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30 Sep. '10 NATO-Generalsekretär Rasmussen besucht Georgien
30 Sep. '10 Präsident Saakashvili über die neue Verfassung: das neue System wird auf mehreren Machtzentren basierenn
30 Sep. '10 Türkischer Premierminister empfängt Premierminister Nika Gilauri in Istanbul
30 Sep. '10 Tbilisi schwächt den Ton in den Vorwürfen bezüglich der Besetzung von Ackerland ab
The Georgian Ministry of Internal Affairs revised its earlier statement, which accused Russian forces in breakaway South Ossetia of grabbing plots of land on the Georgian-controlled area, by toning it down.
The initial written statement, posted on the ministry’s website on September 29, accused Tskhinvali-based Russian Federal Security Service troops of carrying out “illegal ‘border demarcation works’” and seizing “additional territory” by moving “forward the line of occupation in Shida Kartli region.” It also said that at least 30 hectares of farmland were occupied by the Russian forces close to five villages at the administrative border line.
Late in the evening on September 29 a revised statement was posted on the ministry's website in which there is no mention of accusation involving seizing of farmlands.
It, however, accuses the Russian troops of “illegal ‘border demarcation works’ in Shida Kartli region”, which is described as “a clear provocation.” The move, the ministry said, “will further limit the free movement in the region for the local population.”
“It is important to note that the illegal ‘border demarcation works’ by Russian occupational forces will also significantly hinder water supply to the adjacent territories, namely to village [of] Ditsi,” the Interior Ministry’s statement reads.
A source familiar with the matter told that the new demarcation line, set by the Russian troops on September 29, now coincides with Soviet-times administrative borders of former Autonomous District of South Ossetia. After it was confirmed, it is understood that Tbilisi had to backtrack on the matter by giving up initial intention to press on the issue.
Whatever the circumstances of the matter might be, the new development means that, among other areas, three abandoned houses in the village of Ditsi have now fallen on the Russian-controlled area and owners of those houses are now eligible for financial compensation by the Georgian government.
After the August, 2008 war and following recognition of South Ossetia by Moscow, Russian forces in the region started building border infrastructure in line with administrative borders of former Autonomous Republic of South Ossetia. The only location where Russian troops keep a checkpoint beyond the region’s administrative border is village of Perevi, controlling an important road in that western part of the breakaway region’s administrative border.
29 Sep. '10 Russische Truppen in Tskhinvali streiten den Besetzung von Ackerland ab
Tskhinvali-based border guard forces of the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) have denied Tbilisi's allegation of seizing plots of land on the Georgian-controlled territories adjacent to breakaway South Ossetia.
The Georgian Interior Minister said that the Russian forces started early September 29 "illegal ‘border demarcation works’ by putting steel poles" in several villages at the administrative border line and in the process seized at least 30 hectares of farmland..
"The Russian forces are not conducting any demarcation works on the South Ossetian border with Georgia," a brief statement, posted on a website of the breakaway region's authorities, said.
29 Sep. '10 Innenministerium: Russland hat 25 Hektar an Südossetien angrenzendes Ackerland besetzt
Russian troops in breakaway South Ossetia are conducting, what they call, “border demarcation” and in the process grabbing plots of land on the Georgian-controlled territories, the Georgian Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) said in a statement on September 29.
“Russian occupational forces started to seize additional territory and move forward the line of occupation in Shida Kartli region,” it said.
“Russian FSB [Federal Security Service] troops are conducting illegal ‘border demarcation works’ by putting steel poles in villages [of] Kvemo Nikozi, Zemo Nikozi, Ditsi, Arbo and Kordi.”
The Interior Ministry said that 25 hectares of farmland was occupied by the Russian troops in Kvemo Nikozi, south from Tskhinvali.
It also said that houses of three local families, as well as pastures, irrigation canal and a water well “have been placed on the other side of the illegal ‘demarcation line’” in the village of Ditsi; 5 hectares of farmland in the village of Arbo and half hectare of land in the village of Kordi have also been grabbed, according to the Interior Ministry.
A spokesperson of EU Monitoring Mission in Georgia (EUMM) told that situation on the ground was “calm and quiet”. The spokesperson also said the mission was not able at this stage to report on details as EUMM monitors were currently “looking into the situation”.
29 Sep. '10 Bericht von zwei Experten des Europarats spricht von "ernsthaften Defiziten" in der Aufklärung von Fällen vermißter Personen seit August 2008
A report by two experts, recruited by Council of Europe (CoE) Human Rights Commissioner, highlights “serious shortcomings” in the process of clarifying the fate of persons, missing since the August, 2008 war, said Commissioner Thomas Hammarberg, who released the report on September 29.
Two experts - an officer from the Australian Federal Police and another from the French National Police, both with experience of investigating serious crimes and crimes of war – were sent to Georgia by the Commissioner in March to monitor how the cases of missing persons were investigated in Tbilisi and Tskhinvali.
The report details several cases, including the one of three ethnic Ossetians, who disappeared in October, 2008; a separate case of one ethnic Ossetian, who was captured by the Georgian side during the hostilities in August and also the cases of two Georgian soldiers, who were captured by the South Ossetian side, subjected to ill-treatment and whose mortal remains later returned to the Georgian side.
Case of Three Ossetians
The case of three young ethnic Ossetians - Alan Khachirov, Alan Khugaev and Soltan Pliev, with one of them, Khachirov, a minor who had not reach the age of 16 at the time of disappearance on October 13, 2008 – was one of the key issues raised by Tskhinvali. The latter has been conditioning its participation in regular incident prevention meetings with the Georgian side to address security concerns on the ground to the resolution of this case.
The three young men went missing after coming across the Georgian-controlled territory. In spring, 2009 a video footage was released via internet by unidentified source, apparently shot by a mobile phone, showing these three men being shouted at and harassed by Georgian-speaking men, which prompted Tskhinvali to accuse the Georgian law enforcement agencies of having link to disappearance of the three men. Tbilisi has been strongly denying any involvement.
Information obtained by the two experts, however, indicates that the three men detained and taken into custody by the Georgian law enforcement officers. The claim, among other things, is based on OSCE’s patrol report (at the time monitors from the organization were still on the ground, patrolling areas adjacent to the breakaway South Ossetia’s administrative border) dated with October 14. Citing information from the Georgian police, the OSCE patrol’s report says that three armed South Ossetian males were taken into custody.
“The time, location and the reference to the three persons match the elements relating to the disappearance of Khachirov, Khugaev and Pliev,” the report by two experts reads.
“What exactly happened to Khachirov, Khugaev and Pliev after they were taken into custody is unclear… Regrettably, the experts have found no convincing information in support of the hypothesis that the three young persons are alive,” it says.
The report criticizes the way how the case was investigated by the Georgian law enforcement agencies, saying “there was little substantive progress toward officially clarifying the fate of the three missing persons.”
“The experts were particularly struck by the fact that, although there had been serious allegations implicating the involvement of Georgian law enforcement officials in the disappearance of Khachirov, Khugaev, and Pliev, there was hardly any attempt to safeguard the independence of the investigation,” according to the report.
Although it notes that the Georgian authorities took some significant steps and followed the advice of the experts in the process of investigation, some “important recommendations made by the experts were not accepted”; it says that “no serious attempt was made” to identify the person who first posted a video footage of three detained men on the Georgian video-sharing website in March or April 2009.
The Georgian Interior Ministry declined to comment on the report on September 29, citing that it was still in process of studying its findings. Shota Utiashvili, head of information and analytical department at the Interior Ministry, told that the investigation into the case of three persons was still ongoing.
The report also criticizes authorities in Tskhinvali for contributing “little” to the clarification of the fate of the three persons. It also says that it was not possible to obtain from the Russian authorities call records from the three men’s mobile phones, which were believed to be Russian registered.
Other Cases
Another case also involving an ethnic Ossetian involves disappearance of Radik Ikaev, who, according to the report was captured by Georgian military during the August, 2008 hostilities in the Znauri District. The report says that he was last seen alive on August 22, 2008 and was in Georgian custody at the time. No other information is available on that case.
The two experts, recruited by the CoE Human Rights Commissioner, were asked by the Georgian side to look into the cases of several Georgian soldiers.
According to the report two Georgian soldiers, Giorgi Antsukhelidze and Kakha Khubuluri, were detained during the August hostilities, subjected to ill-treatment while in captivity and later their mortal remains were handed over to the Georgian side.
According to the report after showing video evidence of soldiers’ ill-treatment to the officials in Tskhinvali, they acknowledged that it “raised issues of a very serious nature”, but declined to further probe into the matter. Officials in Tskhinvali cited that the case did not fall within the scope of experts’ mandate, as they were entitled to monitor only the investigation related to missing persons.
“The experts must therefore report with considerable regret that this position of the de facto authorities in Tskhinvali prevented them from addressing the cases concerned, and can only deduce that there has not been any attempt to ensure accountability of the persons who perpetrated these abhorrent violent acts,” the report reads.
In a separate case of missing Georgian soldiers, the two experts found out, that Giorgi Romelashvili, Zaza Birtvelashvili and Otar Sukhitashvili, the crew members of Georgian battle tank T-72, died when their tank was ambushed and destroyed in Tskhinvali on August 8.
28 Sep. '10 Außenminister Grigol Vashadze trifft den iranischen Außenminister Manouchehr Mottaki in New York neben der UN-Generalversammlung
Grigol Vashadze, the Georgian foreign minister, met with his Iranian counterpart, Manouchehr Mottaki, in New York on sideline of UN General Assembly.
The meeting was among series of other bilateral meetings held in New York by Vashadze, according to the Georgian Foreign Ministry.
The Iranian state news agency, IRNA, reported that the two ministers discussed bilateral relations and planned visa-free agreement between the two countries. It also reported that the Iranian FM was invited by his Georgian counterpart to visit Tbilisi.
