UK Reacts to OSCE Mission Chief's Moldova Report, April 2024

Thank you Chair, and thank you Ambassador Keiderling for your report,

Russia's illegal war in Ukraine continues to present challenges for Moldova. Moldova's choice to pursue a bold reform agenda, diversify its energy sector and strengthen its European ties, all whilst providing courageous support for its neighbours in Ukraine, is commendable. I pay tribute to both Chisinau and Tiraspol for their efforts to maintain calm, avoid provocation and deny those who would seek to escalate the conflict for their own ends.

To this end, we reaffirm the UK's enduring commitment to the OSCE Mission to Moldova and its objective of supporting the sides to work toward a peaceful, comprehensive, and sustainable settlement to the Transnistrian conflict based on the territorial integrity and sovereignty of the Republic of Moldova within its internationally recognised borders. It is imperative then that Moldova's wish to return the Mission to full and uninterrupted 12-month renewals must be respected.

Furthermore, we express concern for the reported incidents. We believe the Mission must be granted unfettered access to the Security Zone to continue its vital monitoring work. We renew our call for all parties to observe strict compliance with the rules established by the Joint Control Commission.

The human rights situation in Transnistria remains a source of concern and we commend the Mission for its role in empowering the Ombudsperson's Office to monitor and investigate human rights abuses. We support your ongoing work to ensure timely access to justice for victims of gender-based violence, including human trafficking and other serious and organised crime.

Ambassador, we note with regret that Russian troops are still present on Moldovan sovereign territory in flagrant violation of international law. Russia must remove its forces immediately, conform with international law and allow for the orderly withdrawal and destruction of dangerous ammunition stored at Cobasna which remains a clear and present threat to citizens, in accordance with the 1999 Istanbul Declaration.

2024 stands as a critical year for Moldova. The importance of upcoming Presidential elections and a referendum on Moldova's EU ambition have attracted the attention of hostile actors. The UK is stepping up its support to Moldova on cyber security and institutional resilience to counter this threat and safeguard the democratic choices of its people. We welcome the European Council's decision in December to formally open accession negotiations with Moldova. A significant step on Moldova's sovereign choice to build its future in Europe.

In closing Ambassador, we are grateful for the work of the Mission and for this insightful report. It is crucial that Chief Negotiators on both sides of the Nistru maintain their commitment to peaceful dialogue and continue to work toward a negotiated settlement.

Thank you, Madam Chair.

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