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From Confidence Tricks to Confidence Building Resolving Conflict

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					                                         From Confidence Tricks to
                                         Confidence Building:
                                         Resolving Conflict in the
                                         OSCE Area
                                                                                                                                     M AY 2 0 1 1


This meeting note was prepared by        On April 3, 2011, the International Peace Institute (IPI) convened in its Vienna
Walter Kemp, Director for Europe         office a meeting to discuss confidence-building measures in the OSCE area. The
and Central Asia, with assistance        meeting's participants included representatives of the OSCE’s participating
from Ian Hrovatin and David              states, executive structures, and Parliamentary Assembly, as well as interna-
Muckenhuber, all of IPI Vienna.          tional experts. Discussions were held under the Chatham House Rule of
It is based on written and oral          nonattribution.
contributions made by participants
at a workshop on confidence-             Background
building measures in the OSCE area.
It reflects the rapporteur's interpre-   The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) was a
tation of the discussions and does       pioneer in introducing confidence- and security-building measures (CSBMs).
not necessarily represent the views      For example, it did so in the 1986 and 1994 Vienna Documents, which have
of all other participants.               since been updated. These measures are designed to improve transparency
Sharpening its international profile     and predictability in achieving disarmament, and to build trust between
and broadening its reach to Europe       parties, in order to reduce tensions and avoid the use of force. CSBMs have
and beyond, IPI announced the            been instrumental in reducing tensions in, for example, Southeastern Europe
establishment of its new Vienna
                                         and the South Caucasus.
office in September 2010.
IPI has had a forty-one-year partner-
                                           However, the nature of conflict has changed. Inter-ethnic disputes,
ship with Austria, manifested by the     intrastate conflicts, and low-level, multicausal conflicts (e.g., concerning
annual Vienna Seminar that brings        language, education, use of symbols, and power-sharing) are replacing the
together policymakers, academics,        more traditional interstate conflicts, which were previously the domain of
and military experts to discuss          highly centralized political and military commands. Economic issues and
pressing issues of peace and             transnational threats are also having an increasing impact on stability.
security, and to explore ways of
                                           As the causes and types of conflicts change, so too must the responses. There
improving the global system of
conflict prevention and risk manage-
                                         may be occasions when nonmilitary confidence-building measures (CBMs)
ment.                                    can play a key role in reducing tensions. Examples include people-to-people
                                         contacts; joint solutions to humanitarian problems; cultural, educational, and
An independent, international, not-
for-profit think tank, IPI was
                                         sports exchanges; and joint economic projects. Such measures should be
founded in 1970 in New York and          considered as part of a cumulative process to increase confidence and build
since its inception has occupied         understanding between communities. This is vital for preventing conflict and
offices across from United Nations       fostering postconflict rehabilitation.
headquarters. The Vienna office is         During the Corfu process (initiated in 2009 to strengthen the effectiveness
the first that IPI has created outside   of the OSCE), OSCE participating states on several occasions discussed the
of New York.
                                         need to strengthen confidence-building measures. For example, in the context
IPI owes a debt of thanks to its many    of enhancing the role of the OSCE in early warning, conflict prevention, and
generous     donors,     particularly
                                         resolution, there was a call for the organization to pay more attention to CBMs
Austria, Liechtenstein, Lithuania,
                                         among affected communities. CBMs were also discussed in the context of
and the United States, whose
support made this publication
                                         further developing the OSCE’s cross-dimensional approach to security.1
possible.
                                         1 See OSCE, Interim Report Summarizing Proposals Put Forward Within the Corfu Process, OSCE Doc.
                                           CIO.GAL/117/10, July 2, 2010.
2                                                                                                                             MEETING NOTE




