(Washington) - The United States Helsinki Commission will hold a hearing to examine the situation in Moldova, with a specific focus on developments in the Transdniestria region and the promised withdrawal of Russian military forces as well as armaments and ammunition from Moldova.
After years of delay and uncertainty, the Russian Government appears to be progressing with its agreement to remove its armed forces and military equipment from the nation of Moldova in accordance with the 1999 Istanbul Declaration of the Organization for Security and Cooperation (OSCE) and the 1990 Conventional Forces in Europe Treaty (CFE). Heavy weaponry is supposed to be removed or destroyed by the end of this year. Russian armed forces are to be withdrawn by the end of 2002. Implementation of the agreements is being partially assisted by a voluntary fund established under the auspices of the OSCE.
Moldova: Are the Russian Troops Really Leaving?
Tuesday, September 25, 2001
2:00 PM – 4:00 PM
334 Cannon House Office Building
Testifying before the Commission will be:
Ambassador Steven Pifer
, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State, Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs, U.S. Department of State
Ambassador Ceslav Ciobanu
, Ambassador of the Republic of Moldova to the United States
Dr. Kimmo Kiljunen
, Member of the Parliament of Finland and Chairman of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly’s Working Group on Moldova
Ambassador William Hill
, Head of the OSCE Mission to Moldova
Dr. Charles King
, Assistant Professor, School of Foreign Service and Department of Government at Georgetown University.
Russia’s continued military presence in Moldova has been an unresolved and contentious issue since the breakup of the Soviet Union, when units of the Soviet 14th Army (now known as the Operative Group of Russian Forces) remained stationed in the Transdniestria region of Moldova.
Some elements of the 14th Army reportedly assisted the pro-Moscow leadership of Transdniestria to secede from Moldova in 1991-2 and establish an unrecognized political entity known as the Dniestr Moldovan Republic (DMR). The current leadership of the DMR has strenuously protested the recent destruction of tanks and armored combat vehicles, seeking to secure some of the hardware for itself.
The removal of Russian troops, armaments, and ammunition from Moldova has been a recurring issue at negotiations of the 55-member OSCE. The OSCE has repeatedly called for the withdrawal of Russian troops from Moldova. The OSCE Mission to Moldova was established in 1993 to “facilitate a lasting political settlement of the [Transdniestria] conflict,” encourage and agree on foreign troop withdrawal, and provide advice and expertise on human rights issues. The OSCE Parliamentary Assembly has played an active role in calling for the withdrawal of Russian forces and seeking a political resolution of the conflict in the Transdniestria region.
The United States Helsinki Commission, an independent federal agency, by law monitors and encourages progress in implementing provisions of the Helsinki Accords. The Commission, created in 1976, is composed of nine Senators, nine Representatives and one official each from the Departments of State, Defense and Commerce. Additional information about the Commission is available on the Internet at http://www.csce.gov.