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PMR Parliament to take Foreign Minister to task for diplomatic failures
On April 2, Pridnestrovie's Parliament is calling Valeri Litskai to task in a special session set to deal with foreign policy failures. The unrecognized country's Foreign Minister will be asked about his lack of results in obtaining recognition. In 2005, Parliament ordered his Ministry to seek closer ties with other countries and open diplomatic missions abroad.
By Jason Cooper
On his way to the woodshed: Valeri Litskai will have to answer questions for his failings as PMR's Foreign Minister
TIRASPOL, 19 March 2008 - Being unrecognized is no excuse for having a weak diplomacy. That is the opinion of Pridnestrovie's Parliament which on 2 April 2008 will take Foreign Minister Valeri Litskai to task for his Ministry's failings in establishing an effective diplomatic presence abroad, and for lack of breakthroughs in the efforts to seek international recognition of the country's de facto statehood.
During the Government Question Time, Parliament will be asking the Foreign Minister about the foreign policy outlook, Parliament's press service reports.
" - The information is important both to the deputies and the population. We know how events in the world unfold, so we have to better coordinate action of executive and legislative agencies of the state authority," said Parliamentary Speaker Yevgeny Shevchuk, stressing that better oversight is needed in order to make sure that the foreign policy objectives are indeed being carried out: "We have to hold such sessions regularly."
Being an unrecognized state is no excuse for not having an active diplomacy. In fact, other non-U.N. members such as Taiwan or Palestine have a diplomatic presence which is larger and more active than many larger, fully recognized states in the world.
" - It is a fact that lots of African nations are limited to a couple of embassies here and there, and of course their United Nations mission," says a former U.N. employee who now works with new and emerging countries. "Whereas the states that really need to make their voices heard, such as Taiwan, are much more active and have over one hundred representative offices abroad."
The Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) is another unrecognized de facto state which despite its unsettled legal status nevertheless has dozens of diplomatic missions abroad, including representations in Washington and at the United Nations.
The Nagorno Karabakh Republic (NKR) also has a fully staffed Washington office, and Somaliland - independent but unrecognized - has a presence in London as well as diplomatic offices in a number of other major capitals. Even Abkhazia, with less than half of Pridnestrovie's population and a much smaller economy, has more than a dozen consulates and representative offices abroad.
Being taken to task on April 2, Valeri Litskai will have to inform the parliamentarians on his Ministry's progress in establishing diplomatic missions abroad for Pridnestrovie.
" - Of all the unrecognized countries in the world, there is only one which is doing worse than PMR. That is South Ossetia," says the ex-U.N. staffer.
Not enough diplomatic representations abroad
Parliament decided that heads of town and district councils will be invited to the session of April 2.
The Foreign Minister is to give information about the current overseas missions of PMR's foreign ministry and those that are planned for the future, including their tasks, goals and the results (or lack of results, as the case may be) of their work.
In cases where a state such as Pridnestrovie is prevented from opening full embassies abroad, due to its lack of formal diplomatic recognition, it can instead open representative offices which are staffed with full time, professional career diplomats and carry out most of the functions of an embassy. Such work includes ties to the host country's foreign ministry and political leaders, for the purpose of political and foreign policy lobbying.
Valeri Litskai's report to Parliament will also deal with how PMR's MFA has been implementing the foreign policy objectives of the republic and will include an analysis of the international political situation in the context of recognition of Kosovo by a number of states, recent shifts in the system of international law and international relations, and the development of Pridnestrovie’s foreign trade as a tool of Taiwan-style economic diplomacy.
2005 foreign policy goals
In 2005, Parliament passed a law setting out the foreign policy objectives and guidelines which the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and other government organs had to follow.
Among the key points is an adherence to the PMR's sovereignty which, although not recognized by others, is nevertheless real with actual, not virtual or hoped-for, independence being an undeniable fact on the ground.
From the document:
"Pridnestrovie's status is that of a separate independent state as per 2 September 1990. Today the Pridnestrovskaia Moldavskaia Respublica conducts foreign policy from the premise of a sovereign, independent, democratic, legal, and secular state."
In the 2005 law, specific instructions are handed down for the Foreign Ministry to follow. Chief among them is to establish relations with other countries:
"Pridnestrovie seeks to become a full subject of international law and to establish its relations with other subjects of the international system on the basis of equal rights, cooperation, mutual respect, and partnerships."
To make the point even clearer for Valeri Litskai and his officials, Parliament also told the Ministry to broaden friendly relations with other countries and find new allies elsewhere in the world. From the text:
"Pridnestrovskaia Moldavskaia Respublica is interested in an increased number of allies"
and - to clarify the job description even more - the following statement:
"Relations with other foreign countries and international organizations are of paramount importance to Pridnestrovskaia Moldavskaia Respublica."
On 2 April, Tiraspol's top diplomat will get a chance to explain to lawmakers how he has carried out their mandate - and, in particular, address the areas where he has failed to do so.
Source: Tiraspol Times