[Senate Prints 112-5]
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112th Congress 
 1st Session                COMMITTEE PRINT                      S. Prt.
                                                                  112-5
_______________________________________________________________________

                    WILL RUSSIA END EASTERN EUROPE'S

                         LAST FROZEN CONFLICT?

                               __________

                                A REPORT


                             TO THE MEMBERS


                                 OF THE


                     COMMITTEE ON FOREIGN RELATIONS

                          UNITED STATES SENATE

                      One Hundred Twelfth Congress

                             First Session

                            February 8, 2011

                                     





                  U.S. GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE
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                COMMITTEE ON FOREIGN RELATIONS         

             JOHN F. KERRY, Massachusetts, Chairman        
BARBARA BOXER, California            RICHARD G. LUGAR, Indiana
ROBERT MENENDEZ, New Jersey          BOB CORKER, Tennessee
BENJAMIN L. CARDIN, Maryland         JAMES E. RISCH, Idaho
ROBERT P. CASEY, Jr., Pennsylvania   MARCO RUBIO, Florida
JIM WEBB, Virginia                   JAMES M. INHOFE, Oklahoma
JEANNE SHAHEEN, New Hampshire        JIM DeMINT, South Carolina
CHRISTOPHER A. COONS, Delaware       JOHNNY ISAKSON, Georgia
RICHARD J. DURBIN, Illinois          JOHN BARRASSO, Wyoming
TOM UDALL, New Mexico                MIKE LEE, Utah
             Frank G. Lowenstein, Staff Director          
       Kenneth A. Myers, Jr., Republican Staff Director          

                             (ii)          



                            C O N T E N T S

                              ----------                              
                                                                   Page
  Letter of Transmittal..........................................     v


  Introduction...................................................     1


  Background.....................................................     2


  U.S. Interests.................................................     3

    Transnistria and Russia......................................     3

    Conventional Armed Forces in Europe..........................     4

    Trafficking in Uranium, Arms, and Persons....................     5

    5 + 2 Status Talks...........................................     6

    Supporting Moldova's Pro-Western Government..................     7


  Recommendations................................................     7

                                 (iii)


                         LETTER OF TRANSMITTAL

                              ----------                              

                              United States Senate,
                            Committee on Foreign Relations,
                                  Washington, DC, February 8, 2011.
    Dear Colleagues: In August 2010, I directed my Senate 
Foreign Relations Committee professional staff member for 
European Affairs, Marik String, to conduct a review of U.S. 
policy in Moldova and, in particular, Transnistria, a disputed 
territory within the Republic of Moldova controlled by Russian-
supported separatists.
    Among the frozen conflicts in the former Soviet Union, 
Transnistria is unique in having experienced no significant 
political violence since a brief separatist war with Moldovan 
forces in 1992. Since then, Russian forces have served in 
Transnistria, ostensibly as peacekeepers and protectors of an 
estimated 20,000 tons of arms and ammunition left behind by the 
Soviet 14th Army, despite Russia's 1999 pledge to remove all 
equipment by 2002 and Moldova's strong advocacy for a 
transition of the current Russian-led military peacekeeping 
force into an international civilian mission.
    Recent events should provide the United States with an 
opportunity to renew high-level engagement in support of 
forging a solution to this conflict. In 2009, a reform-minded, 
Western-oriented government was swept to power in Moldova. 
However, its efforts at reform and European integration 
continue to be saddled by the unresolved status of 
Transnistria. While status negotiations under the auspices of 
the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) 
have dragged on since 1993, senior European Union officials, 
including the German Chancellor and French President, have 
publicly pressed the Russian Federation over the last year to 
cooperate constructively in resolving the conflict as a 
condition for deeper EU-Russian security dialogue.
    The United States should strongly support European efforts 
to resolve the conflict and thereby assist Moldova in advancing 
its Euro-Atlantic aspirations. A resolute U.S. commitment to 
this cause will ensure that we do not cede influence in a 
region of paramount importance to U.S. foreign policy.
    A solution would also bring greater pressure against 
reported human rights and trafficking abuses in Transnistria. 
It would strengthen export controls that have enabled illicit 
trade, which threatens U.S. and allied interests, including 
illegal trafficking of proliferation-sensitive conventional and 
nuclear items. For instance, $11 million worth of uranium-238, 
which could be used in a dirty bomb or in a nuclear weapon 
program, was seized in Moldova in 2010.


