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17 May 2005
16 May 2005
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(To be checked against delivered speech)

Speech by President of the Republic of Moldova Vladimir VORONIN

Warsaw, 16 May 2005

“Indeed, after such an emotionally productive break, which is due to discussions with some of you, Distinguished Colleagues, we have got to concentrate on very important subjects, to discuss the ways to combat new challenges to European society.

First of all, I would like to congratulate the Committee of Ministers and the Secretariat of the Council of Europe for the excellent work done in reaching the consensus and in today's opening for signature of the three new Conventions of the organisation, which will substantially increase the level of fight against terrorism, trafficking in human beings and money laundering. Tonight the Republic of Moldova shall undoubtedly be one of the states that will sign these documents.

As for the challenges to modem European society, I would like to draw your attention specifically to the so-called democratic vacuum zones within the geographic area of the Council of Europe. Personally, I believe that it is impossible to achieve efficient and democratic security in a state being eroded by separatism. After all, as long as there are such centres under the Council of Europe, we cannot say that the general European principles and values are working effectively on the whole Continent. I have slightly touched upon this item during our morning Session as well, having mentioned the need of more active involvement of the Council of Europe in a thorough securing of democratic values, human rights and rule of law on the whole territory of my country and not only of it.

You are well aware of the fact that for more than 13 years the Republic of Moldova is affected by aggressive and intransigent separatism. For the same amount of time my country is a full-fledged member of the OSCE. This year my country will celebrate the 10th Anniversary from joining the Council of Europe. Unfortunately, I have to say that in the meantime, despite the fact that a specific steps have been taken by Moldovan authorities, as well as by the OSCE and the mediators, there has not been found a long-term political solution of the Transnistrian conflict. Distinguished Professor Adam Daniel Rotfeld, Foreign Minister of Poland, can confirm this, as he has a personal experience with this subject and knows it quite well.

We are aware of the fact that the delay in finding a long-term political solution of the Transnistrian conflict is a serious obstacle for social and economic development of my country, let alone the impossibility to secure and promote democratic reforms in the way that each citizen of the Republic of Moldova is able to benefit from all the advantages offered by general human values. That's why for my country it is a vital priority to identify the political solution of this conflict that would be widely acceptable.
As long as the international community remains passive regarding countless violations of fundamental human rights and freedoms, violent suppression of freedom of speech and aggressive intolerance of any opposition within the eastern districts of the Republic of Moldova, the stability and security of the whole region will be in danger. I'd like to remind you at this point of the current situation of Moldovan schools teaching in Latin script in the Transnistrian region.

To be honest, I would like very much to have the Moldovan Parliament's ratification instruments of the Conventions to be signed tonight submitted to the Secretariat of the Council of Europe without any reserves or declarations like the Republic of Moldova does not account for the region not controlled by the country's constitutional authorities. In order to attain this goal, we need an active involvement of the international community in the process of settlement of the Transnistrian conflict.

The Transnistrian region, as well as other separatist zones in other Council of Europe member-states, is a real black hole from all viewpoints: starting with the absence of any democratic processes and ending up with illegal trafficking in human beings and weapons, large-scale money laundering, etc. The most recent example is the disappearance from the deposits of the former 14th Army of the missiles that imitate nuclear explosion. Their explosive force is identical to the nuclear missile, except for radioactive contamination. The problem is getting even worse as the Russian Federation authorities cannot give any explanations on how the above-mentioned missiles could disappear without trace. Can you imagine the destructive force of the missile detonated in a big city? Unfortunately, it is gloomy scenario, which is quite possible.

The Republic of Moldova has always insisted upon the compliance with the OSCE Istanbul Summit decisions with regard to complete withdrawal of Russian troops and armament from the territory of my country. Moreover, while joining the Council of Europe, the Russian Federation has committed to comply, within six months since its adherence, with the OSCE Istanbul Summit decision by withdrawing fully, unconditionally and without delay its troops and armament from the Republic of Moldova. Their stationing on the territory of my country is totally illegal and it comes in flagrant contradiction with principles and norms of the international law, as well as with the provisions of the Constitution of the Republic of Moldova and with its national interests. I regret that I need to repeat in this case as well the following. I am sure that a viable solution of the Transnistrian problem should not be based on a military presence or competition of some militarist ambitions. It should be established upon securing the principles of rule of law and democracy on the whole territory of my country and for the whole population, upon re-integration based on European political and legal standards. In this respect, the key to the peaceful and final solution of the Transnistrian problem is the democratisation of the Transnistrian region, the access of the population of the region to the printed and electronic media, the release of political prisoners, abolition of political police, free activity of political parties and funds. Just in this it is so important to involve some new participants with a rich democratic biography - the USA and the European Union - in the process of settlement of Transnistrian conflict. That is why it is so important to engage in the negotiations the western neighbour of the Republic of Moldova - Romania, which will become a full-fledged member of the European Union in 2007. That is why the proposal of the President of the Ukraine Viktor Yushchenko to settle the conflict by means of democratisation of the region is so interesting for us.
The recent political changes in the Ukraine make us hope that the new administration from Kiev will cooperate honestly and disinterestedly in order to secure the Transnistrian segment of the border between Moldova and the Ukraine and that they will accept international monitoring with the assistance of European Union, the Republic of Moldova and the Ukraine, including common border and customs control and participation in the settlement of the conflict. Thereupon, the Republic of Moldova appreciates the initiative of the Ukraine to come up with a personal plan to settle the Transnistrian conflict. So far, we are carefully examining the seven principles of settlement, formulated by Viktor Yushchenko during the recent GUUAM Summit in Chisinau.

Besides the need to face numerous challenges to the modem European society, I believe that the Council of Europe as well should concentrate its efforts, in close cooperation with the European Union and ,the OSCE, to address the so-called democratic vacuum zones within the geographic area of our organization making full use of its mandate and available instruments - the Venice .Commission, the institute of the Commissioner for Human Rights, The Congress of Local and Regional Authorities, etc. We can only speak of true success of our Pan-European forum in promoting European values when such areas of chronic deficit of democracy under the umbrella of democratic stability of the Council of Europe completely disappear. Yet, in order to attain this goal, we need to take joint efforts - the united Europe determined to strongly combat any manifestation of aggressive separatism.