Spokesman for the Iranian Foreign Ministry, Ramin Mehmanparast, said during the visit to Georgia in May that the Iranian Foreign Minister’s visit to Georgia was planned for June; the visit, however, did not take place.
Other meetings of Vashadze on sidelines of the UN General Assembly included those with counterparts from Armenia, Cuba, Bulgaria, Estonia, Japan, Jordan and Uruguay and Deputy Foreign Minister, Alexander Nalbandov, met his counterpart from Panama, according to the Georgian Foreign Ministry.
A meeting of GUAM foreign ministers – Georgia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan and Moldova – was also held.
27 Sep. '10 Zweite Lesung der Verfassungsänderung für diese Woche geplant
27 Sep. '10 Studien für eine Straßenverbindung mit Tunnel zwischen Abchasien und dem Nordkaukasus von Russland initiiert
A feasibility study will be launched to examine possibility of building a road tunnel through Caucasus Mountains to connect Karachay-Cherkessia, republic located in northwest of Russia’s North Caucasus region with Georgia’s breakaway Abkhazia.
“Experts [from Russia’s Transport Ministry] are due to arrive in next few days and the all the information [results of study] should be ready no later than December 1,” Boris Ebzeyev, president of Karachay-Cherkessia, said in an interview published by Russian news website, on September 27.
He said there were two options on the table, one involving restoring of an old, 340 km long Sukhumi Military Road passing through Kodori gorge in Abkhazia through Klukhori pass to Karachay-Cherkessia’s capital Cherkessk - the road remains dysfunctional for decades already; and another option is through Arkhiz pass.
The both options would require digging a tunnel to protect the road from avalanches and to keep it operational even during the winter period, President of Karachay-Cherkessia said.
He said that the project was of vital importance for his republic, because through this potential road land-locked Karachay-Cherkessia would gain access to the Black Sea via Abkhaz ports. He also said that the road would help to attract more tourists in his republic and it would be much shorter route to access Abkhaz Black Sea coast rather than through currently existing only land road between Russia and Abkhazia, which connects Sochi district with the breakaway region.
The idea of building a new road was emerging time after time previously, but deliberations on the matter intensified last year. It was reported at the time that in case of selecting Klukhori pass for a new road, it would require digging of 12-km long tunnel, while the alternative option would require less than 5-km long tunnel.
27 Sep. '10 NATO-Generalsekretär Rasmussen trifft am Donnerstag ein
Er trifft auf Präsident Saakashvili und den Parliamentsvorsitzenden Davit Bakradze und wird an der Eröffnungszeremonie des NATO-Verbindungsbüros in Tbilisi teilnehmen.
26 Sep. '10 Präsident Saakashvili: Georgien ist 'nicht nur fixiert' auf den NATO-Beitritt
President Saakashvili said Georgia still aspired to join the NATO, but said Tbilisi was not "fixated" on that goal.
Asked during an interview with Al Jazeera's English-language channel whether he was optimistic that Georgia would join NATO by 2013, when his second and final presidential term expires, Saakashvili responded: "We never made any deadlines."
After the NATO Bucharest Summit in April, 2008, Saakashvili announced: "I am sure that we will become a NATO member before my presidential term expires [in 2013].”
In the interview with Al Jazeera's David Frost, Saakashvili also said that although Georgia's aspiration remained to join the NATO, a difficult geopolitical conditions in the region should also be taken into consideration.
"You should realize that we are a small country in the middle of very complicated geopolitical region," he said. "We are strategically an important country... there are lots of political factors in play."
"Of course we did not change our mind [in respect of NATO aspiration], but on the other hand, we are developing relations with all the other countries in the region. We are developing relations with the countries to the south, with other former Soviet countries - countries like Ukraine; in Central Asia, Caspian [region]; Turkey and the European Union; we started Association Agreement talks with the European Union... We signed strategic relations treaty with the United States."
"So we are not fixated only on one goal, there are many other things," Saakashvili added. "Of course we never gave up our aspirations - we want to be members of a serious club, we want to have secured future."
During the interview, Saakashvili was also asked whether he intended to remain in power as PM, after expiration of his presidential term. In his response Saakashvili used the similar formulation he usually applies to when speaking on the matter. He said that  he was "not concentrated on what happens after 2013", instead he was focused on implementation of his goal of making economic and political reforms irreversible before 2013 and also added that he would do his best to keep his team of reforms and "ideology of reforms" in power after his presidential term expires.
"How can I help to keep it - I'll decide that when the time approaches," he added.
25 Sep. '10 Georgische Kirche 'überrascht' über die Gratulaion des russischen Patriarchen an den südossetischen Präsidenten anläßlich des Unabhängigkeitstages
Head of the Georgian Orthodox Church, Ilia II, told Russia's Patriarch Kirill in a letter released on September 25 that it was a surprise to learn that he had congratulated Georgia's breakaway South Ossetia on "independence day" last week.
The news that "you have sent a message of congratulation to self-styled President of South Ossetia triggered sharply negative reaction among the parish and the entire Georgian society," the Georgian Patriarch said in a letter, which was posted on the patriarchate's official website.
"Such action is rather regretful and completely incomprehensible, because such move means supporting separatist regime, existing forcefully on the Georgia's ancient land, and recognizing [South Ossetia's] 'independence', which has been declared as illegal [by international community]."
"We remember personally your and the Russian Church's support to Georgia's and the Georgian Church's canonical borders. Therefore, the above mentioned step [by the Russian Church leader] was a total surprise," the Georgian Patriarch said. "We hope that you will again stand by justice... and foster good-neighborly relations between our countries."
The Russian Patriarch's message of congratulation was released by the authorities in breakaway South Ossetia; although the message was not disseminated by the Russian Church and it is neither available on its official website, the Russian Patriarchate made no disclaimer.
24 Sep. '10 Innenminister: Vier russische Soldaten kurzzeitig von der Polizei nach der Grenze der abtrünnigen Region Abchasien festgehalten
Georgian Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) said that the police arrested on September 24 four servicemen of the Russian Federal Security Service border guard unit in the village of Khurcha at the administrative border with breakaway Abkhazia.
“Georgian side took into consideration the fact that above mentioned persons have accidentally crossed occupation line, [the Georgian side] showed good will and released them after interrogation,” the ministry said.
24 Sep. '10 Entwurf für neue Verfassung in der ersten Lesung verabschiedet
24 Sep. '10 Präsident Saakashvili trifft mehrere Präsidenten bei der UN in New York
On sidelines of UN General Assembly President Saakashvili met with Lithuanian, Senegalese, Cypriot and Kyrgyz counterparts in New York on September 23.
Earlier, also on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly, Saakashvili also met with Croatian and Finnish Presidents.
Georgian President’s administration said that during the meeting with President of Cyprus, Dimitris Christofias, he had discussed issues related with recent Georgia-sponsored UN General Assembly resolution on Georgian displaced persons, which was not supported by Cyprus.
“The Georgian President deemed it necessary to meet with the Cypriot leader in order to have a dialogue on future relations and cooperation,” the President’s administration said.
The Cyprus press has reported, that the Georgian President invited President Christofias to visit Tbilisi.
After meeting with President of Senegal, Abdoulaye Wade, President Saakashvili said he had invited the Senegalese counterpart to visit Georgia.
24 Sep. '10 Präsident Saakashvili trifft US-Außenministerin Clinton in New York
24 Sep. '10 NATO-Generalsekretär Rasmussen besucht Georgien
24 Sep. '10 Präsident Saakashvili spricht vom 'vereinten Kaukasus' in seiner UN-Rede
# To Abkhaz, Ossetians: 'we will protect you'
# To Moscow: 'be part of transformation of region'
# To Moscow: 'learn from us how to transform society'
# To world leaders: 'help us to secure peace'
# 'Modernization impossible with Khodorkovsky in Gulag'
# Calls on three countries to reverse Abkhaz, S.Ossetia recognition
President Saakashvili used his speech at the UN General Assembly on September 23 to, as he put it, "promote a vision for a free, stable and united Caucasus" and to call on Russia to be part of, what he called, an "ongoing transformation" of the Caucasus region.
He said that two years after "a full-scale invasion" by Russia, "Georgia is back as a laboratory for political reform and social transformation" with a clear objective "to create a more institutionalized system of liberal democratic governance."
Saakashvili said Russia invaded Georgia two years ago, "ethnically cleansed Georgian regions and illegally occupied" them with an objective "to destroy the Georgian laboratory of reforms" and to prevent the entire region from changing through following Georgia's path.
"Today, however, change is possible," Saakashvili said. "In fact, change is already taking place" in the Caucasus region, which, he said, had suffered from "division, injustice, conflict, colonization and violence". The people of the region, he said, were deeply tolerant, but governments and authorities created artificial divisions and "erected walls nobody could cross."
"I came here today to tell you that these times are vanishing, that the dream of unity and peace is possible," he said.
"I strongly believe that a common market, shared interests and political and economic interdependence will one day give birth to a united Caucasus. That is what I am calling for today."
"We might belong to different states and live on different side of the [Caucasus] mountains, but in terms of human and cultural space, there is no North and South Caucasus, there is one Caucasus, that belongs to Europe and will one day join the European family of free nations, following the Georgian path," he said. "Our unity would not be directed against anyone and we will not aspire to change any borders."
He said that "the historical move towards Caucasian unity" should start with projects in energy, education and cultural fields and the civil society sphere.
Saakashvili called on the Russian authorities to be part of the process of transformation and treat its neighbors as "partners and not vassals."
"You face a choice," he said addressing the Russian leadership. "Either you take a major part in this ongoing transformation... or this transformation will happen without you."
He also added that he wanted Russia "as a partner not as an enemy."
For that reason, he said, Tbilisi supported U.S. policy of reset and EU's policy of engagement with Russia.
He also said that Russia should care more about its North Caucasus region, "which is exploding" rather than about Georgia's foreign policy orientation or about undermining Georgia's development.