                                  (v)

    Given the lack of military tensions and relatively amicable 
relations between the residents of Transnistria and Moldova 
proper, the outlines of a civilian-led peacekeeping mission in 
Moldova under the OSCE or European Union are readily 
envisioned. A past U.S. proposal to broker a solution under the 
auspices of the NATO-Russia Council may also deserve 
reconsideration and could demonstrate that recent developments 
in NATO's relationship with Russia can redound to Eastern 
Europe's security.
    In the United States Congress, we have an opportunity to 
provide important support for Moldova's Western ambitions by 
graduating Moldova from Jackson-Vanik trade restrictions.
    This staff report presents the background of the dispute in 
Transnistria and tangible recommendations for advancing U.S. 
foreign policy objectives in this important region. I welcome 
any comments you may have.
            Sincerely,
                                          Richard G. Lugar,
                                                    Ranking Member.

 
                    WILL RUSSIA END EASTERN EUROPE'S

                         LAST FROZEN CONFLICT?

                              ----------                              

    At the direction of Senator Richard Lugar, Senate Foreign 
Relations Committee minority staff undertook a review of U.S. 
and international efforts to broker a settlement for the 
protracted conflict in Transnistria, a separatist region of 
Moldova. In addition to briefings in Washington, staff 
travelled to Moldova and to the Secretariat of the Organization 
for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) in Vienna, 
Austria.\1\ The purpose of this study was to:
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \1\ Based on the principles of the Helsinki Final Act of 1975, the 
OSCE is a European security organization with 56 participating states 
stretching from Vancouver to Vladivostok. The OSCE maintains a 
Secretariat in Vienna and a network of field missions throughout Europe 
and Eurasia. Its work focuses on early warning, conflict prevention, 
post-conflict rehabilitation, conventional arms control and military 
transparency, human rights, democratization, and other issues.


   Evaluate international efforts to resolve the status of 
        Transnistria through the ``Five plus Two'' talks held 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
        under the auspices of the OSCE;

   Assess U.S., European, and OSCE confidence- and security-
        building measures (CSBMs) between residents of 
        Transnistria and Moldova proper;

   Recommend to members of the Senate Foreign Relations 
        Committee and United States Government steps to advance 
        U.S. foreign policy objectives in Moldova.

                              Introduction

    Situated between the European Union's easternmost border 
and Ukraine, Moldova represents a frontier of the West. 
Throughout much of its independence, gained from the Soviet 
Union in 1991, Moldova's European prospects were dimmed by 
ineffectual public institutions dominated for many years by 
Communist Party officials, a moribund economy, constraints on 
civil society, and a series of separatist movements, including 
in Moldova's eastern region of Transnistria.
    Transnistrian separatists, armed and financed by Moscow and 
remnants of the Soviet 14th Army, fought a brief war with 
Moldovan forces in 1992, and a contingent of approximately 
1,500 Russian soldiers continues to serve in Transnistria, 
ostensibly as peacekeepers and guardians of an estimated 20,000 
tons of Soviet-era weapons and ammunition. In 1999, Russia 
pledged to remove this equipment, but withdrawals ceased in 
2004. Although tensions remain, little political violence has 
ensued since the conflict, and residents of Transnistria and 
Moldova proper experience relative ethnic homogeneity and 
regularized contact compared to other Eurasian frozen 
conflicts. Nonetheless, Transnistria overtly seeks integration 
with Russia, and formal status negotiations (the ``Five plus 
Two'' talks) held under the auspices of the OSCE have been 
stalled since 2006.
    In 2009, Moldovan voters dismissed the Communist Party from 
office amid unrest known as the ``Twitter revolution,'' which 
swept to power the Alliance for European Integration (AEI), a 
coalition of reform-minded, Europe-oriented politicians. This 
is a notable development in light of the flagging democratic 
reform movements within other post-Soviet states. Although AEI 
has pushed through important economic, rule-of-law, and civil 
society reforms, its lack of the requisite supermajority in 
parliament to elect a President has resulted in political 
uncertainty (Moldova has experienced eight national elections 
or referenda since April 2009), which is routinely cited by 
Transnistrian and Russian officials as a pretext for spurning 
status talks.
    Given the European Union's strict border control and visa 
regime requirements, the lack of uniform Moldovan control over 
the Transnistrian region hampers Moldova's Western aspirations. 
Moreover, the current situation in Transnistria has allowed its 
leadership to escape sustained pressure for shortcomings in the 
realm of civil, political, and media freedoms and has left its 
residents isolated from their European peers.
    Despite important border control assistance provided by the 
European Union, the status quo has also enabled illicit 
commerce that could threaten U.S. interests, including 
trafficking in persons, drugs, weapons (past sales of anti-tank 
grenade launchers without serial numbers have been reported), 
and sensitive materials with applications for nuclear weapons. 
In 2010, Moldovan authorities seized $11 million worth of 
uranium-238, which could be converted to plutonium-239 (fissile 
material for nuclear weapons) or a dirty bomb, from a criminal 
enterprise with reported links to Transnistria.
    Since June 2010, senior European leaders, including German 
Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy, 
have brought high-level visibility to the situation in 
Transnistria by personally raising with Russian President 
Medvedev the need for Russia to fulfill its 1999 pledge to 
withdraw its military equipment from Moldova and to coax its 
partners in Transnistria back to the negotiating table as a 
test case for broader EU-Russia security cooperation. The 
United States should seize this opportunity to bring similar 
attention to recommencing negotiations over Transnistria and 
building support for Moldova's Euro-Atlantic aspirations.

