Tuesday, October 6, 2009

A worthless piece of paper

On the 18th of March, the then Moldovan President Vladimir Voronin travelled to Moscow and signed a document which seemed to change the ground-rules for settlement of the Transnistrian conflict.  Up until that point, the Moldovan state had been insisting (at least officially) on withdrawal of Russian troops, as provided for in the annex to the "Conventional Forces in Europe" treaty that the Russians had signed in Istanbul in 2000.  On March 18, however, Voronin, together with Smirnov of Transnistria and Medvedev of Russia, signed a document which ostensibly allowed Russian forces to remain in place until the conflict was resolved (and thereby ensuring that the conflict would never be resolved...)

The Russians are placing great store by this agreement, however in law it is worthless and the AIE can ignore it.  Here's why:

1.  Art 11 (2) of the constitution says "The Republic of Moldova shall not allow the dispersal of foreign military troops on its territory".  Voronin did not have the authority to permit the Russian presence (and actually should be held to account by the justice system for "assisting an occupying power")

2.  Art 86 (1) says "The President of the Republic of Moldova shall be empowered to hold official negotiations, to conclude international treaties on behalf of the Republic of Moldova and to submit them, in the established under the law manner and term, to the Parliament for ratification."  Parliament has not ratified Voronin's agreement with Medvedev.

Also, by convention, Presidents in the sunset of their term in office should not take make major policy decisions, so as to allow their successor (who has a fresh mandate from the people) a freer hand.

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