Saakashvili invited Russian authorities to come into Georgia "to understand how a post-Soviet society can turn into a European one."
In his speech Saakashvili touched upon Russian President Dmitry Medvedev's recent key theme - modernization of Russia's resource-dependent economy and in this context he also mentioned the Kremlin's battle with jailed oil tycoon, Mikhail Khodorkovsky, who is now serving an eight-year sentence and faces up to 22 more years in prison if found guilty in the new trial.
"Modernization without freedom is not sustainable and you cannot hope to diversify and develop your economy when you send your most successful businessmen to the Gulag, like Mikheil Khodorkovsky. Computers are not enough, if you don't have free minds to use them. So let us free our minds from our common Soviet past in order to build a common future," he said.
Three Russian diplomats in the hall were listening to Saakashvili's speech.
Addressing to Abkhazians and Ossetians, Saakashvili reiterated that Georgia wanted to resolve conflicts only through peaceful means and said: "We will protect your rights, your culture, your history."
"Rather than succumb to annexation by the Russian Empire, we invite you to build together with us a multicultural and multi-ethnic society that would be a regional model for tolerance and respect," he said. "I dream about the day when an Abkhaz or Ossetian citizen of Georgia... will become President of a reunited, democratic and European Georgia."
In his speech Saakashvili called on Nicaragua, Venezuela and Nauru to reverse their decision recognizing Abkhazia and South Ossetia.
"It is never too late to overturn a bad policy... Imagine how uncomfortable these three isolated leaders from faraway countries will be when Moscow itself chooses to comply with international law and withdraw its troops? Because, ladies and gentlemen, that day will come," Saakashvili said.
He said Russia, which "claimed a military victory in 2008 now face a diplomatic and political defeat."
"In Moscow, the occupation and annexation will soon be debated. They are in fact already debated in the corridors of the Kremlin," Saakashvili said.
He also said the changes Georgia was undergoing through were irreversible and would survive his presidency, which ends in 2013. The Georgian people, he said, would "mightily resist any attempts to reverse these changes - no matter if those attempts come from inside or from abroad."
Addressing the international community he called for help in security peace in Georgia and the region.
"If there is clear support from the international community, I am convinced that a lasting peace can be secured in the Caucasus," Saakashvili said.
23 Sep. '10 Präsident Saakashvili in New York über Iran, Israel und Russland: Russland habe mit dem iranischen Atomprogramm gespielt und es als Hebel gegen die USA benutzt
President Saakashvili said Russia was “playing” with Iranian nuclear program and using it as leverage against the United States.
“The pattern of Russian policy has been to keep problem going in order to capitalize on that,” Saakashvili, who is in New York, said in an interview with Fox News on September 22, when he was asked what he thought about “Russia financing Iran’s nuclear ambitions.”
“So if Iran is solved, if the whole issue goes away, then what’s leverage for Russians with the United States? So they are playing with it pretty smartly – promising things to the west, but also delivering things to the Iranians. I think in the process they’ve [Russians] lost confidence of all sides, but they’ve been doing this forever,” Saakashvili said.
He was then asked what if Israel acted unilaterally against Iran. Saakashvili responded that “the best solution for everybody is to solve it peacefully.”
“But of course there are basic principles and the basic principles are that obviously Israel has right for security and existence and nobody can question it – that’s crystal clear for me,” he said.
He also said there should be no “language of menace”, which, he said, “does not give anything.”
Saakashvili said stakes were high for Georgia, located close to this region. “The peace should be given a chance and I hope that negotiations will really have the results,” he added.
In the same 8-minute long interview Saakashvili reiterated Georgia’s commitment to the Afghan operation saying: “We can not leave Afghanistan without solving this.”
“There is no way we should give up that struggle,” he said.
He also lashed out at Russia’s PM Vladimir Putin blaming him for the fact that 500,000 refugees were not able to return back to their homes in Abkhazia and South Ossetia.
“Obviously not only this is coming down from Putin, but he is very proud of it,” Saakashvili said.
23 Sep. '10 Bagapsh plant Reform des Innenministeriums
Der Name soll von "Miliz" in "Polizei" geändert werden und das sei auch eine "Änderung des Inhaltes der Arbeit". Abchasien will sofort das Problem angehen, dass gestohlene Autos von Russland eingeführt werden.
Abkhaz leader, Sergey Bagapsh, announced on September 23 about the plans to reform the breakaway region’s interior ministry and replace Soviet-era name of "militia" with "police."
“We will change the structure of Ministry of Internal Affairs and create the police. It will not be simply a change of the name – this is change of substance of work of the law enforcement agency,” Bagapsh was quoted by the Abkhaz news agency, Apsnipress, on September 23.
“We will have to decide on set of complex issues, involving responsibilities, accountability, wages. We are ready to accept proposals and remarks from everyone,” he said.
He was speaking while presenting new minister to the senior staff of the breakaway region’s interior ministry.
He said that Abkhazia should immediately tackle a problem related with import of stolen cars from Russia.
“It should be stopped, otherwise Abkhazia will turn into a black hole,” he said.
23 Sep. '10 Abchasischer Vize-Präsident Alexander Ankvab wurde bei Explosion einer Granate im Garten seines Hauses in Gudauta verletzt
Es wird angenommen, das dies der vierte Anschlag, möglicherweise sogar der fünfte, auf Alexander Ankvab war. Er hatte 2004 versucht, an den Präsidentschaftswahlen teilzunehmen, wurde aber nicht zugelassen, da er nicht abchasisch spricht und Aufenthaltsvorschriften nicht erfüllen konnte.
Vice President of breakaway Abkhazia, Alexander Ankvab, was injured after a grenade hit his house in Gudauta on September 23 in what appears to at least fourth attack on Ankvab in last five years, officials in the breakaway region said.
Ankvab was wounded in his leg and hand after a grenade fired from RPG-26 launcher hit the roof of his two-storey house at about 2:15am local time, Apsnipress news agency reported quoting Ramin Gablaia, the deputy interior minister of Abkhazia.
His wounds are not life-threatening, officials in Sokhumi said.
Beslan Kvitsinia, a deputy chief prosecutor of the breakaway region, told Apsnipress, that “many details of assassination attempt indicate that the crime was commissioned and related to Ankvab’s professional activities.”
Abkhaz leader, Sergey Bagapsh, described the incident as “a terrible fact.”
“This is not the first attack on Ankvab. We will try to do our utmost to investigate the case,” Bagapsh said.
It is thought to be the fourth, and possibly the fifth, attempt on Ankvab's life in last five years.
In February 2005 a group of unknown gunmen opened fire on a convoy carrying Ankvab, then PM, outside Sokhumi. His car was hit by 17 bullets, local television reported at the time. Ankvab, however, was riding in his deputy’s car and survived unharmed.
In April 2005, Ankvab again survived unharmed when unknown gunmen opened fire on his convoy near Sokhumi in which Ankvab’s driver was wounded.
A roadside land mine, found in June 2007 on a road between Sokhumi and Gudauta, a regular route of Ankvab’s convoy, was also believed to have been aimed at him.
In July, 2007 Ankvab, who at the time was the breakaway region’s PM, was reportedly slightly injured with shrapnel after his car came under grenade attack on a road between Gudauta and Sokhumi.
No one has ever been arrested for these attacks.
Alexander Ankvab, 57, an influential political figure in Abkhazia, was appointed as Prime Minister in February, 2005. A close ally of Abkhaz leader, Sergey Bagapsh, he became the Vice President after Bagapsh was re-elected as the president for second term in December, 2009.
He had wanted to run in the 2004 presidential election, but was ineligible because of an inability to speak the Abkhaz language and because he failed to meet residency requirements. He subsequently backed Bagapsh.
23 Sep. '10 Georgien bei einem Treffen der Außenminister des NATO-Russland-Rates angesprochen
"Wir diskutierten die Kontrolle konventioneller Waffen und dieser Hinsicht auch die Situation in Abchaasien, Südossetien, Transnistrien, ..." sagte NATO-Generalsekretär Rasmussen.
Despite "fundamental disagreements" on some issues, also including Georgia, Russia and NATO will hopefully step up cooperation, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said on September 22.
Speaking at a news conference in New York after meeting of foreign ministers of NATO-Russia Council, Rasmussen said: "We are on a solid path to improve NATO-Russia relations."
He said that during the meeting situation in Georgia's breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, as well as in Transnistria, breakaway region of Moldova, was raised in the context of conventional arms control in Europe.
"We discussed conventional arms control and in this respect also situation in Abkhazia, South Ossetia, Transnistria... There is no reason to hide that these issues are issues where we do not see eye to eye; but I do hope despite the fact that we have disagreements in that respect, we will move forward and see progress as regards to arms control," Rasmussen said.
Russia suspended its participation in the Conventional Forces in Europe Treaty (CFE) in 2007. NATO believes CFE should prevent Russia from stationing troops in breakaway regions of Georgia and Moldova.
U.S. Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, said in prepared comments at a NATO-Russia Council ministerial meeting, that it was important for both sides to restore and eventually modernize CFE Treaty, Reuters reported. She said she was encouraged that Russia had welcomed NATO's offer to begin discussing a framework for reviving the CFE.
Clinton noted the need that the CFE principle of host nation's consent for the stationing of forces on its territory should apply to Georgia and Moldova.
"We must have real military limitations and restraints where we need them," Reuters reported quoting Clinton. "And all participating states, including Georgia and Moldova, must have the right to agree to the stationing of foreign forces on their sovereign territory."
"Tangible progress on such issues as missile defense, conventional arms control, crisis prevention and response, improved transparency [on exchanging information about military doctrine, strategy and force developments], and security in Georgia would set the stage for closer cooperation in many other areas in future," Clinton said.
Speaking at a news conference Rasmussen said that although no final agreement was expected by November, when the alliance leaders will meet at a summit in Lisbon, where Russia has also been invited. Rasmussen, however, also expressed hope to have an agreement "on some basic principles on future conventional arms control" by November.
