russian Federation;

7.  Calls on the government of Moldova to undertake confidence-building measures and put forward new proposals for the inhabitants of Transnistria, providing positive incentives in order for them fully to support a peaceful reunification of the state, with minority language rights and local autonomy being safeguarded;

8.  Condemns the continued repression, harassment and intimidation of representatives of the independent media, NGOs and civil society by the self-proclaimed Transnistrian authorities;

9.  Regrets the lack of significant progress in the EU talks on visa facilitation and a readmission agreement with Moldova; calls on the Council and the Commission to speed up the procedure leading to the conclusion of a visa facilitation agreement with Moldova and to ensure its implementation; considers it unfair and discriminatory that Transnistrian citizens holding Russian passports are benefiting from the possibility of travelling to the EU more easily than Moldovans, which is contributing to increased tensions over the Transnistrian region and acting as a disincentive to settlement of the dispute;

10.  Expresses its satisfaction with Ukraine's decision of March 2006 to impose new customs regulations on its border with Transnistria, in line with international law;

11.  Welcomes the good results achieved by the EUBAM on the border between Moldova and Ukraine, which was established in March 2005 and is playing an important role in fighting corruption, illegal trade and trafficking by improving transparency and building up appropriate operational and institutional capacities in Moldova to ensure effective border control, thus contributing to the eventual settlement of the Transnistrian conflict;

12.  Expresses its strong and continuing support for the efforts of the Moldovan people to establish a fully functioning democracy, the rule of law and respect for human rights, which are essential for ensuring the progress of reforms;

13.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the government and parliament of Moldova, the government of Romania, the government of Ukraine, the government of the Russian Federation, the US government, the Secretary-General of the OSCE and the Secretary-General of the Council of Europe.

(1) Texts adopted, P6_TA(2006)0099.

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