  In the Astana Commemorative Declaration of                                            Confidence building is inherently about creating
December 2, 2010, OSCE participating states                                           the right context for peace processes to be
reaffirmed their commitment “to strengthen                                            successful. By changing relations and behavior, one
security, trust and good-neighborly relations                                         can create a new context for resolving a conflict.
among our States and peoples.” They also                                              Following this logic, CBMs are about steps that can
recognized that the OSCE “continues to provide a                                      give your opponent confidence in you as a reliable,
unique forum” for “promoting open dialogue,                                           accountable, and trustworthy interlocutor.
preventing and settling conflicts, building mutual                                       The underlying premise is that small steps are a
understanding and fostering co-operation.”                                            necessary means to foster an improved political
Furthermore,      they    acknowledged        “the                                    climate and lead to further steps, agreements, and,
Organization’s significant role in establishing                                       ultimately, cooperative relations. However, CBMs
effective confidence- and security-building                                           are not about package resolutions to conflicts, but
measures.”2                                                                           about measures to change the climate in which
  What are CBMs? How are they different from,                                         these more complex and fundamental issues can be
and complementary to, CSBMs? How can they be                                          negotiated.
more effectively applied in the OSCE area? This was                                     It was observed that communication is an
the focus of a workshop hosted by IPI on April 3,                                     indispensible, but not sufficient, component of
2011. The meeting was held on the eve of the “5+2”                                    building trust and confidence. Other essential
negotiations—involving Moldova, Transdniestria,                                       ingredients are political will and interlocutors who
the three mediators (Russia, Ukraine, and the                                         demonstrate integrity, act with predictability, and
OSCE), and two observers (the United States and                                       remain consistent in their policies.
the European Union)—which are designed to
                                                                                        CBMs should come from the bottom up as well as
promote the settlement of the Moldovan-
                                                                                      the top down. Indeed, the former can stimulate the
Transdniestrian conflict. This meeting report
                                                                                      latter. Several years after a conflict, people on either
reflects the discussions during the workshop.
                                                                                      side of the divide may no longer know each other.
                                                                                      Cooperation in the spheres of education, trade,
What are CBMs?                                                                        culture, sport, or tourism can bring people back
The first panel looked at CBMs in general,                                            together, and create new bonds that overcome old
including lessons learned and examples from                                           misunderstandings. Joint research and study tours
international experience.                                                             can also open up new channels of thinking and ways
                                                                                      of communicating. Civil society can be the
  The first speaker characterized CBMs as “an
                                                                                      vanguard for stimulating such people-to-people
essential element of repairing any distorted
                                                                                      contacts.
relationships by de-demonizing the other.” He
underlined the challenge of changing the historical                                     Such contacts are most beneficial when they
perception and narrative of each party to the                                         address real daily needs; for example, cooperation
conflict.                                                                             among fire departments, police, and people dealing
                                                                                      with humanitarian issues or natural disasters. In
  Another speaker said that effective confidence
                                                                                      this way, small, practical steps at the community
building is about demonstrating a commitment to
                                                                                      level can create a public climate conducive to
seeing the other side receive a dividend. In doing
                                                                                      higher-level political cooperation.
so, the credibility of the demonstrator is enhanced
and there is greater confidence that current and                                        Events can trigger CBMs, even unintentionally.
future commitments will be fulfilled, thereby                                         Examples include sports diplomacy (like the recent
creating a positive or beneficial spiral in relations.                                India-Pakistan cricket match during the World
Thus, confidence building is about honoring                                           Cup and the Armenia-Turkey football match) and
agreements, so that deeds and not just words can be                                   natural-disaster diplomacy, leading to support
taken seriously in order to reshape relationships.                                    programs in situations after earthquakes or



2 Astana Commemorative Declaration, 2010, available at http://summit2010.osce.org/sites/default/files/documents/444.pdf .
                                                                                                               3




tsunamis, as was the case between Turkey and                 A participant explained how the purpose of
Greece and between Indonesia and Aceh.                     CBMs changes over time. In the short term, they
  In some cases, a political gesture may create the        aim to arrest an escalating crisis before the outbreak
opening for reconciliation. As one speaker pointed         of major violence or to stabilize an immediate post-
out, gestures of political will that signal positive       ceasefire situation. In the medium term, CBMs are
intent can be a significant contribution to                meant to increase contact and trust between conflict
confidence building. He stressed that one should           parties and socialize them into a new approach to
not underestimate the power of symbolism to shift          addressing their dispute. In the long term, they can
perceptions and change the way opponents see one           play a crucial role in paving the way to, and
another, because symbolic acts can demonstrate             sustaining, a meaningful conflict settlement.
that a party is prepared to take seriously the               The case of Northern Ireland was cited: for
interests, concerns, and grievances of its current or      example, a joint declaration in 1993 by the British
erstwhile opponent.                                        and Irish prime ministers gave essential commit-
  One example is Willy Brandt in 1970 kneeling at          ments to the conflict parties in Northern Ireland
the monument to the victims of the Warsaw Ghetto           about both the principal parameters of a settlement
Uprising, a gesture that contributed to a context in       and assured them that no solution would be
which West Germany and Poland were able to sign            imposed without their consent. It required a
a peace treaty and a border agreement (a policy of         cessation of violence in exchange for inclusive
“change through rapprochement”). Other unilat-             talks. This quasi-unilateral declaration by the two
eral steps aimed at building confidence include            governments thus offered a concrete inducement,
Anwar Sadat’s November 1977 trip to Jerusalem              essentially to Sinn Féin and the IRA to end their
and address to the Knesset, which eventually paved         campaign of violence and enter a meaningful
the way to the Camp David Accords of 1978;                 negotiation process. Over the next five years, a
Mikhail Gorbachev’s speech before the United               negotiation process took place which eventually led
Nations in 1988, which signaled the end of the Cold        to the Good Friday Agreement in 1998. The
War; and, more recently—and perhaps as yet                 Northern Ireland example illustrates the need for
unfulfilled in all their aspirations—Barack Obama’s        reciprocity in order to achieve progress and the
June 2009 Cairo speech pledging a new beginning            need for credibility in order to ensure that offers
between the US and Muslims around the world and            are seen as genuine and are followed up on.
his earlier initiative to “reset” relations with Russia.      While concessions or symbolic gestures are
  It was pointed out that there is no blueprint for        important, success is more likely if they are part of
CBMs. Parties—or interested local groups—need              an orchestrated process that enables the action to be
to identify opportunities and issues, and have the         followed up on, and ideally, to be reciprocated. The
courage to reach out to the other side. Over time,         1955 Bonn-Copenhagen Declarations, for example,
such actions can build trust among adversaries, and        were coordinated, simultaneous unilateral declara-
lead to joint processes and shared objectives.             tions by the West German and Danish governments
                                                           on the treatment of each other’s national minorities.
  Another speaker defined confidence-building
                                                           They were almost immediately followed by relevant
measures as having the objective to prevent,
                                                           changes in the legal and policy frameworks for the
manage, and resolve crises that are likely to escalate
                                                           treatment of the German minority in Denmark and
into violent conflicts between states or between
                                                           the Danish minority in Germany, thus bringing to
states and nonstate actors. CBMs can be unilateral,
                                                           an end a long-standing disagreement between the
bilateral, or multilateral depending on the nature of
                                                           two states and removing an important obstacle to
the conflict. They are often facilitated and
                                                           West Germany’s NATO membership.
supported by third parties, including regional and
international governmental and nongovernmental               Another speaker pointed out how the opening of
organizations. CBMs can be military, diplomatic,           borders, ports, and transit corridors can build
political, or cultural in their nature, and they can be    confidence. For example, starting in 1974 the Green
applied equally in conflicts between, across, and          Line partitioned Cyprus and acted as a de facto
within states.                                             border administered by the United Nations. In
4                                                                                               MEETING NOTE