                               Background

    Located within historical Bessarabia, Moldova has spent the 
last centuries under the tutelage of the Mongols, Ottomans, 
Romanians, and Soviets. Transnistria, present day Moldova's 
easternmost region on the east bank of the Dniestr River, has 
experienced considerable autonomy since 1924, when it 
constituted part of the Moldovan Autonomous Soviet Socialist 
Republic (MASSR) within the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist 
Republic. After the dislocations of World War II, the 
Transnistrian part of the MASSR was ceded to the Moldovan 
Soviet Socialist Republic (MSSR) and its capital of Chisinau, a 
political entity approximating the borders of present day 
Moldova.
    Upon the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, the MSSR 
was succeeded by the independent Republic of Moldova. However, 
Transnistria, emboldened by Russian nationalists and those 
fearing annexation by Romania,\2\ declared itself the 
``Transniester Moldovan Republic,'' a move that led to a 4-
month conflict between Moldovan forces and separatists backed 
by the Soviet 14th Army that claimed an estimated 1,000 lives. 
The 1992 ceasefire agreement created the Joint Control 
Commission (JCC), under which 1,500 Russian, de facto 
Transnistrian, and Moldovan forces continue to serve ostensibly 
as peacekeepers in Transnistria in roughly equal proportion.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \2\ Due to ethnic and linguistic homogeneity, elements in both 
Romania and Moldova have historically sought integration of the two 
countries.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

