Moldova and the unrecognised republic of Transnistria have agreed to issue 'neutral' license plates for vehicles from Transnistria which will allow them to leave the area
The Moldovan and Transnistrian authorities have agreed on using ‘neutral’ license plates for vehicles which will allow motorists to exit the territory of the self-proclaimed republic.
The authorities believe that this is practically a breakthrough in the conflict. However, not everyone agrees.
Transnistria is a territory which the Moldovan authorities have de-jure laid claim to since 1992. Transnistria is not recognised by the international community and for that reason many local residents live in practical isolation. Those who have Transnistrian passports are only able to visit Russia and other partially-recognised territories located in the region, namely Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Automobiles with internally issued license plates cannot go further than Moldova.
Starting from 1 September 2018 however, drivers from the left bank of the Dniestr river could possibly go abroad with their cars. Automobiles from Transnistria will be allowed on European roads as long as they have special license plates.
The agreement between Chisinau and Tiraspol was signed at the end of April. The new ‘neutral’ license plates will be a combination of three numbers and letters, and will not display the name of the country in which it was issued.
Chishinau and Tiaspol were not able to immediately agree on where these license plates should be issued. Ultimately, a compromise was reached in which the registration of such automobiles will be dealt with by offices opened in Transnistria with the assistance of the OSCE mission in Moldova.
The Moldovan government called the agreement ‘impressive progress’ in the Transnistrian conflict, but this optimism is not shared by all.
Independent political analyst Oazu Nantoi says that the signing of the agreement is an ‘unjustified uncompromise’. He believes that Chishinau has basically ‘legalised a series of acts issued by non-constitutional structures on the left bank of the Dniester’.
Moreover, Nantoi says that the decision of the Moldovan authorities may ruin relations with neighbouring Ukraine, as it may be viewed as a precedent for the regions of Donestsk and Luhansk. Nantoi further believes that the Moldovan authorities may possibly have a ‘personal interest’ in such an agreement as well.