April 2003, in support of UN-sponsored negotia-             dimension to domestic legal and constitutional
tions, Turkish Cypriots opened crossing points on           guarantees. An example of “pre-negotiation”
the Green Line. Similarly, Israel has regularly closed      confidence building is the 1994 Framework
its borders to Palestinians because of security             Agreement for the Resumption of the Negotiating
concerns. In 2005, Israel and the Palestinian               Process in Guatemala in which the parties agreed
Authority negotiated an Agreement on Movement               on a range of parameters and subjected their
and Access, which opened a series of Israeli-run            commitments to verification by the UN. The 2001
checkpoints to Palestinians and Palestinian goods.          Ohrid Framework Agreement included specific
The 1979 peace agreement between Israel and Egypt           amendments to the constitution of the former
guaranteed Israeli ships and ships travelling to and        Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, as well as
from Israel the right of free passage through the           specifics on individual laws to be changed.
Suez Canal. In this situation, the confidence-                Of equal significance for lasting confidence is a
building measures of regular transit service between        joint commitment by the parties concerning
Israel and Egypt served to help reinforce and               dispute-resolution mechanisms in case of disagree-
consolidate the 1979 peace treaty.                          ments over the implementation or subsequent
   Once substantive political negotiations                  interpretation of such a law. This frequently takes
commence, confidence building remains essential             the form of references to special domestic or mixed
if momentum toward a sustainable settlement is to           domestic-international dispute-resolution bodies
be maintained. Here, regional and international             (such as the Joint Council established under the
organizations play an important role, especially in         2002 Aceh Ceasefire Agreement or the National
relation to security issues, and it is at this stage that   Human Rights Commission foreseen in the 2006
confidence building often requires and allows a             Comprehensive Peace Agreement for Nepal) or the
more bilateral approach—that is, the parties are            constitutional court or equivalent judicial bodies
able to agree to joint measures and initiatives rather      (such as provided for in the 2001 Bougainville
than relying on unilateral, albeit reciprocal, steps.       Peace Agreement). Dispute-resolution mechanisms
   For example, in the 1997 Protocol on Military            can also be international in nature, such as those
Issues to end the civil war in Tajikistan, the conflict     established by the 2003 Comprehensive Peace
parties requested that the United Nations through           Agreement for Liberia and its reference to dispute
its observer mission monitor the process of                 settlement through ECOWAS-led mediation in
implementation of agreements. Agreeing to                   collaboration with the African Union and UN, or
appoint an impartial third party to monitor and             the 1994 Quadripartite Agreement on Abkhazia,
verify implementation of the various negotiated             which gave a specific role in dispute settlement to
agreements increased both sides’ confidence in              the Russian Federation and the UN High
each other’s willingness to uphold their commit-            Commissioner for Refugees.
ments. In the 1996 Sierra Leone peace agreement,              More generally, international or regional organi-
the parties established an international Neutral            zations can enable such confidence-building
Monitoring Group responsible for monitoring and             measures by providing monitoring and verification
investigating breaches of the ceasefire. The 2006           “services.” These have a specific and often narrow
Comprehensive Peace Agreement for Nepal                     mandate (including limited duration), and limited
confined Maoist rebel troops to cantonments                 enforcement powers, as, for example, illustrated by
under UN supervision.                                       the EU Observer Mission in Georgia, the
  Confidence building is also important when                EU/ASEAN Aceh Monitoring Mission, and the UN
parties move into formal, substantive negotiations          Verification Mission in Guatemala. Beyond their
and reach an agreement. Here the main issue is              role to verify and monitor ceasefires, disarmament,
about achieving mutual confidence in the                    and demobilization, such international missions
durability of an agreement. In other words, parties         are used frequently in relation to human rights
need to commit to guarantees for their final                provisions in conflict settlements (such as in the
conflict-settlement agreements and third parties            2006 Comprehensive Peace Agreement for Nepal)
can be helpful in adding an international legal             and more broadly in the monitoring of agreement
                                                                                                             5