                             U.S. Interests


                        transnistria and russia


    The destination for an estimated 300,000 ethnic Russians 
under Soviet resettlement policies and host of key Soviet-era 
military-industrial enterprises, Transnistria still enjoys 
privileged relations with and access to Moscow. The main 
thoroughfare of Tiraspol, Transnistria's ``capital,'' is 
adorned with placards of Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, and 
polls indicate that the most popular politician among 
Transnistrians is Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin. 
Although Transnistria is wedged between Moldova proper and 
Ukraine, both of which openly seek European Union accession, 
Transnistrian authorities look east, seeking assimilation with 
Russia; with the nearest Russian border over 350 miles away, 
Transnistria would become another Russian exclave similar to 
Kaliningrad on the Baltic coast. In addition to 500 Russian 
peacekeepers under the JCC who guard Transnistria's boundaries, 
bridges, and strategic assets, 700-1,000 additional Russian 
forces guard ammunition depots left behind by the Soviet 14th 
Army. After U.S. missile defense plans were unveiled for 
Romania in 2010, Transnistrian ``President'' Igor Smirnov 
offered to host an emplacement of Russian Iskander missiles; 
Russia declined.
    Transnistrian politics and economics remain heavily 
influenced by Russia. Its parallel administrative structures 
include a ``parliament'' called the Supreme Soviet; its 
currency, along with only Belarus and Russia, is called the 
ruble; and its citizens and industry rely on substantial energy 
and economic subsidies (and passports) \3\ from Moscow. 
Russian-owned Gazprom possesses a controlling stake in 
Moldovagaz, which offers Transnistria subsidized energy 
purchases, while holding the Moldovan Government in Chisinau 
responsible for Transnistria's mounting energy debt, now over 
$2.1 billion. Moreover, Transnistria has marginalized the 
Moldovan/Romanian language in Latin script that is used in the 
rest of Moldova in favor of Russian in Cyrillic script. Civil 
society and free media have also been heavily restricted, and 
human rights abuses, including torture and arbitrary detention, 
are regularly reported. Still, no nation, including Russia, has 
recognized Transnistria's independence.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \3\ An estimated 120,000 of the 555,000 residents of Transnistria 
are reportedly Russian citizens.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Transnistrian and Russian authorities contend that the 
Russian-led peacekeeping force has been a nearly unqualified 
success, pointing to the lack of political violence since 1992. 
However, relative tranquility between Transnistria and Moldova 
proper has benefited equally from relative ethnic homogeneity; 
\4\ sustained people-to-people contacts; and the near complete 
lack of any offensive military capacity in Moldova.\5\ 
Moreover, Transnistria's status has allowed its leadership to 
escape sustained pressure for its significant shortcomings in 
the realm of civil and political freedoms and has left its 
residents isolated from their European peers.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \4\ Despite Transnistrian fealty towards Moscow, the dispute is not 
based predominantly on ethnicity, unlike other frozen conflicts in the 
former Soviet Union. The ethnic composition of Transnistria is 
comprised of ethnic Moldovans/Romanians (40 percent), Ukrainians (28 
percent), and Russians (23 percent). The ethnic composition of the rest 
of Moldova consists of Moldovans/Romanians (83 percent), Ukrainians (7 
percent), and Russians (1.7 percent).
    \5\ In addition to Russian troops and equipment, Transnistria 
itself maintains an estimated 2,000-4,000 indigenous troops under arms 
consisting of a T-34 tank battalion, an anti-aircraft regiment, and 
motorized rifle brigades; Transnistrian authorities also maintain an 
internal security contingent of an estimated 2,000 troops and Black Sea 
Cossack militiamen. Analysts view this force capacity to far surpass 
Moldova's own: Moldova maintains only 5,000 troops, no tanks, and a 
deteriorating air force consisting of 8-10 MIG jets.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Moldovan officials remain hopeful that the Russian-led 
peacekeeping forces can be transitioned into a truly 
international civilian force but remain prepared to consider a 
continued Russian civilian role in any future mission. 
Transnistrian ``President'' Igor Smirnov, however, has warned 
that replacement of Russian peacekeepers with an international 
contingent will lead to ``new bloodshed.''