He said that the "fundamental message" of NATO-Russia foreign ministerial meeting in New York was "very clear and very encouraging" - cooperation with Russia "has become necessity if we want to be effective in preserving our common security."
"All parties realize that we need each other," Rasmussen said.
22 Sep. '10 Parliamentarische Sitzung zur Diskussion der Verfassungsänderung am Freitag
22 Sep. '10 Bagapsh ernennt neuen Innenminister
22 Sep. '10 Explosion in Tbilisi nahe der US-Botschaft; ein weiterer Sprengkörper wurde von der Polizei entschärft
An explosive device went off at about 1am on Wednesday in suburb of Tbilisi, about 100 meters from the U.S. embassy building, police said.
No one was injured.
Police destroyed with water cannon another explosive device found in the same site, where formerly an open-air auto market was located. Now empty area is next to a cemetery and explosion damaged its wall and a grave.
A wall, dividing the U.S. embassy territory from the area, is located about 60-70 meters from the location where the explosive devices were set off, Shota Utiashvili, head of information and analytical department of the interior minister, told He said the embassy wall was not damaged.
The U.S. embassy in Tbilisi confirmed that its property was not damaged.
Police said the investigation was ongoing and declined to reveal type of explosive devices or other details.
22 Sep. '10 Präsident Saakashvili trifft Donald Trump in New York, um seine mögliches Investment in Georgien zu besprechen
President Saakashvili met with U.S. real estate tycoon Donald Trump in New York on September 21 to discuss the billionaire’s potential investment in Georgia.
Saakashvili’s press office reported that the Trump Organization, company in charge of Trump’s property development and management projects, would invest in development of Trump Tower in Georgia.
An exact location has yet to be identified; potential sites include Tbilisi and Adjara Autonomous Republic on Black Sea coast, according to the Georgian President’s administration.
Saakashvili first met with Trump to discuss investment opportunities in Georgia in April, 2010.
A visit of the Trump Organization’s executive vice-president, Michael Cohen, followed in July, who toured several sites for potential projects in Tbilisi and Batumi. The trip was arranged by Silk Road Group.
Silk Road Group, Georgian conglomerate with business interests in transportation, telecommunications, banking and property development, will act as the Trump Organization’s local partner in Georgia.
Saakashvili is in New York for UN General Assembly session.
On September 20 he addressed a three-day summit reviewing progress of Millennium Development Goals, telling the participants  that aid programs should be tailored to local conditions and recipients should be allowed to develop their own aid priorities to make the aid more efficient. In the speech he also spoke about reducing poverty in Georgia, as he put it, from 42% to 18% in last six years and about fight against corruption. He also urged the international community to help Georgia in implementing its state strategy on occupied territories.
On September 21, Saakashvili visited the NASDAQ stock market and rang its closing bell.
21 Sep. '10 Georgien’s reales Bruttoinlandsprodukt wächts um 6.6% im ersten Halbjahr
21 Sep. '10 Präsident Saakashvili: Gesetz der freien Wirtschaft für Oktober geplant
President Saakashvili said Georgia would negotiate with EU on Association Agreement in way so that not to harm Tbilisi’s intention to pass Act of Economic Liberty, which, he said, would be passed in autumn.
Saakashvili first proposed the Act of Economic Liberty in October, 2009, envisaging a referendum requirement on tax increases; ban of setting new regulatory agencies, as well as introduction of new licenses or permits; budget expenditure capped at 30%; budget deficit capped at 3% of GDP and public debt capped at 60% of GDP.
Some of the provisions of the proposal, however, are at odds with Georgia’s drive to have deep and comprehensive free trade agreement with EU.
Head of EU delegation in Georgia, Per Eklund, said in February, 2010 that Georgia would need to ensure that “with the Liberty Act in force, it will be able to undertake any necessary regulatory reforms to which it would commit under a future deep and comprehensive free trade agreement.” He also said that EU had received “positive assurance” from President Saakashvili on the matter.
Štefan Füle, EU commissioner for enlargement and European neighbourhood policy, said in May, 2010, that some of the ideas of “ultra-liberal economic environment” in Georgia were not in line with “pillars” of EU-Georgia future partnership.
One of the elements of the Liberty Act – a referendum requirement on tax increases – was passed by the Georgian Parliament with its first reading on December 25, 2009; but this constitution amendment has been shelved since then. The proposal, which requires to be passed with second and third reading, is binding the government to hold a referendum if it decides to increase income tax; profit tax; value added tax and customs tax or if the government decides to introduce a new tax.
International Monetary Fund (IMF) welcomed the Georgian government’s decision to postpone the implementation of a referendum requirement on tax increases, saying that it “will help maintain the necessary policy flexibility until the fiscal deficit has returned to more prudent levels.”
Asked whether the Liberty Act had been forgotten by the government, President Saakashvili said in an interview with the Georgian weekly magazine, Tabula, published on September 20: “We will pass it in autumn.”
“I am sure we will be able to negotiate with EU in manner so that not to significantly harm free economy… Today Europe itself is saying no to what we also might be afraid of – high taxes, broad expenses, excessive regulations and bureaucracy is gradually becoming past,” he was quoted in the same interview.
“Europeans are realizing that the state can’t endure role of a permanent nanny for a long. The global economic crisis hit a powerful blow to the project of social Europe. I think Europe will make more steps towards free economy and we will eventually meet somewhere in midway,” he said.
Meanwhile on September 20 President Saakashvili met with EU foreign policy chief Catherin Ashton and European Commission President José Manuel Barroso in New York on a sideline of UN General Assembly session.
20 Sep. '10 Oppositionelle Arbeiterpartei ruft andere Parteien auf, eine Bestimmung in den Verfassungsänderungen aufzunehmen, dass ein früherer Präsident für keine anderen Führungspositionen in der Regierung kandidieren kann
In der jetzigen Form könne Präsident Saakashvili durch Annahme der Position des Premierministers "für Jahrzehnte an der Macht bleiben". ...
Labor Party called on other opposition parties on September 20 to join forces in demanding to include a provision in the draft of constitutional amendments, which will ban an incumbent President from running for key posts under the new model.
If the proposed draft is endorsed in its current form, it means that President Saakashvili "will stay in power for decades" by taking PM's post, whose powers will be significantly increased under the new model, Shalva Natelashvili, the leader of Labor Party said.
"No one is going to tolerate it," he said while speaking to Kavkasia TV's political talk-show. "In this case, the only way left for the Georgian people will be to overthrow the government. Do we want this? I think we don't; it will cause very grave consequences."
"Passing of the draft in its current form will put an end to any prospect for peaceful change of government," he added. ...
20 Sep. '10 Diskussionen um die Verfassungsänderung nun im Parliament
20 Sep. '10 Militärparade für den ‘Unabhängigkeitstag’ in Tskhinvali
19 Sep. '10 Gesetzesänderung für die Polizeiarbeit vorgeschlagen: bei hinreichendem Verdacht ist das Aufhalten und Durchsuchen von Personen möglich
18 Sep. '10 Int. Gerichtshof in Den Haag entscheidet zunächst über die Zuständigkeit im dem Fall Georgien gegen Russland
International Court of Justice concluded on September 17 public hearings on Russia’s preliminary objections in the case filed by Tbilisi against Moscow two years ago.
The Hague-based court said it would render judgment on Russia’s preliminary objections at a public sitting, “the date of which will be announced in due course.”
In its case filed before ICJ on August 12, 2008, Georgia claims Russia violated its obligations under the 1965 International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD) during three distinct phases of its interventions in South Ossetia and Abkhazia in the period from 1990 to August 2008.
But Russia claims that ICJ has no jurisdiction to hear the case. The sides presented their oral arguments before the court during the two rounds of public hearings held between September 13 and September 17.
Russia requested ICJ to declare that it lacks jurisdiction over the claims brought by Georgia and the latter requested the court to dismiss Russia’s objections and to accept Georgia’s case against Russia as admissible.
If the court decides in favor of Georgia and rules that it has jurisdiction, ICJ will hold separate hearings later on the merits of the complaint.
18 Sep. '10 Neue Steuerordnung verabschiedet, die 2011 in Kraft treten wird
17 Sep. '10 Venedig-Kommission nennt die Gesetzesänderung um das Mißtrauensvotum einen Schlüsselvorschlag bei der vorgeschlagenen Verfassungsreform
17 Sep. '10 Präsident Saakashvili ‘dankt’ Putin für das Mitwirken bei der ‘Steigerung der Qualität des georgischen Weines’
President Saakashvili said on September 17, that thanks to Russia’s embargo on import of Georgian wines, most of local wine-makers had to increase quality of their products to seek alternative markets in the west.
Russia has failed to achieve its goals by this embargo, imposed in 2006, because “wine crisis in Georgia is already overcome, as we have started production of a high quality wine,” Saakashvili said while visiting Kakheti, a region in eastern Georgia, which is home to over 60% of Georgian vineyards.
“Many thanks to Vladimir Putin for the fact that the quality of our wines has increased. By the way, I was warning him about it in 2006, when I met him in St. Petersburg,” Saakashvili said.
17 Sep. '10 Bagapsh für Kommission, die die Klärung von Besitzfragen diskutiert
Abkhaz leader, Sergey Bagapsh, signed a decree on establishing a commission “to secure legality while resolving” property rights of Russian citizens in Abkhazia, Abkhaz news agency, Apsnipress, reported on September 17.
Moscow-proposed commission to tackle property disputes of the Russian citizens in the breakaway region triggered controversy and debates in Sokhumi in mid-August. The opponents of the proposal feared that it could pave the way for the return of thousands of those Georgians, who fled Abkhazia after the armed conflict in early 90s and who now reside in Russia, holding Russian passports.