implementation (such as in the 1999 Lomé Peace             Another speaker summarized the optimal
Agreement for Sierra Leone).                             characteristics of CBMs, as follows:
  Another speaker pointed out that while third-          • Initiatives must promote a sense of security and
party monitoring is important, over the long term          confidence in a party, not endanger or expose
CBMs are about transforming relationships and              risk.
should therefore operate through self-regulation,        • Measures must be feasible—otherwise they serve
which itself contributes to the transformed                to damage relations and undermine confidence.
behavior and attitudes.
                                                         • Adaptation is possible—there are not set models.
  The relationship between military confidence-
                                                         • CBMs should be separated from final outcomes:
and security-building measures and CBMs was
                                                           process, not product. If a CBM is designed to
explored. The question was asked, Can you have
                                                           promote a desired outcome for one party then it
one without the other? The feeling was that they are
                                                           will be perceived as prejudicing the interest of the
two complementary pillars.
                                                           other party and this latter party will be less
  It was stressed that CBMs need to be regarded as         inclined to engage.
initiatives that can bridge divides not just between
                                                         • It is important to engage in an honest and self-
military protagonists or civilian leaders but
                                                           critical assessment of the needs and fears of the
between societies as well. The degree of permissive-
                                                           other side, to stand in the shoes of the other, and
ness that exists for societal involvement, often
                                                           to not make the mistake of self-deception,
framed as civil-society engagement, says much
                                                           expecting the other side to jettison its bottom
about the political elite’s willingness (including the
                                                           line.
government and opposition) to see more open
societal relations postconflict. Parliamentarians        • CBMs should not be confused with concessions
can play a crucial role: for example, by finding           or pressuring a party to give up something
common ground between elite interests and public           important.
opinion, and by engaging in public policy that can       • It is necessary to promote the CBMs both within
generate the wide support needed for a paradigm            one’s own community and with interlocutors
shift in relations with a former adversary.                across the divide, neither of which is monolithic.
  Indeed, one of the biggest challenges of CBMs is
not only to change perceptions of the former             Experiences in the OSCE
adversary, but to change attitudes at home that          Area
create the possibility of engaging with the other
side. This requires significant internal dialogue to     The second panel examined experience with CBMs
prepare the way. As one speaker put it, confidence       in the OSCE area. CBMs have been used in a
building is not about external actors delivering you     number of cases, for example in Southeastern
something on a plate, and it is not about demanding      Europe and the South Caucasus, and frequently in
something from the other side. Rather, it is about       the work of the OSCE High Commissioner on
demanding something from yourself and your own           National Minorities as a way of reducing tensions
community. He paraphrased John F. Kennedy:               between ethnic groups.
“think not of what your opponent can do for you,           The specific case of Georgia was cited, particu-
but of what you can do for your opponent.”               larly the Economic Rehabilitation Programme,
  It was noted that CBMs are sometimes used in           launched in 2005, that was designed to encourage
isolation, as if they could be brought out of cold       the peaceful resolution of the Georgian and South
storage when politically or tactically expedient, and    Ossetian conflict through investments of human
then put away again. As one speaker put it,              and financial resources in infrastructure rehabilita-
“without a strategic commitment to confidence            tion and economic development in the Zone of
building as a sustained policy to change relations       Conflict. In a joint needs assessment, Georgian and
and behavior, the CBM is a catch phrase, used as a       South Ossetian experts identified joint projects to
means to curry favor with internationals but not to      improve the livelihoods of both sides under the
alter one’s own behavior.”                               auspices of a control commission and a steering
6                                                                                             MEETING NOTE



