On November 18, Moldovan Prime Minister Pavel Filip and President of the unrecognized Transnistrian Republic Vadim Krasnoselsky officially opened a bridge for transport across the Dniester River near the Gura Bicului and Bicioc settlements, Moldovan news outlet NewsMaker reports.
Movement across the bridge was initially scheduled to begin on November 20. However, the decision to allow movement immediately was made by Filip and Krasnoselsky directly on the bridge, where they met in person for the first time and spoke for a long time face to face.
The two leaders drove onto the bridge simultaneously and also got out of their cars simultaneously for the meeting. Having greeted those present at the middle of the bridge, both politicians initially began speaking about the weather.
The Transnistrian president expressed the hope that “this road” would open a path to other solutions. The Moldovan Prime Minister supported him, commenting that “it is always necessary to take steps which will benefit people”.
There was no special opening ceremony. As NewsMaker explained, the parties arranged in advance not to announce the titles of the officials on both sides. Nobody introduced Filip as Prime Minister, and nobody introduced Krasnoselsky as “President” of Transnistria.
The bridge between the settlements is located on international route M14, which is part of Pan-European Corridor IX (Brest-Chisinau-Odessa). The bridge was blown up during the fighting on the Dniester in 1992. At the start of the 2000s the bridge was rebuilt, but it was not opened, remaining a kind of symbol of the parties’ inability to reach an agreement.
The topic of opening movement across the bridge has repeatedly featured in the negotiations between Chisinau and Tiraspol.