PM of the breakaway region, Sergey Shamba, said late last month that Moscow’s initial proposal was dismissed by Sokhumi, although the Abkhaz side was not rejecting the idea itself. He said that the proposal should have been tailored to the Abkhaz realities and required that each disputed case was discussed separately and thoroughly in order to prevent return of ethnic Georgians with Russian citizenship.
16 Sep. '10 UN-Vertreter für intern Vertriebene Walter Kaelin besucht Georgien
Walter Kaelin, the U.N. Secretary-General's representative on the human rights of internally displaced persons, called on the Georgian authorities to avoid eviction of IDPs the way it had been done in previous months, which he described as “second time” displacement.
Kaelin visited Georgia on September 13-16 for fifth time since 2005 and also traveled to breakaway Abkhazia. Living conditions of IDPs and implementation of the Georgian government’s strategy and action plan to provide durable housing solution for IDPs was the focus of his discussions in Tbilisi and during the meetings with displaced persons. 
In the breakaway region, where he also traveled to the Gali district, Kaelin was looking into the condition of those Georgians who have returned to this predominantly Georgian-populated district.
‘Second Time’ Displacement
Speaking at a news conference in Tbilisi on September 16, Kaelin praised the Georgian government for its commitment to implement its strategy for providing durable housing solutions for IDPs, saying that “in many cases IDPs were able to receive property and their living conditions are much better now than earlier.”
According to the Georgian ministry in charge of displaced persons, 24,391 IDP families have received privatized apartments or houses, or monetary compensation and further 2,035 IDP households have been given land for farming.
Kaelin, however, said that although it was a positive development that IDPs were receiving “a very good housing” in frames of the government’s strategy and action plan, “but their livelihoods are not improved.”
“Improving housing conditions and improvement of livelihood conditions have to go hand in hand,” he said.
Kaelin said that another source of major concern was related to series of evictions of IDPs, which took place in Tbilisi in July and August.
The process of eviction from several state-owned buildings came under fire from local and international human rights groups, as well as from UN refugee agency and the Parliamentary Assembly of Council of Europe’s Committee on Migration, Refugees and Population.
He said that eviction process was marred with two major problems: the one related to the way it had been done – giving IDP families a short oral notice about the planned eviction so that they had not enough time to prepare and another problem was related to the authorities’ failure to provide evicted IDPs with proper alternative housing.
“The problem is that the people were moved out and they were not really given real alternative so their situation is worse than it was before,” he said.
“It is not good enough to say: ‘you have some accommodation’ - even if it’s nice accommodation - if it [eviction] means that these people [evicted IDPs] lose their livelihoods, if it means that they lose access to education and health services,” Kaelin said.
“I’ve met such people, who in that sense, are now displaced for the second time and have lost that little they had before in terms of livelihoods and access to services and that’s the problem,” he added.
Kaelin said that he had “very good discussions” with the Georgian authorities on these problems and he thought there was an understanding from the side of the government that these problems required better handling.
“I’m quite optimistic about that,” Kaelin added.
He said that there were some privately-owned buildings in Tbilisi where IDPs were currently residing and owners insisting on getting their property.
“There could be other evictions,” Kaelin said, “but the best way would be not to evict these people, but to do that in a planned way… to avoid kind of situation that we had last month.”
Visit to Sokhumi, Gali
Speaking about the visit to Abkhazia, Kaelin said that prospects for return of all IDPs back to Abkhazia “after so many years still remain very, very low.”
“This situation of protracted displacement should not continue. The right of return has to be recognized and conditions for return have to be created,” he said.
He said that although authorities in Sokhumi allowed “some returns” to Gali district, they “still are not ready to allow for the return of all IDPs” on the entire territory of Abkhazia.
During Kaelin’s visit in Sokhumi, foreign minister of the breakaway region, Maxim Gvinjia, said that the Abkhaz side in 1999 “unilaterally allowed” about 60,000 Georgians to return to the Gali district, Abkhaz news agency, Apsnipress, reported. He said further return of Georgians to other parts of the region was not possible as it would aggravate the situation.
International organizations put the number of Georgian returnees to Gali at about 40,000. Despite the return, they are still considered as displaced persons by Georgia as their return has been sporadic with no security guarantees.
Kaelin said there were two major challenges in the Gali district – one related with security situation and another related to problem of “maintaining cultural traditions” of local Georgians.
In Abkhazia Kaelin met with local civil society representatives and local residents in Gali district. Kaelin said that in Sokhumi he was supposed to meet with Abkhaz PM Sergey Shamba and foreign minister, Maxim Gvinjia, “but for reasons I do not know” the scheduled, official meetings were not possible. He, however, said had an opportunity to have a “short” and “informal” meeting with foreign minister Gvinjia when he “came out of the ministry”.
16 Sep. '10 Ehemaliger Stellvertreter des Gesundsheitsministers Koka Pruidze wegen Bestechlichkeit verhaftet - Schaden ca. 700.000 GEL
16 Sep. '10 US-Sekretär des Verteidigungsministeriums Gates: USA seien "vorsichtig" gewesen mit dem, was sie an Waffen nach Georgien geliefert hätten
16 Sep. '10 Präsident Saakashvili zum Gipfel der European People’s Party (EPP) in Brüssel
Saakashvili’s Regierungspartei, United National Movement, ist ein beobachtendes Mitglied der EPP seit 2008.
15 Sep. '10 Zentralbank hebt den Leitzins auf 7% an
15 Sep. '10 Bulgarischer Ex-Premierminister Philip Dimitrov zum EU-Botschafter in Georgien auserwählt durch Catherine Ashton
15 Sep. '10 Erste Anhörung im Fall Georgien gegen Russland vor dem int. Gerichtshof in Den Haag
14 Sep. '10 Azerbaijan, Georgien, Ungarn und Rumänien unterzeichnen Erklärung für die Ausführung eines Flüssiggasprojektes AGRI
Von Aserbaidschan wird Gas in Pipelines nach Kulevi geliefertt und dort als Flüssiggas über das Schwarze Meer nach Rumänien verschifft, wo es wieder in Gas verwandelt mit Pipelines in Europa verteilt wird.
Presidents of Azerbaijan, Georgia and Romania and PM of Hungary signed on September 14 a joint declaration in Baku on implementation of a liquefied natural gas (LNG) transportation project.
According to the project, known as Azerbaijan, Georgia, Romania Interconnection (AGRI), Azerbaijani gas will be delivered via pipelines to a terminal in Kulevi on Georgia’s Black Sea coast, where it will be liquefied. Tankers would then ship the liquefied gas to the Romanian Black Sea port of Constanţa and after regasification it will be transported via pipelines further into Europe.
In May, 2010 the state energy companies of Azerbaijan, Georgia and Romania agreed to set up a joint venture to proceed with the project.
At the summit in Baku, Georgian, Azerbaijani and Romanian leaders welcomed that the project was also joined by Hungary. President Saakashvili said it would be a boost for the project, especially in the view that Hungary would take EU’s rotating presidency from January, 2011.
A feasibility study will be the first phase of the project, which may take about six months, Vagif Aliyev, head of the Azerbaijani state oil company SOCAR said. After that, he continued, negotiations with investors would start on financing of the project and the whole process may take about 20 months.
14 Sep. '10 Öffentliches Fernsehen von der parl. Minderheit kritisiert wegen der Nichtbeachtung der Diskussion um das neue Verfassungsmodell
14 Sep. '10 Auslandsdirektinvestitionen im 2.Quartal um 11% gegenüber dem Vorjahr angestiegen
Georgia is part of NATO-led mission in Afghanistan to gain combat experience and to become further integrated with its western allies, President Saakashvili said on September 13.
Speaking at a newly re-established school of cadets in Kutaisi, Georgia’s second largest city in Imereti region, Saakashvili said, that “the fact that there are so many problems in Afghanistan, is very bad for Georgia,” because it distracts international attention from those issues, which were source of concern for Georgia.
NATO-led operation in Afghanistan, he said, “is our straggle” too.
“Of course someone may say: ‘we have so many problems, our territories are occupied and there is no time now for going somewhere else to fight’. But because of these very same problems that we have, we need a huge combat experience my friends and that’s [Afghan mission] is unique combat and war school. Georgia is not in a situation of Norway, Denmark, or Australia. Take a look at our situation, our challenges and threats – can we say no to our armed forces and can we say no to a war school? This is an opportunity to become integrated to the world’s best armies, to see the most advanced [military] equipment and achievements,” Saakashvili said.
“I am grateful to our soldiers and their families, who have not complained even once, who participate in [the Afghan operation] with full awareness of their mission,” he added.
Company commander from the 31st infantry battalion, first lieutenant Mukhran Shukvani, 28, who was killed while on mission in the province of Helmand more than week ago, became Georgia’s first casualty since the country joined the coalition forces in Afghanistan in November, 2009.
13 Sep. '10 Gruppe, die die Verfassungsänderungen diskutiert, hielt abschließende Sitzung ab
    * Category of organic law to remain in new model;
    * PM will need deliberation with gov't to appoint governors;
    * Parliamentary debates on draft will start after Venice Commission’s visit
A group, which led series of public discussions on proposed constitutional amendments, held its closing meeting on September 13, technically paving the way for launch of parliamentary debates on the constitutional reform.
But as Davit Bakradze, the parliamentary speaker and chairman of the group, said on September 13, lawmakers should launch discussion of the draft at parliamentary session only after a delegation from the Venice Commission, Council of Europe’s advisory body for legal issues, visits Georgia on September 16-17 and provides the authorities its final recommendations on the proposed draft.
(See the main points of proposed constitutional amendments on this link; recommendation of Council of Europe’s advisory body for legal affairs, Venice Commission, is available on this link).
Public discussions started in late July and it was led by the 36-member group, known as Commission on Organizing Public Discussions; the process was a formal procedure required for any constitutional amendment before it is discussed by the Parliament.