committee. There was an evident willingness to            One practitioner cautioned that while there may
cooperate at the grass-roots level on a range of        be a formal mutual agreement to promote CBMs,
practical initiatives. The speaker observed that even   some key elements required in theory are most of
after the August 2008 events, there was still a         the time either missing or ignored in practice due
willingness to work together, although this did         to the promotion of selfish agendas. Insistence that
become more difficult. In the discussion that           only one’s own position contains rational elements
followed, it was observed that this case                and a reluctance to accept the validity of arguments
demonstrates how economic confidence-building           put forward by the other side too often prevent
measures cannot be divorced from political CBMs         consensus from being reached on the implementa-
and CSBMs.                                              tion of otherwise reasonable ideas related to CBMs.
  One speaker pointed to the fact that armed            To implement specific CBMs, one needs well-
hostilities in the Southern Caucasus in August 2008     entrenched confidence and trust at the political
revealed the real danger of “unfreezing” and            level. Without the political will of the highest
escalating conflicts. The ability of the OSCE to        decision-making bodies to engage seriously in
handle the early warning and prevention of such         conflict-settlement processes, any noble intentions
crises was questioned.                                  of mediators, however eloquent they may be, will
                                                        not materialize in practical measures, he said.
  He pointed out that contradictions among the
OSCE participating states seriously complicate, and       That said, some positive examples were given,
sometimes block, the possibility of an expedient use    including the Incident Prevention and Response
of all existing instruments. This was evident when      Mechanisms (IPRM) both in the South Ossetia and
trying to reach consensus on the OSCE Action Plan       the Abkhaz contexts. The resumption of the
at the Astana Summit in December 2010.                  Ergnety-Dvani IPRM in 2010, after several months
                                                        of disruption, was cited as a positive example that
  Based on his experience of dealing with conflicts
                                                        consistent efforts of persuasion can turn into
in the OSCE area, one speaker underlined the
                                                        something tangible.
importance of having adequate channels for
normal, regular communication between the                  According to the panelist, to build confidence it
parties to the conflict. He cautioned that mediators    is essential that the tendency to divide issues into
alone cannot achieve much if the conflicting sides      categories of greater and lesser significance is
are still in the process of trying to intimidate,       resisted. If one manages to establish a decent level
blackmail, insult, and threaten each other. He          of trust among conflicting parties while working on
stressed that the time for CBMs comes when heads        humanitarian problems—like clarifying the fate of
are cool, emotions are set aside, and the intention     missing persons or facilitating farmers’ access to
to arrange normal conditions for survival and           pastures and vineyards—then appropriate goodwill
peaceful coexistence under changed circumstances        for dealing with the political issues surrounding the
becomes the leading motivation for accepting            non-use of force and security guarantees can be
mediation services of outside well-wishers.             gradually established, improving the chances for
                                                        regular functioning CBMs. He said that this was the
  In theory, the promotion of CBMs involves the
                                                        case in the area of the Transdniestria settlement.
collective efforts of all the direct and indirect
participants, mediators, and observers to                 He stressed that a rather effective way to
determine major alternative variants of action;         convince the parties to think and to act in a
assess the advantages and disadvantages resulting       constructive manner is to provide them with a map
from the implementation of each of the existing         of problems in the realm of freedom of movement
options; separate the probable from the possible;       of people, goods, and services. Accompanied by
convince the other side to respect the arguments of     relevant recommendations for next steps, such a
the former adversary; resist the temptation to          map can serve as a basis for practical measures on
demand immediate results or set artificial and          the ground, in a way becoming an agreed roadmap
unrealistic deadlines; and adopt, as a matter of        for the implementation of the CBMs.
principle, flexibility as opposed to rigidness as the    “While we may never entirely agree on the past,
way to move the process forward.                        what counts is that we agree on the way forward,
                                                                                                                                                                7



