The dialogue needs to continue - now even more than before the COVID-19 pandemic. A goal-oriented dialogue with regular interactions by the two Chief Negotiators is crucial to addressing humanitarian challenges posed by the COVID-19 crisis for the population on both banks of the Nistru, the Head of the OSCE Mission to Moldova, Claus Neukirch, said in his address to the OSCE Permanent Council on 30 April 2020.
Since the launch of the state of emergency in Moldova, the Mission has actively worked to facilitate practical solutions addressing the challenges posed by the COVID-19 crisis for people living in the Security Zone, he told delegations of the OSCE’s 57 participating States. The Mission conducted 30 monitoring visits over the past six weeks and continued its active mediation efforts.
“The Sides need to exchange relevant data, evaluate existing public health risks and examine all forms of co-operation. Expert meetings on healthcare and other topics related to the current situation, such as banking issues, are important to find workable, mutually agreeable solutions to the benefit of the population,” stated Claus Neukirch.
In his regular six-month report to the Permanent Council, the Head of Mission spoke about the initiatives the Mission has undertaken with the Sides to intensify co-operation and co-ordination between left and right bank experts in addressing the pandemic and freedom of movement restrictions which resulted from the quarantine measures.
The Mission further monitored the process of importing essential commodities to Transdniestria following the closure of border crossing points at the Transdniestrian segment of the Moldovan-Ukrainian border. While the Sides identified several temporary solutions to improve everyday life of the people on both banks, some issues persist.
In his address, the Head of Mission underlined in particular the impact of freedom of movement restrictions imposed by Tiraspol in response to the pandemic, including in the Security Zone. The Head of Mission reiterated the need for Tiraspol to rethink its current approach and to ensure that people can commute to their place of work, can access health care services, ATMs and other needs.
“Any changes to the regime of the Security Zone require prior approval of the Joint Control Commission,” the Head of Mission reminded. “It is of utmost importance that the restrictions imposed in connection to the pandemic are lifted once the pandemic is under control and that the deployed additional posts and patrols are dismantled.”
The Head of Mission also commended the readiness of the Sides to support a technical visit envisaged for the next week by the World Health Organization, together with the Mission, to the left bank.