After the group’s final meeting, which was held behind the closed doors, Bakradze told journalists that the commission had agreed to take into consideration recommendations calling for maintaining category of “organic law” in the new model.
Another important change in the draft, he said, would be related to the rule of appointment of regional governors. The current draft says that PM appoints and dismisses provincial governors, instead of the President as it is under the current constitution. It, however, was decided to take into consideration a recommendation by the Venice Commission according to which PM will appoint governors with deliberation of the government.
"It is an important amendments, because under the new model government may consist of a coalition cabinet, so in case of a coalition government more political forces will be engaged in appointment of governors," Davit Bakradze said.
It has also been decided to include a formulation in the draft, which will further strengthen guarantees for property rights, Bakradze said.
Avtandil Demetrashvili, a chairman of the state commission which developed the draft, told journalists before the meeting that discussion of timeframes of constructive vote of no confidence was expected; the timeframe in the proposed draft were criticized by the Venice Commission as “excessively long.”
MP Giorgi Targamadze, leader of parliamentary minority and of Christian-Democratic Movement (CDM), said before the meeting that he was planning to propose to change the date of the new constitution’s entry into force. He said it should be enforced after the 2012 parliamentary elections and not in December, 2013 after President Saakashvili’s second and final term in office expires.
13 Sep. '10 Georgien’s Hilfe für für den kleinen Inselstaat Tuvalu wird 12,000 USD betragen
13 Sep. '10 Präsident Saakashvili über die Afghanistan-Mission
13 Sep. '10 Präsident Saakashvili wird Azerbaijan besuchen
13 Sep. '10 Internationaler Gerichtshof in Den Haag beginnt der Anhörung im Fall Georgien gegen Russland
12 Sep. '10 Präsident Saakashvili möchte, dass die USA mit defensiven Waffen helfen
11 Sep. '10 Georgien wird finanzielle Hilfe für den kleinen Inselstaat Tuvalu im Pazifik bereitstellen
Tuvalu stimmte in der letzten UN-Resolution für Georgien. Tuvalu liegt nicht weit entfernt von dem Inselstaat Nauru, der als vierter UN-Mitgliedsstaat Abchasien und Südossetien anerkannte.
11 Sep. '10 EU begrüßt die Freilassung des georgischen Gefangenen Malkhaz Kordzaia durch Suchumi
10 Sep. '10 UN-Experte Walter Kaelin für intern Vertriebene besucht Georgien
10 Sep. '10 Neuer Gesungheitsminister ernannt
10 Sep. '10 Sokhumi läßt einen georgischen Gefangenen frei
Malkhaz Kordzaia, ein Veteran der georgischen Armee, war 19 Monate in Suchumi inhaftiert.
9 Sep. '10 Innenminister Vano Merabishvili: keine Gefährdung durch direkten Angriff Russlands in der nahen Zukunft
Although Russia is sparing no efforts to discredit Georgia, no threat of aggression exists, Vano Merabishvili, Georgia’s powerful interior minister, said.
“I actually rule out threat of direct aggression against Georgia in the near future,” he told journalists after addressing a meeting of Georgian diplomats on September 9.
“Russia never misses a chance to discredit Georgia, to stage provocations against Georgia,” Merabishvili said and added Russia was now more focused on disseminating disinformation about Georgia.
“Russia aims at undermining Georgia’s image as a stable, civilized country; but figures showing increasing number of tourists in Georgia, demonstrates that the west believes less in Russia’s provocative statements,” he said.
Merabishvili said “hungry and aggressive” Russian troops “have not crossed a single square meter” beyond the administrative border; the Georgian newspaper Kviris Paltra reported this week that the Russian forces moved the border two kilometers deeper into the Georgian-controlled territory – the report which was not substantiated.
Also on September 8, President Saakashvili speaking while visiting a factory, which is now under construction, not far from the breakaway South Ossetia’s administrative border, said that “occupants were watching” Georgia’s development with a “surprise.”
“Occupants are standing over there [pointing finger in direction of administrative border with breakaway South Ossetia] and looking at us with surprise. They represent country with huge resources with lots of opportunities and lots of income from oil, but they still live like beggars – I mean soldiers and officers. At first they watched us with surprise building these houses [for displaced persons from South Ossetia], while they still live in tents; then they saw how we cultivated this land with the help of Americans and who income was created for [IDP] families… and now, in order to pour salt on their surprise, we show them how we build a factory here,” Saakashvili said.
“What they have gained? And how Georgia is developing? – that’s the difference we are making,” Saakashvili said. “We are building the state – something that they will not even see in their dreams.”
9 Sep. '10 Griechisches Schiff mit 15 georgischen Seeleuten vor Somalia entführt
9 Sep. '10 Russischer Außenminister äußert sich zur Resolution der UN-Generalversammlung
Russian Foreign Minister said on September 8, that UN General Assembly’s “counterproductive” resolution, reiterating right of displaced persons to return “throughout
Georgia, including in Abkhazia and South Ossetia”, would not help confidence building in the region.
The Russian MFA said that the resolution “is fraught with complicating situation in the region and may hit Geneva discussions, which are already ongoing in an uneasy” conditions.
It criticized the resolution for not taking into account realities on the ground and for referring Abkhazia and South Ossetia as parts of Georgia.
“Against the background of Georgia’s persistent refusal to sign with the Abkhaz and South Ossetian sides legally binding agreement on non-use of force, it looks like a pure demagogy [the resolution’s] call on participants of Geneva discussions ‘to intensify their efforts to establish a durable peace, to commit to enhanced confidence-building measures’,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said.
8 Sep. '10 Präsident Saakashvili begrüßt die Resolution der UN-Generalversammlung
8 Sep. '10 Parlamentspräsident Bakradze diskutiert Verfassungsreform mit der Opposition
8 Sep. '10 USA-Georgien Geschäftsgipfel, um neue Handels- und Investionsbeziehungen zu fördern
8 Sep. '10 UN-Generalversammlung verabschiedet Resolution zu den intern Vertriebenen in Georgien
Es stimmten 50 Staaten für die Resolution und 17 Staaten mit Russland dagegen bei 86 Enthaltungen. Im Text der Resolution wird von "erzwungenem demographischem Wandel" gesprochen.
The UN General Assembly passed on September 7 Georgia-sponsored resolution A/RES/64/294 reiterating the right of return of all displaced persons and refugees to breakaway Abkhazia and South Ossetia by a vote of 50 in favor to 17 against, with 86 abstentions.
Two similar non-binding resolutions were also passed by the Assembly in 2008 (in respect of Abkhazia) and in 2009. Georgia welcomed that each year support for the resolution was widening.
Last year the resolution was passed with 48 countries voting in favor; 19 – against and with 78 abstentions. In 2008 the resolution was passed with small margin of 14 votes in favor to 11 against and 105 abstentions.
“We have two votes more [this year] and our opponents, Russian diplomats lost two votes,” Grigol Vashadze, the Georgian foreign minister, said at a joint news conference with his visiting Finnish counterpart, Alexander Stubb, on September 8.
“This trend will continue because of a simple reason – the international community has ruled a verdict on the occupying power’s actions in the occupied territories, including in respect of ethnic cleansing; there is a good wording in the resolution ‘forced demographic changes’, which is a synonym of ethnic cleansing,” he said.
Before the vote on September 7, Russia tried to remove the issue from the agenda, describing the text as “odious”; but its motion was defeated by a vote of 67 against to 32 in favor, with 54 abstentions.
Russia’s UN envoy said that the resolution had no humanitarian aims and its motivations were exclusively political and based on short-term calculations by Georgia. Russia also said that the text of resolution was unrealistic, in particular the idea of a timetable for the early return of refugees and internally displaced persons, which the Russian envoy said, did not take into account the Secretary-General’s report stating that it was premature to develop such timetable.
7 Sep. '10 Georgische Diplomaten diskutieren politische Prioritäten
7 Sep. '10 Außenminister FM: Georgia Committed to Afghan Operation
Georgia, which has suffered its first casualty  in Afghanistan since joining the NATO-led forces there, will not suspend or reduce its military presence in Afghanistan, Grigol Vashadze, the Georgian foreign minister said on September 7.
“Georgia will change nothing in its commitments undertaken as a partner [to the coalition forces],” Vashadze said, while speaking at a joint news conference with his visiting Estonian counterpart Urmas Paet.
“Unlike other European states, we are [geographically] closer to Afghanistan and presence of our hero soldiers in Afghanistan first and foremost serves to Georgia’s national interests. This is a tragic loss, but it can not serve as a reason to suspend our mission to Afghanistan,” he said.
Company commander from the 31st infantry battalion, first lieutenant Mukhran Shukvani, 28, died and another Georgian soldier was badly wounded while on mission as a result of explosion of improvised explosive device, the Georgian Ministry of Defense said on September 5. No other details of the incident were reported.
Georgia sent its 31st infantry battalion to Afghanistan in April, 2010 to serve under the U.S. command in the province of Helmand.
With this deployment Georgia increased its military presence in Afghanistan about 950 soldiers. Georgia first deployed a company-sized unit in Afghanistan under the French command in November, 2009.
According to the NATO-led mission, International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), the 31st battalion stationed in Camp Delaram II in Helmand province, along with two U.S. Marine battalions and British Royal Marine 40 Commando, is conducting counterinsurgency operations throughout the Nimruz and Helmand provinces.
The Estonian Foreign Minister, who expressed condolences over death of the Georgian soldier, said that Georgia’s contribution to Afghan mission was “absolutely important for international security point of view.”
“[Georgia’s contribution] is also a very clear political signal from the Georgian society… and Estonia, as a member state of NATO, is very grateful that Georgia is participating in ISAF mission in Afghanistan,” Urmas Paet said.