foremost in the realm of CBMs,” he concluded.                                        past twenty years. In that period, the peoples on
  Among the issues raised in the discussion session                                  both sides of the Dniestr River have drifted apart.
was how mediators could encourage the parties to                                     This is why confidence-building measures are so
take the “leap of faith” often necessary to overcome                                 important.
a crisis. The relationship between CSBMs and                                           Indeed, while CBMs were seen as a low priority
CBMs was also discussed. Other points raised                                         in the past,4 there is a growing understanding that
included CBMs concerning national minorities, the                                    measures to promote economic, social, and cultural
danger of politicizing CBMs, and the problem of                                      integration are the cornerstone of the settlement
mainstreaming CBMs into the wider settlement                                         process itself. It was pointed out that CBMs and the
process. It was stressed that confidence building is                                 political settlement (or status talks) should be
a process, and efforts to predetermine the outcome                                   pursued on two parallel tracks. Ideally the two
could be counterproductive insofar as one party                                      processes should be simultaneous and mutually
would feel that a solution was being imposed.                                        reinforcing; however, absence or lack of political
                                                                                     negotiations should not be used as an excuse to halt
CBMs in Moldova                             3
                                                                                     the CBMs.
The third panel of the workshop looked at the past                                     One participant suggested that restoration of a
and present experience of implementing                                               single economic space encompassing Moldova and
confidence-building measures in Moldova, as well                                     Transdniestria is the best way to work toward
as prospects for the future.                                                         political unification. In the initial phase, this
  The long record of attempts to implement CBMs                                      process should focus primarily on dismantling
in Moldova was recalled. It was noted that such                                      artificial barriers to trade, investments, transport,
measures are essential since the major blockage to                                   and the movement of people.
resolving the conflict is lack of trust over political                                 A number of specific measures were proposed for
control (and its implications) rather than any deep-                                 building confidence across the Dniestr River. It was
seated ethnic or religious problem, or territorial                                   suggested that Chisinau could do the following:
dispute.                                                                             1. Enable direct exports by railways. Much can be
  It was explained that the settlement of the                                           done to solve the issue of direct exports from
Transdniestrian conflict has two main components.                                       the Transdniestrian region. According to the
Firstly, at a political level, a settlement is being                                    Moldovan Customs Code, all exports have to be
discussed in the “5+2 format.” Secondly, a more                                         conducted through the Moldovan customs
technical process is being carried out at the level of                                  check points. This leads to unjustifiable
experts in the framework of the “Working Groups”                                        transport costs. EU experts have recommended
in order to build confidence between the two sides                                      direct exports by railways. This arrangement, if
and to find common solutions to problems facing                                         realized, should in no way contradict the
the population due to the unresolved conflict.                                          existing customs regime between Moldova and
  It was noted that there have been numerous                                            Ukraine on the basis of the so called Tarlev-
meetings to hammer out agreements. The problem                                          Yachanurov Declaration of December 30, 2005.
has been implementing these agreements without                                       2. Improve the import system, especially that for
the parties defecting.                                                                  raw materials to the Transdniestrian region. The
  The general view was that the situation in                                            European Union Border Assistance Mission
Moldova is no longer a conflict, and the issues at                                      (EUBAM) long ago presented proposals on the
stake are quite tractable. As one participant put it,                                   scheme of direct imports on the basis of pre-
“the resolution of the Transdniestrian conflict is                                      arrival information exchange between the
one of the lowest hanging fruits in the OSCE area.”                                     customs services of Moldova and Ukraine.
And yet a solution has not been possible for the                                     3. Resume railway traffic. This is crucial, not only

3 For more on confidence-building measures in Moldova, see Walter Kemp, “Bridge over the Dniestr: Confidence-Building Measures in Moldova,” New York:
  International Peace Institute, March 2011.
4 The point was raised that numerous agreements have been made between the parties in the past twenty years: over 170 by one estimate. Some contain CBMs. But
  few have been followed up, and a systematic revision should be carried out.
8                                                                                              MEETING NOTE



