After 30 years, role of peacekeeping mission in Security Zone continues to be disputed, opinion

After 30 years, the role of the peacekeeping mission in the Security Zone continues to be disputed. Many parts of Moldovan society and international community challenge the role of this mission. The most serious problem is the fact that this mission is outdated, being created in 1992 in a particular context, but things changed since then. The Russian Federation and the Transnistrian region insist on keeping the mission even if they realize its inefficiency. The blame is borne by the decision makers who insists on it so as to have legal coverage for perpetuating the Russian military presence on Moldova’s territory, experts stated in a news conference at IPN titled “Blue Helmets” – case of the Republic of Moldova”, which was organized by Promo-LEX Association.

Promo-LEX executive director Ion Manole said that on May 29 international community celebrates the Day of UN Peacekeepers. At the end of July, it will be 30 years of the establishment of the military peacekeeping operation in the Republic of Moldova. In the Security Zone, there are now 15 permanent posts of these peacekeeping forces and the mission has 1,300 members.

According to him, it is clear that we have an improper peacekeeping format as such a format usually involves neutral states that hadn’t been involved in the conflict. In the Republic of Moldova, this format was created by the belligerent parties as a result of an agreement signed by Russia and Moldova in July 1992. Later, by different methods, the third party to the peacekeeping format – the Transnistrian region – appeared as part of the Joint Control Commission.

Director of the Association “Initiative for Peace” Alexandru Flenchea, ex-Deputy Prime Minister for Reintegration, said that in Tiraspol and in Moscow they often say that this operation is unique and successful. It is really unique as nowhere in the world the parties to the conflict are involved in such a format as peacekeepers. Normally, the peacekeepers are a neutral military force from outside that separates the conflicting parries, including physically. In the Republic of Moldova, there are trilateral posts that include Russian, Moldovan and Transnistrian peacekeepers.

“The biggest problem of this operation is that it is outdated. In 1992, in a particular context, of real war, with tens of thousands of armed people from both of the sides being involved, the operation was larger. There was created an instrument that was suitable at that moment. Meanwhile, things changed, the realities changed and the challenges and threats that exist now in the Security Zone are different in nature.  There are no more military threats. The incidents witnessed there regularly are not military in character. What we see almost daily in the Security Zone are primarily violations of the right to freedom of movement. It is exactly the problem that the operation in the formula conceived in 1992 does not have instruments to solve. As a matter of fact, we have a purely military instrument that should solve much more specific problems,” stated Alexandru Flenchea.

Irina Tabaranu, Security Zone journalist, said that for journalists this peacekeeping mission and these posts are very closed. Even if the media outlet was accredited by the Joint Control Commission and is authorized to film and to do its job in the Security Zone, it is very hard for them to do this as they face a series of obstacles. “Sometimes, it seems that these posts are not situated on the territory of the Republic of Moldova as we need to permanently behave in a particular way. We cannot walk near these posts and cannot look sideways. We filmed several reports at these posts only in the presence of soldiers of the Republic of Moldova. When we approached with the camera, we were even threatened with firing,” related the journalist.

The conference forms part of the series of conferences held as part of IPN News Agency’s project “Support for the Justice Reform through multimedia coverage of cases of alleged injustice”. The Agency does not bear responsibility for the public statements made in the public sphere by the organizers of news conferences. IPN News Agency gives the right of reply to persons who consider they were touched by the news items produced based on statements of the organizers of the given news conference, including by facilitating the organization of another news conference in similar conditions.

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