7 Sep. '10 Diplomat: Polen könnte die ‘Formen’ der Darstellung der Unterstützung für Georgien ändern
6 Sep. '10 Besuch einer US-Kongressdelegation
6 Sep. '10 Inflationsrate von Jahr zu Jahr bei 9.5%, im Juli 7%
6 Sep. '10 Russischer Offizieller im Innenministerium wirft Georgien vor, Militante in Georgien auszubilden und in den Nordkaukasus zu schicken
Georgia hosts “special camps” where militants are trained and then sent to join insurgents in North Caucasus, a senior Russian Interior Ministry official in charge of North Caucasus region has alleged.  
“Georgia has become visibly active recently,” Nikolai Simakov, deputy head of Interior Ministry’s unit in North Caucasus federal district, said in an interview with Russian newspaper, Vremya Novostei, when asked about foreign aid to militants operating in the North Caucasus.
“We have information that special camps are set on the territory of this country [Georgia] for training of fighters. Persons from the Caucasus republics, usually criminals and as well as those who are at large in European states are gathered there, trained and sent to us via neighboring countries,” he said in the newspaper interview, published on September 6.
“A clash took place recently when a group tried to cross into Russia from Azerbaijan; an Azerbaijani border guard died, one fighter was killed and two others detained. It was revealed during the interrogation, that they were recruited by extremist organizations and sent to Georgia for training with a goal to then operate on the Russian territory,” Simakov said.
When last month the U.S. Department of State released an annual country report on terrorism, saying that “Russia’s claims of Georgian support for Chechen terrorist and harboring of such individuals in the Pankisi gorge were unsubstantiated”, the Russian Foreign Ministry slammed the report’s Georgia section as biased.
"The report portrays Georgia as a truly exemplary fighter against terrorism. Herewith it ignores available information that Georgia is playing a double game in respect of terrorist underground in the North Caucasus," the Russian Foreign Ministry said on August 13.
5 Sep. '10 In Afghanistan ein georgischer Soldat getöt, ein anderer verwundet
4 Sep. '10 Präsident Saakashvili verteidigt die Rolle des Präsidenten in der neun Verfassung
President Saakashvili said on September 3, that he was against of further weakening president's powers in the proposed new constitutional model as recommended by Council of Europe's advisory body, Venice Commission.
Speaking at a meeting with lawmakers from his ruling National Movement party, Saakashvili said: "I categorically disagree with the Venice Commission - which in overall likes the new draft - to weaken the President and equal this post to the one that is in many European countries, for example Presidents of Italy or Germany, where the Presidents have symbolic role."
"Georgia faces difficult challenges and there should be a strong President in Georgia... We should understand that without a strong President, especially in the crisis situations, it will be difficult to rule Georgia. So in this regard we can not accept European experts' recommendations fully," he said.
The new model, he said, guarantees that "power will no longer be concentrated in any single center". "A collective government will be established," Saakashvili said.
In the new model President's powers will be significantly reduced and transfered to the government and PM. However, as the Venice Commission said in its opinion on the proposed draft of constitutional amendments, the President still “retains important powers”, including in the field of the international relations, the armed forces and the situations of emergency, as well as in a situation when government faces vote of no confidence.
The Commission warned that there was a risk of possible scenario, when President could come in conflicts with the other institutions – a scenario “which is enhanced by the fact that the President is directly elected.”
“The government may be the expression of a parliamentary majority different from that which supported the election of the President, with parliamentary elections occurring every four years while presidential elections every five years.”
“In addition, and importantly, the President plays a political role, which is not coherent with the role of impartial guarantor of the continuity of the constitutional order of the State and of its unity,” the Commission said.
President Saakashvili also said on September 3, that he was not intending to call a referendum seeking for voters' consent to run for presidency for the third term. Saakashvili's second and final term in office expires in 2013.
"According to all the public opinion polls this [to secure voters' support in referendum to run for re-election] is easy to do in Georgia, but I am categorically stating that we should not do that," he said.
He again denied allegations that the new constitution would be modeled on personalities.
"It is often said that it is an attempt to model the constitution on personalities; a term 'Putinization' has also been used. There is no need to reform the constitution for Putinization, as on paper Putin has no powers - according to the Russian constitution PM has no much powers," Saakashvili said.
4 Sep. '10 Präsident Saakashvili: 'Georgien ist Russland's ideologischer Hauptkonkurrent'
    * Russia tries in vein 'to imitate Georgia';
    * 'I’m not nervous about Russo-Armenian base deal’;
    * He called the German press ‘Russophile’
Tbilisi has "an ideological confrontation" with Moscow, as Georgia represents "a major competitor" to Russia in terms of model of development, President Saakashvili said on September 3.
He was speaking at an outdoor meeting with lawmakers from his ruling National Movement party on the shores of the Black Sea in Anaklia. During the 40-minute long speech, which was televised live, he also spoke about planned constitutional reform.
"It is an objective reality, that Georgia has become Russia's major competitor in the post-Soviet space in terms of model of development; the major competitor in the sphere of ideology. [It happened] not because we wanted that - we are not obsessed by megalomania - it just happened so. We only had a very humble task - to do something in Georgia, that would have been different from what we had previously and to have a normal live," Saakashvili said.
"But as it turned out, it came into direct conflict with what is a well-rooted way of life in the entire post-Soviet space and which, first of all, is a heritage of Russia's imperial space."
He said that the Ukrainian officials were travelling to Georgia, visiting various Georgian state institutions "with pen and notebook in their hands" in order to learn Georgia's experience of reforms. He said citing an unnamed "important Moldovan figure" saying that "there is a Russian model and there is a Georgian model and we want to follow the Georgian model."
"Leadership of the empire [referring to Russia] knows all these better than we know and it is posing a fatal threat to them [the Russian leadership]," Saakashvili said. "I have listened to Medvedev's speech about the police reform in Russia - only the word Georgia was not mentioned there, otherwise it [the speech] was built on what Georgia has done with the police."
He said that Russia was "in the mode of imitating" Georgia.
"But their attempt to imitate [Georgia] will fail, because when they speak about modernization... it is impossible to build modern, 21st century society in the feudal country," Saakashvili said.
He also said that Russia was facing "other types of problems as well."
"I was speaking with one of the senior executives of OPEC recently, who said that in maximum seven years Russia's oil output would reduce by 2.5-fold... So on what Russia's wealth is standing, it is now disappearing. Time works in our favor my friends," he said.
Saakashvili also said that he was not at all concerned by Russia's agreements with Armenia and Ukraine under which Moscow prolonged presence of its military base and Black Sea fleet, respectively, in these countries.
"I am not nervous at all about it," he said. "It may be a source of concern as it may be a threat in a short-term perspective, but in a long-term it won't do anything [to Georgia]. Like they [Russia] withdrew their rusty military bases from Georgia, even sooner they will pull thier bases from those countries, not even speaking about our territories [referring to Russian bases in Abkhazia and South Ossetia]," he said.
"We should now focus on development and irreversible stability of our political system," he said and added in this context that last year's lengthy street protest rallies of the opposition was "fundamentally anti-state, anti-national and anti-Georgian".
He said those rallies were financed by "Russian-Georgian mafia in Europe", which, he said, was confirmed by the Austrian police report. This report, he said, was picked up by the German press, "which has never been sympathetic towards us, because of its Russophile tendencies."
4 Sep. '10 Präsident Saakashvili: Georgien braucht 7-10% Wirtschaftswachstum
3 Sep. '10 Venedig-Kommission des Europarats wird am 15.-16.9. die neue georgischen Verfassung diskutieren, um eine Expertise für Georgien zu erstellen
3 Sep. '10 Oumbudsman Giorgi Tugushi trifft Minister Koba Subeliani, um den Fall der Zwangsräumung der intern Verrtriebenen zu besprechen
2 Sep. '10 Jetzt vier Tote aufgrund der Minenexplosion in Tkibuli
2 Sep. '10 Premierminister Nika Gilauri besucht Litauen
1 Sep. '10 Premierminister Nika Gilauri: Keine Veränderungen im Kabinett geplant
1 Sep. '10 Präsident Saakashvili diskutiert Weizen-Problem mit der Regierung
In what seemed to be a show of government’s efforts to ease recent price hikes on wheat and wheat-containing products, President Saakashvili held on August 31 a televised meeting with PM Nika Gilauri and Agriculture Minister Bakur Kvezereli saying that “threat of having higher price rise no longer exists.”
Bread price in Georgia went up by about 16.6% from 60 tetri to 70 tetri (about USD 0.38) last month and as the Agriculture Minister said price of some wheat-containing products increased by 30%, attributed to Russia wheat export ban and bad wheat harvest in the region.
Annual inflation was 7% in July, according to the National Bank of Georgia; no figures are yet available for August. PM Gilauri said at a government meeting on September 1, that inflation was triggered mainly by global food price inflation.
Last week President Saakashvili accompanied by the PM and TV cameras visited one of the supermarkets in Tbilisi asking for prices on some key food staples and instructing the government to work on diversification of sources of import.
At the August 31 meeting, Saakashvili said that “theoretically” Georgia could produce enough wheat to satisfy its internal market. According to the Agriculture Ministry, Georgia imports about 85% of its total wheat demand, mainly from Russia, as well as from Ukraine and Kazakhstan. The Agriculture Minister told the President that the goal was to increase share of locally grown wheat to at least 45% by 2013.
During the meeting Saakashvili also spoke by video link with head of Adjara Autnomous Republic's government, governors of Kvemo Kartli and Kakheti regions to discuss wheat farming in their respective regions, as well as with and Georgian ambassadors to Ukraine and the United States to discuss increase of import of wheat from those countries.
Saakashvili instructed the government to consider providing flour in aid to the most socially vulnerable families during the first months of next year.