                  conventional armed forces in europe


    For the past decade, U.S. policy in Moldova has focused 
largely on issues relating to the Conventional Armed Forces in 
Europe (CFE) Treaty. The CFE Treaty was signed in 1990 among 22 
states and placed limits on five categories of treaty-limited 
equipment (TLE)\6\ between two Groups of States, 16 NATO 
members and 
6 former Warsaw Pact countries.\7\ Moldova was not an original 
signatory to the Treaty but acceded in 1992 following the 
Tashkent Agreement that divided erstwhile Soviet TLE among its 
successor republics. During this process, Transnistria became a 
repository for over 40,000 tons of weapons and ammunition left 
by the Soviet 14th Army at the Colbasna depot and Tiraspol 
airfield. Since 1992, Russia has also reportedly transferred 
approximately 18 T-64 tanks to Transnistrian authorities, as 
well as BM-21 GRAD rocket systems.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \6\ Limits are included for Tanks (20,000 units), Armored Carrier 
Vehicles (30,000), Artillery (20,000), Combat Aircraft (6,800), and 
Attack Helicopters (2,000).
    \7\ The CFE Treaty also includes limits on individual state TLE 
holdings; geographical limits to prevent a destabilizing concentration 
of conventional forces along the primary military approaches through 
Central Europe, where a Soviet-led attack was seen most likely; and 
``flank'' limits in northern Europe, southern Europe, and the Caucasus, 
where NATO was adjacent to the Warsaw Pact.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    In Moldova, the CFE Treaty has served predominantly as a 
vehicle for advancing the notion of ``host nation consent,'' 
the modest but fundamental concept that military forces should 
not be stationed on an independent nation's soil without that 
nation's consent. In 1999, simultaneous to revisions to the CFE 
Treaty,\8\ Moscow made a series of agreements, known today as 
the ``Istanbul Commitments,'' pledging to remove CFE TLE from 
within Moldova's internationally recognized borders by 2001 and 
all equipment by 2002.\9\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \8\ These revisions resulted in the Adapted CFE Treaty, which was 
ratified by Russia in 2004 but has not been ratified by any member of 
NATO.
    \9\ Specifically, Russia committed ``to complete withdrawal of 
[all] Russian forces from the territory of Moldova by the end of 
2002.'' Moldova also renounced ``the right to receive a temporary 
deployment on its territory due to its Constitutional provisions which 
control and prohibit any presence of foreign military forces on the 
territory of Moldova.''
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    The 2001 TLE deadline was met by Russia, but its pledge to 
fully withdraw has not been fulfilled. Half of the arms at 
Colbasna had been removed or destroyed under OSCE monitoring by 
2004, but since then, removal has ceased. In response to 
Russian claims that it could not afford further removal, the 
OSCE continues to make available a $5.5 million voluntary fund 
to fully finance the destruction of the remaining armaments. 
Consistent with the U.S. Senate's Resolution of Advice and 
Consent to the CFE Flank Document in 1997,\10\ the United 
States and NATO allies have insisted since 2002 that 
ratification of the Adapted CFE Treaty would not be sought 
until the Russian Federation fulfilled its commitment to 
withdraw remaining forces from Georgia and Moldova.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \10\ The United States Senate's 1997 Resolution of Advice and 
Consent to the CFE Flank Document included a condition for ratification 
that ``Nothing in the CFE Flank Document shall be construed as altering 
the policy of the United States to achieve the immediate and complete 
withdrawal of any armed forces and military equipment under the control 
of the Russian Federation that are deployed on the territories of the 
independent states of the former Soviet Union . . . without the full 
and complete agreement of those states.''
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Moldovan and international officials do not view the 
equipment as a military threat as such but report that the 
ammunition is held under dangerous conditions, posing a threat 
to civilians.\11\ Although Transnistrian authorities claim 
inheritance of the equipment under the Tashkent Agreement, 
international officials do 
not believe that Moscow would agree to this reasoning but 
suggest that it acquiesces because it serves Russia's interest 
in maintaining sway with Transnistrian authorities and 
preserving a cordon sani-
taire against NATO expansion.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \11\ Some international officials suggest that Russia impedes 
greater international access partly because it would be embarrassed by 
the condition of the equipment.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Amid growing distrust in NATO-Russia relations and Russia's 
revisionist posture towards a raft of agreements, Russia 
announced ``suspension'' of its implementation of the CFE 
Treaty on July 14, 2007, an action of dubious legality under 
the terms of the treaty and under customary international law. 
Russia specifically cited its frustration with NATO's 
reluctance to ratify the 1999 Adapted CFE Treaty until Russia 
fulfilled its pledges to Moldova and Georgia, to which a 
similar commitment was made. CFE Treaty discussions remain at 
an impasse, and Russia appears disinclined to fulfill its 1999 
pledge.


               trafficking in uranium, arms, and persons


    Corruption within Transnistria's law enforcement 
institutions and its absence of civil society watchdog groups 
have allowed Transnistria to fester as a source of trafficking 
in persons, arms, and other illicit goods. In 2010, Moldovan 
authorities broke up a criminal ring in Chisinau with reported 
ties to Transnistria that attempted to sell four pounds of 
uranium-238, reportedly worth $11 million on the black market, 
that could be converted to plutonium-239 (fissile material for 
nuclear weapons) or a dirty bomb. In the past, authorities have 
seized weapons, including anti-tank grenade launchers without 
serial numbers (ideal for trafficking) that were reportedly 
manufactured in Transnistria.
    In 2005, the European Union Border Assistance Mission 
(EUBAM) partnered with the Governments of Ukraine and Moldova 
to address border control challenges through seven offices in 
Ukraine and Moldova. EUBAM does not monitor in Transnistria 
itself but has built indigenous customs and border patrol 
capacity along the border with Ukraine to intercept and deter 
illicit trade.
    EUBAM also facilitates enforcement of a common registration 
system, whereby exporters of goods from Transnistria must 
obtain Moldovan export certification. Although some exporters 
continue to operate outside the system, this arrangement 
promotes Moldovan sovereignty, prevents importers from 
circumventing Moldovan customs and excise duties, and confers 
to legitimate Transnistrian exporters the trade preferences 
associated with Moldova's status as a member of the World Trade 
Organization.