      for Transdniestria, but also since the Odessa-     ordinary people on both sides of the Dniestr River.
      Tiraspol-Chisinau railway line is part of the        But what will it take to implement such
      ninth European transport corridor, linked to       measures? And why hasn’t there been progress thus
      the Baltics and Northern Europe via the            far?
      “Viking” line.
                                                           One observer suggested that some influential
4. Open corresponding accounts by Trans-                 parties were actually quite comfortable with the
   dniestrian banks at Moldovan banks.                   status quo. He suggested that there is in fact a great
5. Share international cargo permits.                    deal of confidence between certain influential
6. Cancel the environmental fee for Trans-               parties on both sides of the river. However, this
   dniestrian companies.                                 kind of confidence serves private interests over the
                                                         public good. “Personalities often making nasty
7. Register the Transdniestrian Chamber of
                                                         references to one another in public appear to have
   Commerce and Industry in Chisinau.
                                                         great mutual interest in secretly collaborating on
8. Cancel the ban on exports of grain.                   making piles of money off the current stalemate,”
9. Enable the import to the Transdniestrian              remarked one observer. He said that “looking at the
   region of radioactive materials needed for the        incidents undermining the process through a
   treatment of cancer.                                  cynical lens one may suppose collusion between
10. Find a solution to the use of Transdniestrian        hard-liners on both sides to ensure that talks are
    licence-plate numbers, possibly on the basis of      sabotaged.” In such a climate, bottom-up, people-
    EUBAM proposals.                                     to-people contacts take on added significance.
11. Dismantle all non-peacekeeping posts on the            It was pointed out that the word “confidence” has
    internal boundary between the two river banks.       several uses in English, among them not only those
    Internal customs checkpoints should be               implying faith and reliability, but also the opposite,
    replaced by mobile customs units.                    as in “confidence scheme,” or “confidence man.”
                                                         Bearing that in mind, the challenge in Moldova
12. Cancel criminal cases against a number of            (and elsewhere) is to get from confidence tricks to
    Transdniestrian politicians and officials.           confidence building; from a situation in which
    For its part, Tiraspol could build confidence by     people profit from the failure to resolve the conflict
    • dismantling non-peacekeeping check points;         to one in which there is an incentive to solve the
                                                         problems it causes.
    • cancelling 100 percent of customs duty for
      goods brought from the right bank of Moldova;         It was noted that the beginning of a new
                                                         breakdown in trust coincided with the failure of the
    • implementing tax reform by introducing a
                                                         Kozak Memorandum in late 2003, after which the
      value-added tax, which would facilitate trade
                                                         sides took increasingly aggressive actions against
      between the two banks of the Dniestr River;
                                                         one another, locking the region in a vicious circle of
    • opening the Gura Bicolui bridge built by EU        tit-for-tat.
      funds;
                                                           It was also noted, however, that the situation may
    • guaranteeing access by the Moldovan customs        in some respects be improving. In September 2009,
      officers for inspections carried out in relation   a new alliance came into power in Moldova and
      to the issuance of Moldovan certificates of        Prime Minister Vlad Filat backed efforts to engage
      origin of goods;                                   with the Transdniestrians and build up confidence
    • cancelling all possible restrictions on freedom    by solving problems.
      of travel by members of the Moldovan                 The “confidence-building working groups,”
      Parliament and the government; and                 initially proposed by the Moldovan side in 2007,
    • resolving issues related to Moldovan Latin-        represent one such attempt to strengthen coopera-
      script schools in Transdniestria.                  tion. During 2010, twelve meetings of the working
   This list is by no means exhaustive. But it           groups were held to build confidence in health and
illustrates how a few small steps—at no cost—could       social protection; humanitarian assistance; road
improve the general atmosphere and the lives of          and rail infrastructure development; agriculture
                                                                                                            9



and environment; economy and trade; and crime           and other ethnicities on both sides—mostly
control. A working group on telecommunications          Orthodox Christians, united through deep histor-
was set up. Other areas being explored are customs      ical roots, kinships, mixed marriages, common
administration, civil registration, and education.      culture and traditions—are compatible and capable
  At the beginning of 2011, the working group on        of living together in the same state in peace and
the economy and the one on transport infrastruc-        understanding. They all share the common desire
ture held their meetings, discussing a wide range of    to finally get rid of the daily obstacles that hinder
issues related to confidence-building measures.         them from having a normal and better life, he said.
The working group on the economy has agreed to            In the view of the Moldovan government, despite
continue discussions on improving the existing          different perspectives and views over the nature of
framework of cooperation between financial              the Transdniestrian conflict, the absolute majority
institutions from both banks of the Dniestr River.      of the population and political forces on both banks
Chisinau has also provided a short overview of the      of the Dniestr River are deeply interested in
current stage of negotiations with the European         overcoming the problems created by this conflict.
Union on the association agreement and the deep         “Its settlement would undoubtedly contribute to
and comprehensive free trade agreement.                 solving the numerous problems affecting common
   It was pointed out, though, that there has been      people on both banks of the river and open new
little progress through these working groups, either    perspectives to speed-up economic development,
due to lack of preparation by one or another of the     build a modern, democratic, and prosperous state
parties, lack of agreement, or lack of follow up. In    and satisfy its European aspirations,” he said.
2010, a 5+2 meeting suggested that an agreement           It was pointed out that, for the country’s entire
between the sides on a set of regulations for the       existence, every Moldovan government has consid-
CBMs working groups would be helpful. Chisinau          ered Transdniestria part of Moldova. With the
and Tiraspol are apparently in the final stage of       advent into power of the new government, there
drafting this regulation and in the coming months       has been an increasing readiness to resolve
it should be ready for signing by political represen-   practical problems on a technical level, while
tatives of both parties.                                waiting for the possibility to reach a comprehensive
  The point was made that ultimately the working        political solution to the conflict. “We are trying to
groups cannot function in isolation; they need to be    help solve the Transdniestrian problem also by
part of an integrated negotiation mechanism that        helping to improve the lives of Transdniestrian
includes the 5+2, and the 1+1 format that opens a       people,” said a senior Moldovan official.
meaningful channel of communication between               The European Union has become more active in
the leaders of the two sides.                           the settlement process, and in promoting CBMs.
  One discussant said that in this light, when it       For example, the EU and the United Nations
comes to producing confidence, the best thing the       Development Programme are contributing more
international community can do is “prime the            than €13 million to CBMs in Moldova over the next
pump”—that is, help the sides find the minimal          three years. This assistance will be used for capacity
level of understanding without which confidence-        building and the implementation of concrete
building measures cannot operate. An important          projects on the ground.
actor in this regard is the OSCE Mission to               It was stressed that CBMs should be depoliticized
Moldova. But as an international civil servant          and status-neutral, with tangible effects for the
pointed out, “ultimately, we can only help: it is the   people concerned. This could contribute to an
sides themselves who have to build confidence.”         overall improvement of the political climate, as well
  It was therefore interesting to hear from the         as help to address everyday concerns.
parties. The Moldovan representative explained            A participant noted that one benefit of CBMs is
that in spite of some differences in mentality and      that they enable both parties to have a voice and to
the negative impact of the violent war in 1992,         be heard and understood by a broader audience.
people living on both banks of the Dniestr do not       He stressed that CBMs should be placed within a
hate each other. Moldovans, Ukrainians, Russians,       predictable framework since complications can
10                                                                                         MEETING NOTE



