Viewing cable 08STATE57869

08STATE578692008-05-30 13:33:00 2011-08-30 01:44:00 CONFIDENTIAL Secretary of State

DE RUEHC #7869 1511342
P 301333Z MAY 08
C O N F I D E N T I A L STATE 057869 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 05/27/2018 
Classified By: DAS David A. Merkel for reasons 1.4(b) and (d) 
¶1. (C) SUMMARY AND ACTION REQUEST: In an April 14 meeting, 
President Voronin asked DAS Merkel to review a package of 
Moldovan proposals meant to serve as the basis for a 
political settlement with Transnistria.  He further requested 
that the U.S. present this package to the 5 2.  DAS Merkel 
agreed to study the documents and provide Chisinau with the 
USG,s thoughts on the texts.  We have reviewed both the 
Declaration on the Principles and Guarantees of Transnistrian 
Settlement and the Law on the Special Legal Status of 
Transnistria.  In providing comments, we do not want to 
appear either to dictate the terms of Moldova,s national 
proposals, or to endorse them as a whole.  We do want to note 
our general concerns, express our support for Moldova,s 
constructive approach in developing this package, and 
strongly encourage Chisinau to table its proposals for 
discussion in the 5 2.  We also want to provide Moldovan 
authorities our general assessment of the state of play in 
the 5 2 talks, and urge them to focus on using the Finnish 
chairmanship to make as much progress on the ground as 
possible, while also highlighting publicly Moldova,s 
constructive approach to achieving a settlement.  Chisinau 
cannot compel either Tiraspol or Moscow to be constructive; 
but through its own actions, it can draw international 
attention to its own positive efforts and the other parties, 
unhelpful policies.  Post should draw on para 2 in passing 
these thoughts to Moldovan officials.  END SUMMARY AND ACTION 
-- Following up on David Merkel,s visit, we wanted to 
provide you with Washington,s thoughts on the settlement 
proposals Moldova has developed and the challenge of making 
progress in the 5 2 context. 
-- First, regarding the status of the 5 2 talks.  We are 
concerned about the lack of progress of the working groups 
that met in Bender on April 18.  These working groups focused 
on issues that should be of broad concern on both sides of 
the river, so it is hard to understand Transnistria,s 
reluctance to engage.  Is there anything the U.S. or EU can 
do to help these ideas gain traction? 
-- We are open to a formal 5 2 discussion as soon as such a 
meeting would be productive.  Looking at the reluctance of 
the Transnistrian side to engage in working groups, we 
question if now is such a moment.  We would want to see a 
greater commitment from Russia or Transnistria for concrete 
results and believe first agreeing on a common basis for 
discussion is important to ensure an extended 5 2 meeting 
would be constructive. 
-- This brings us to the broader question:  how can Moldova 
best use the Finnish chairmanship of OSCE to promote a 
settlement?  The Finns are supportive and energetic.  We 
believe they would be willing to engage on any initiative 
likely to promote change.  Thus, we think it would be to 
Moldova,s advantage to consider what specific proposals and 
steps could be advanced or implemented in the next months 
that might have an impact on the situation on the ground.  We 
think it is a mistake to focus in this regard exclusively on 
CSBMs unrelated to political-military issues.  The current 
CFE impasse has focused international attention on Moldova; 
constructive proposals from Moldova to resolve the conflict 
or make incremental progress would be welcomed by the 
international community. 
-- Regarding Moldova,s draft settlement proposals, our 
reaction is positive.  These proposals address core issues in 
a thoughtful and balanced way, taking on difficult questions 
like Transnistria,s future status.  In particular, the 
"demilitarization and security" aspects of the Declaration of 
Principles and Guarantees of a Transnistrian Settlement seem 
clear and thoughtful. 
-- The package could only be viewed as a serious effort to 
make progress.  They are, however, Moldova,s proposals, and 
should be presented by your government, not the U.S.  We 
believe that if Moldova advanced these proposals -- in the 
right context and at the right moment -- this step would be 
widely welcomed by the international community.  This would 
serve to demonstrate Moldovan leadership and responsibility. 
-- Frankly, we think it will not help to achieve a positive 
outcome for the U.S. to endorse specific measures beyond our 
discussions with you before negotiations have begun. 
-- We would certainly be willing to issue a statement of 
support for your constructive approach if you chose to table 
this package.  We suspect that the EU would be prepared to 
welcome these proposals as a serious effort to end the 
current stalemate.  We recommend that you share your ideas 
with the EU, if you have not done so already. 
-- Having a thoughtful proposal like this on the table would 
facilitate a return to serious discussions on core settlement 
issues in the 5 2. 
-- On the specifics, we have only a few questions and 
concerns about your proposals, and are ready to discuss these 
issues in greater detail as necessary.  In general: 
(1) Moldova,s proposals for assistance make sense.  However, 
the United States is not in a position to commit now to 
future direct involvement in establishing, for example, an 
international fund for the post-conflict development of 
Moldova, or to provide U.S. personnel for a new peacekeeping 
presence.  We encourage you to request such assistance, 
should it be needed.  But we cannot make any commitment 
before the details have been worked out. 
(2) We are also curious about the clause granting 
Transnistria the right to secede from Moldova if Moldova 
voluntary renounces its sovereignty and "international legal 
status."  While we expect the phrase "international legal 
status" is not intended to refer to neutrality, we are 
concerned that it might be interpreted as such, which would 
imply a limit on your future options in this matter.  What 
was your intention in using this language? 
(3) The Demilitarization and Security section of the 
Declaration sends a useful and clear message.  We agree that 
transformation of the existing PKF and withdrawal of Russian 
forces are key aspects of a political settlement.  We 
noticed, however, that the withdrawal of foreign forces from 
Moldova does not appear in the "general provisions" section 
of the Declaration -- something we think is important -- and 
were interested in your thinking on this.  Additionally, 
while we understand completely Moldova,s desire to agree on 
specific timelines for withdrawal of Russian forces, it is 
important to ensure that any proposed timeline is clear and 
achievable.  As you know, the U.S. supports the idea of 
transforming the armed peacekeeping force into a civilian 
monitoring mission, as demilitarization steps are agreed by 
the parties. 
(4)  In our view, demilitarization is an issue where a 
well-considered implementation plan will be key to reaching 
agreement, or to making that agreement meaningful.  We would 
be interested in whether you plan to treat those details in a 
separate roadmap document.  Specific steps, or benchmarks, 
could also be included in appropriate provisions of the