                           5 + 2 status talks


    In talks over the past 17 years to reintegrate Transnistria 
with the rest of Moldova, several federalist structures have 
been explored, but none has received sufficient traction.\12\ 
Prompted by Transnistria's alleged failure to bargain in good 
faith, the European Union and United States implemented travel 
sanctions against senior officials in Tiraspol in 2003. The 
international status of Transnistria is currently being 
addressed through the ``Five plus Two'' talks under the 
auspices of the OSCE, to which the United States is 
observer.\13\ The last official ``Five plus Two'' meeting 
occurred in 2006, but informal meetings occur four to six times 
annually at the OSCE Secretariat in Vienna, where 33 discrete 
issues focused predominantly on access and confidence-building 
measures with Transnistria are discussed.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \12\ The Kiev Document of 2002 envisioned a federal state built on 
a ``contractual basis''; Moldova rejected this plan, in part due to its 
purported conferral to Transnistria of equal status under international 
law. The 2003 Constitutional Initiative, presented by then Moldovan 
President Vladimir Voronin, invited Transnistria to co-author a new 
Constitution for the Republic of Moldova based on a federal structure 
but faltered due to Transnistria's preference for a confederation or 
contractual arrangement between two equal political units that would 
lack a strong central authority. The Kozak Memorandum, negotiated 
mostly in secret by Russian presidential advisor Dmitry Kozak with 
Transnistrian and Moldovan authorities in 2003 without input from OSCE 
mediators, envisioned an asymmetric federation granting Transnistria 
expansive powers, which, analysts contend, would have nearly enshrined 
the status quo. Upon discovery of the document, the OSCE, EU, and 
United States intervened and noted that the arrangement would be 
detrimental to Moldova's relationship with Europe, and Moldova 
ultimately rejected the memorandum as unconstitutional.
    \13\ The talks between Moldovan and de facto Transnistrian 
authorities are mediated by Russia, Ukraine, and the OSCE (the ``5''), 
with the European Union and the United States serving as observers 
since 2005 (the ``2''). In practice, however, officials report that the 
roles of mediators and observers are indistinguishable.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    In June 2010, German Chancellor Angela Merkel provided 
impetus for renewed settlement talks by challenging Russian 
President Medvedev that Transnistria would be used as a test 
case for deeper EU-Russia security cooperation. In exchange for 
restarting the negotiations within the ``Five plus Two'' format 
and for Russia's fulfillment of its 1999 pledge to withdraw its 
troops and materiel from Moldova, Chancellor Merkel agreed to 
explore the creation of an EU-Russia political and security 
committee, a forum long coveted by Moscow.\14\ The proposal was 
again tabled at the German-Russian-French Summit at Deauville 
in October 2010.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \14\ These elements were enshrined in the June 2010 Merkel-Medvedev 
``Meseberg Memorandum,'' which envisaged a committee that could be 
charged to cooperate ``towards a resolution of the Transnistria 
conflict with a view to achieve tangible progress within the 
established 5 + 2 format.''
---------------------------------------------------------------------------


              supporting moldova's pro-western government


    Since independence, Moldova has struggled to implement 
reforms due to ineffective public institutions, a moribund 
economy, and political capital spent dealing with the 
separatist conflict in Transnistria. From 2001 to 2009, Moldova 
was governed by leaders from the Party of Communists, until 
their plurality victory in April 2009 parliamentary elections 
sparked civil unrest and a subsequent crackdown by government 
forces. Known today as the ``Twitter revolution,'' the 
Government's violence provoked a backlash in the subsequent 
snap election as voters sent to power a coalition of reform-
minded politicians, the Alliance for European Integration, who 
were strongly oriented towards the European Union. Its 
parliamentary majority was re-affirmed in November 2010 
elections, but AEI has lacked the supermajority required to 
elect a President, a conundrum that could result in new 
parliamentary elections and further political uncertainty 
(Moldova has experienced three national parliamentary 
elections, four unsuccessful parliamentary votes to elect a 
president, and a nationwide referendum since April 2009). 
Russian and Transnistrian authorities have used this 
uncertainty as a pretext for spurning formal status 
discussions.
    Nonetheless, the AEI coalition has expressed an unequivocal 
ambition for Moldova to join the European Union, which would be 
a milestone as the first member of the post-Soviet Commonwealth 
of Independent States to achieve such status. AEI has pushed 
through important institutional and market-oriented reforms and 
has exhibited a respect for civil society and media freedoms 
that its Communist predecessors lacked, although execution of 
such reforms remains a substantial challenge.
    Boundary and access issues with Transnistria continue to 
saddle Moldova's path towards Western institutions, especially 
with regard to visa policy. While firmer boundary controls with 
Transnistria could propel Moldova's EU ambitions, such an 
eventuality would also favor separatists by creating greater 
political separation between Transnistria and Moldova proper. 
Consequently, broader progress on Transnistrian status issues 
will be essential for moving Moldova and the entire region 
closer to Western institutions.