arise when unilateral moves undermine the                 In the discussion that followed a number of
equilibrium of established processes. Similarly, to     considerations were raised, including the role of
be effective, CBMs must respect some criteria: the      women in building confidence; the analysis of
parties’ expectations should be acknowledged; no        reasons for lack of trust; and the question of
one should lose sight of the origins of the conflict;   whether confidence was a prerequisite for starting
and each side must have the equal right to partici-     CBMs, or if CBMs in fact raise confidence.
pate in the process, bearing the same privileges and       It was concluded that CBMs have an important
prerogatives. Furthermore, it was emphasized that       role to play in the settlement of the conflict in
agreements made in the past should be respected,        Moldova and that they can contribute to easing
and that the process should not be prejudiced by        tensions and building trust in a number of
one side’s preconceived notion of the outcome.          situations across the OSCE area.
                                                                                                          11




                                            Participants
Veronika Bard-Bringeus                               Elena Raluca Neculaescu
Head, Permanent Delegation of Sweden to the          Second Secretary, Permanent Mission of Romania
OSCE                                                 to the OSCE

Donatas Butkus                                       Andreas Nothelle
Third Secretary, Permanent Mission of Lithuania      Special Representative, OSCE Parliamentary
to the OSCE                                          Assembly

Eugin Carpov                                         Bolat Nurgaliyev
Deputy Prime Minister, Moldova                       Former Special Representative of the OSCE CiO for
                                                     Protracted Conflicts
Giedrius Cekuolis
Personal Representative of the CiO of the OSCE for   Patrick O’Reilly
Protracted Conflicts                                 First Secretary, Permanent Mission of Ireland to
                                                     the OSCE
Jonathan Cohen
Director of Programmes, Conciliation Resources       Onur Özceri
                                                     Acting Deputy Head, Permanent Mission of Turkey
Paul Fritch                                          to the OSCE
Director, Office of the OSCE Secretary-General
                                                     Andrea Pfanzelter
Paata Garindashvili                                  Director, Vienna Office, IPI
Head, Permanent Mission of Georgia to the OSCE
                                                     Vasyl Pokotylo
Mahur Gasimov                                        Deputy Permanent Representative, Permanent
Third Secretary, Permanent Mission of Azerbaijan     Mission of Ukraine to the OSCE
to the OSCE
                                                     Julie Raschka
Sergey Gubarev                                       Political Specialist, US Mission to the OSCE
Ambassador-at-Large, Russian Federation              Philip Remler
Gottfried Hanne                                      Head, OSCE Mission to Moldova
Deputy Director for Operations Services, OSCE        Vitalie Rusu
Conflict Prevention Centre                           Counsellor, Permanent Mission of the Republic of
                                                     Moldova to the OSCE
William Hill
Professor of National Security, National War         Michael Schmunk
College (Washington, DC)                             Deputy Head, Permanent Mission of Germany to
                                                     the OSCE
Ashot Hovakimian
Head, Delegation of Armenia to the OSCE              Stefan Wolff
                                                     Professor of International Security, University of
Mindaugus Kacerauskis                                Birmingham
Counsellor, Lithuanian MFA
                                                     Vladimir Yastrebchak
Walter Kemp                                          Chief Negotiator for Transdniestria
Director for Europe and Central Asia,
International Peace Institute (IPI)                  Andrei Zagorski
                                                     Leading Researcher, Center for War and Peace
Christine Moser                                      Studies, Moscow State Institute of International
Head, Permanent Mission of Austria to the OSCE       Relations (MGIMO)
The INTERNATIONAL PEACE INSTITUTE (IPI) is an independent,
international not-for-profit think tank with a staff representing more
than twenty nationalities, with offices in New York, facing United
Nations headquarters, and in Vienna. IPI is dedicated to promoting the
prevention and settlement of conflicts between and within states by
strengthening international peace and security institutions. To achieve
its purpose, IPI employs a mix of policy research, convening, publishing,
and outreach.




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