Let me join others in welcoming the Head of the Mission to Moldova, Dr. Claus Neukirch back to the Permanent Council and thank him for his report.
The pandemic has hit the Republic of Moldova very hard. This was underlined in a recent phone call between the Prime Minister of Norway and President Sandu. In addition, the politically fragile situation in the country has been an overall counter-productive element. Bearing this in mind, the meetings still being held, both physically and online, both in Moscow, Kyiv and with the chief negotiators on the Moldovan and Transnistrian side, are nothing less than impressive. We thank the mission for its assistance in facilitating these meetings. We hope that a meeting in the 5+2 format will be possible to organise later this year.
We are pleased to note that seven of the agreements from the Berlin-plus package is considered implemented. Making life easier for the people on both sides of the riverbank will, with time, build trust. Such trust will lead towards the goal of attaining a comprehensive, peaceful, and sustainable settlement of the Transdniestrian conflict. We encourage the sides to do their utmost to finalise the implementation of the final agreements of the Berlin-plus package as well as for those that go beyond the package.
We note with dissatisfaction that there are no news concerning the withdrawal of Russian troops and ammunition. We do not see that the presence of foreign troops in the Republic of Moldova contributes to confidence building or stability in the country.
Norway would like to hear more from Dr. Neukirch with regards to the Mission’s work on gender equality. We brought this up also after the last report to the Permanent Council and would have expected to see more on this matter in the report. We believe that the OSCE field operations are our organisation’s biggest assets in the countries where we have them. But for the missions to reach their full potential, it is of great importance that gender aspects are integrated in all their work.
Allow me, as a final remark, to commend Dr. Neukirch and his able team for the work done under difficult circumstances this last year.