A workshop at IPI’s Vienna office on April 3rd focused on confidence-building measures (CBMs) and how they have been used to reduce tensions and build trust between parties in several conflict situations throughout the world. It also briefly reflected on experience with CBMs in the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) area.
This event, held under the Chatham House rule of non-attribution, involved international experts and representatives of OSCE-participating states such as Eugin Carpov, Deputy Prime Minister of Moldova, and Vladimir Yastrebchak, the Chief Negotiator for Transdniestria.
Participants outlined both top-down and bottom-up approaches to increase confidence and repair distorted relationships between parties. They underlined the importance of political will, and taking a “leap of faith” that should be reciprocated. It was stressed that CBMs are a process, and cannot be prejudiced by a pre-conceived result.
“The main issue is trust,” said one participant. He pointed out how the word “confidence” in English has a double meaning: either positive, in the sense of building trust, or derogatory in the sense of con men and con tricks. “We have to move from confidence tricks to confidence measures,” he said.
“In order to build trust, parties have to demonstrate their own trustworthiness,” observed another participant.
The workshop–which took place on the eve of the “5+2” settlement negotiations involving Moldova, Transdniestria, the OSCE, Russia, and Ukraine, plus the United States and the European Union–also reviewed the process of building confidence between Moldova and the break-away region of Transdniestria over the past twenty years.
It was the first in a series of IPI workshops designed to focus on issues related to the OSCE.