                            Recommendations

    The recent political developments in Moldova and the high-
level attention paid by allied leaders to the situation in 
Transnistria offer the United States an opportunity to enlist 
similar attention to resume negotiations over Transnistria and 
build support for Moldova's Western aspirations. Specifically, 
the United States Government should:


   Devote high-level diplomatic attention to restarting status 
        talks over Transnistria to build on similar efforts 
        launched by the German and French Governments. Decades 
        of experience suggest that U.S. leadership on issues of 
        European security remains indispensible. A durable 
        settlement would advance political stability and 
        economic growth in all of Moldova; assist in moving the 
        region towards Western institutions; curtail 
        trafficking in illicit goods and persons and 
        marginalize those who prosper from such trade; and 
        enhance the protections of individual rights and 
        freedoms in Transnistria.

   Advocate transitioning the Russia-led peacekeeping 
        arrangement into an international civilian force. 
        Military tensions between the parties to the 1992 
        conflict have been all but eliminated, and the 
        remaining arms depots and military peacekeeping forces 
        have become anachronistic. A past U.S. proposal that 
        merits reconsideration is the deployment of an 
        international fact-finding mission to establish 
        baseline transparency, which could serve as an initial 
        step towards the deployment of a truly international 
        civilian or police mission under the aegis of the EU, 
        OSCE, or NATO-Russia Council.

   Emphasize to the Russian Federation that its assistance in 
        brokering a settlement in Transnistria, and other 
        conflict regions in Eurasia, would serve as an 
        illustration that developments in NATO-Russia relations 
        can tangibly advance Eastern European security and that 
        relationships in the post-Soviet sphere are not ``zero 
        sum.''

   Consider utilizing, if an arrangement is reached for the 
        complete withdrawal of Russian military equipment from 
        Moldova, authority under the Conventional Arms 
        Disarmament Act (Section 11 of Public Law 109-472) to 
        provide additional funding to safeguard and eliminate 
        small arms, light weapons, stockpiled munitions, 
        abandoned ordnance, and other conventional weapons 
        systems left in the region.

   Continue to affirm that discussions concerning conventional 
        arms control in Europe will be guided by the need for 
        progress on the principle of host nation consent for 
        the stationing of foreign military forces, reflected in 
        the Senate's 1997 Resolution of Advice and Consent to 
        the CFE Flank Document, which stated that ``Nothing . . 
        . shall be construed as altering the policy of the 
        United States to achieve the immediate and complete 
        withdrawal of any armed forces and military equipment 
        under the control of the Russian Federation that are 
        deployed on the territories of the independent states 
        of the former Soviet Union . . . without the full and 
        complete agreement of those states.''

   Work to repeal Jackson-Vanik trade restrictions on Moldova, 
        which would serve as a basis for improving bilateral 
        trade relations between the United States and Moldova. 
        Moldova has been found to be in compliance with 
        Jackson-Vanik-related concerns and is already a member 
        of the World Trade Organization. A bill to extend 
        permanent normal trade relations treatment to the 
        products of Moldova (S. 334) was introduced by Senator 
        Lugar in the 111th Congress and will be reintroduced in 
        the 112th Congress.

   Explore the development of a U.S.-Moldovan partnership 
        charter to institutionalize cooperation across the 
        bilateral agenda.

   Provide technical assistance to the Government of Moldova 
        in the realm of institutional reform and economic 
        growth, which will enable more foreign investment to 
        Moldova. Although the World Bank placed Moldova among 
        the top 10 Most Improved Business Reformers in 2010, it 
        still ranks 19th out of 25 countries in Eastern Europe 
        and Central Asia in its 2011 Ease of Doing Business 
        report, behind many of its peers in Eastern Europe, 
        including Romania, Belarus, and Bulgaria.

   Offer regular briefings to the Senate Foreign Relations 
        Committee on the status of negotiations over 
        Transnistria and other protracted conflicts.