31 Aug. '10 Gesundheitsminister tritt zurück
31 Aug. '10 Ministerium verspricht ‘permanente Unterstützung’ für die zwangsgeräumten intern Vertriebenen bei Bezug neuer Quartiere in ländlichen Gebieten
30 Aug. '10 Wirtschaftsminister: Ryanair interessiert am Zugang zu Georgien
30 Aug. '10 Putin wiederholt: USA würden Georgien wiederbewaffnen
29 Aug. '10 Präsident Saakashvili lobt den Erziehungsminister Dimitri für seine Leistungen
28 Aug. '10 Präsident Saakashvili wird am 22.9. eine Rede vor der UN-Generalversammlung halten
President Saakashvili will leave for the United States on September 20 to participate in the session of the UN General Assembly.
According to President’s administration, Saakashvili will address the UN General Assembly on September 23.
He will also make a speech at the New York University and participate in special receptions arranged on behalf of UN Secretary General and President Obama.
During the visit Saakashvili will also hold bilateral meetings with his counterparts from European, Latin American and African countries. 
28 Aug. '10 Drei Minenarbeiter bei Gasexplosion in Tkibuli getötet, sieben verletzt
An explosion in coal mine in western Georgia killed three miners and badly injured seven on August 27.
Georgian Interior Minister, Vano Merabishvili, who arrived on the ground, said that the incident was under investigation.
A methane gas leak seems to be the cause of the incident in mine in Tkibuli, Lasha Makatsaria, the governor of the Imereti region, where the mine is located, said.
The most recent similar incident occurred in Tkibuli mine in March, which killed four miners.
27 Aug. '10 Präsident Saakashvili zum neuen Verfassungsmodell: es wird ein europäisches Modell eingeführt, das keinem erlaube, Georgien im Alleingang zu regieren
26 Aug. '10 Tbilisi plant in den nächsten Wochen 'formal zu bestätigen', dass es nicht beabsichtige, Gewalt gegen die russische Besatzung anzuwenden
In next few weeks Georgia plans "to undertake new steps" in order "to officially formalize", that Tbilisi has no intention "to use military force against the Russian occupation," President Saakashvili said in an interview with the Russian radio station, Ekho Moskvy, on August 26.
He did not elaborate further details of what would be Georgia's "new steps" in this regard; he, however, said that it would "calm those in Russia, who seriously speak about possibility of the Georgian attack on Russian occupants, illegally present" in Abkhazia and South Ossetia.
Moscow has been pushing for a long time already for a non-use of force treaties between Tbilisi and Sokhumi and Tbilisi and Tskhinvali. The most recent proposal by Russia involves "unilateral declarations" signed separately by Tbilisi, Sokhumi and Tskhinvali on non-use of force pledges. Russia itself refuses to sign such document, as it does not consider itself party into the conflict.
Tbilisi's position has long been that no new such treaty was required as non-use of force commitment already was including in the August 12 six-point ceasefire agreement. At the same time, Georgia has been saying that it was ready to sign a separate new treaty, but on the condition if Russia was also part of it. Georgia also wants the new treaty to reflect the commitments Russia has already undertaken under the six-point agreement, in particular the part of the agreement, which calls on the parties to return thier military forces to the positions held prior to outbreak of hostilities on August 7.
President Saakashvili also said in the radio interview, that Tbilisi's intention "to formalize" non-use of force commitment would also "limit the room for maneuvering" for those in Russia "who use this imaginary Georgian threat for justifying thier further actions." He suggested that Russia's PM Vladimir Putin, who, he said, would apparently again run for presidency in 2012, might further fuel tensions with Georgia to use it for his electoral campaign.
"We will try not to make Russia's new electoral campaign develop against the background of final resolution of the Georgian issue," Saakashvili said.
He said that "recipe for overcoming" current troubles in Russo-Georgian relations "is very simple."
"Firstly, it is, as a minimum, de-occupation of the Georgian territories; giving Georgia possibility to decide itself how to develop, whom to elect, which alliances to join," Saakashvili said.
"We have expressed readiness for number of times to start talks on substantive issues without any preconditions... and this proposal remains in force," he said.
26 Aug. '10 Intern Vertriebene sind im Hungerstreik, um gegen die Zwangsräumungen zu protestieren
26 Aug. '10 Russische Zeitung "Kommersant" äußert sich über die Auseinandersetzung um die Besitzrechte russischer Bürger in Abchasien
Sokhumi's "hysteria" over Moscow-proposed joint commission to work on restitution of property of Russian citizens in Abkhazia, is groundless as it is not "infringing the Abkhaz interests," the Russian daily, Kommersant, reported quoting an unnamed source from the Russian Foreign Ministry.
The issue became a source of controversy in Abkhazia after the local newspaper, Nuzhnaya, accused the Abkhaz leadership of "anti-state and anti-Abkhaz" actions for considering a proposal on "the concept of a joint Russian-Abkhaz commission on restoration of property rights of the Russia citizens in Abkhazia." The article, published on August 17, said, that the concept would pave the way for the return of thousands of those Georgians, who fled Abkhazia after the armed conflict in early 90s and who now reside in Russia, holding Russian passports.
PM of breakaway region, Sergey Shamba, confirmed that such proposal on setting up of the joint commission was received from the Russian Foreign Ministry, but said it was immediately rejected by Sokhumi.
"There is nothing in the document that can be viewed as negative or infringing Abkhaz interests," the Kommersant reported quoting the Russian Foreign Ministry source. "This is a draft document, which was elaborated based on taking into consideration desires of Russians [who seek restoration of property rights in Abkhazia]... No one is saying that the joint [Russian-Abkhaz] commission should return dwellings to everyone without prior consideration [of individual cases]. And allegations, that Russia wants to return Georgian refugees [back to Abkhazia] are utter absurd."
"Some in Abkhazia simply do not want Russians, who lived in Abkhazia before the war and possessed dwelling there, to return. I do not rule out that all this hysteria is just a stage show of the Abkhaz authorities, who have decided to reject creation of the commission, citing negative public reaction," the source was quoted.
According to the Kommersant, "more and more" Russian citizens, most of them not ethnic Georgians, have been appealing the Abkhaz authorities, as well as the Russian Foreign Ministry recently with the request to help regain thier properties abandoned during the war in Abkhazia in early 90s.
Shamba said on August 23, that after the war many of those people whose houses were destroyed during the war, had to settle in abandoned houses and restitution of property would be a painful process. He said that Sokhumi was not rejecting considering this issue, but it required a thorough deliberation in order to also prevent return of those ethnic Georgians, who lived in Abkhazia before the war and now hold Russian passports.
The Kommersant wrote that adoption of such proposal by Sokhumi "carries a threat of real riots." An editor of Sokhumi-based newspaper, Chegemskaya Pravda, Inal Khashig told the Kommersant, that despite Sokhumi's close ties with Moscow, in this particular case the Abkhaz authorities "are guided with survival instinct; they will be swept away if they accept this proposal."
Paata Zakareishvili, a frequent commentator on Abkhaz-related issues and a member of Georgian opposition Republican Party, told the RFE/RL Georgian service, that Sokhumi's rejection of Moscow's proposal was driven with fear towards possible change of demographic situation in the region.
"They [Abkhazians] are of course afraid of return of Russians and Armenians, but they are not saying it [publicly]... They only mention Georgians, because they know it will be sold easily... This is a strong argument for them and are hiding stronger fears behind this argument. So while speaking out publicly against [return of] Georgians, they at the same time speak out against [return of] Russians and Armenians as well," Zakareishvili said.
The Kommersant also reported, that Russia had long been pressing Sokhumi to amend its law, which does not allow foreigners to buy property in Abkhazia. Although there are cases, when Russians buy property in Abkhazia through various schemes bypassing the law. Abkhaz leader, Sergey Bagapsh, said in February, 2010, that the law would be emended and ban would be dropped only for the Russian citizens; he, however, also said that the issue required “a thorough consideration.”
This month Bagapsh told Newsweek, that he had reached an agreement with Russia's PM Vladimir Putin that will allow Russian citizens to own private property in Abkhazia.
25 Aug. '10 Tbilisi bemüht sich bei der UN in New York, die Unterstützung für die Resolution der Vertriebenen abzusichern
Georgian State Minister for Reintegration, Temur Yakobashvili, is in New York holding series of meeting in the UN headquarters to secure support of Tbilisi-sponsored UN General Assembly draft resolution reiterating right of all internally displaced persons and refugees to return to Abkhazia and South Ossetia.
Yakobashvili, whose visit started on August 17 and will last till August 30, also aims at presenting Tbilisi's strategy on occupied territories and its action plan for engagement with residents of the two breakaway regions, the State Ministry for Reintegration said on Wednesday.
Russia has already criticized the draft resolution as Georgia's "unconstructive" steps, which had "negatively affected the atmosphere" of recent round of Geneva talks on July 27.
Similar resolutions have been tabled by Tbilisi and passed by the UN General Assembly in in last two years as well; Georgia, however, tries to increase number of those UN-member states, which vote in favor of the resolution.
In 2008, UN General Assembly passed Georgian-sponsored resolution recognizing "the right of all refugees and internally displaced persons and their descendants, regardless of ethnicity" to return to Abkhazia with small margin of 14 votes in favor to 11 against; 105 abstained.
In 2009, resolution recognizing the right of return of IDPs and refugees in both breakaway regions was passed with 48 countries voting in favor; 19 – against and with 78 abstentions.
According to the State Ministry for Reintegration, Temur Yakobashvili met in New York with representatives from African Union; CARICOM, an organization of 15 Caribbean nations and Andean, a trade bloc of Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru; as well as with officials from number of Pacific island nations.
25 Aug. '10 Außenminister Grigol Vashadze nimmt an, dass Russland auch in Südossetien S-300 Raketensysteme stationiert hat
24 Aug. '10 Auslandsinvestitionen in Georgien sind 2009 auf 658.4 Mio. USD zurückgegangen (2008: 1563 Mio.)
24 Aug. '10 UNHCR besorgt in der Angelegenheit um die Zwangsräumungen intern Vertriebener
24 Aug. '10 Parlament beginnt Debatten um um die Konstitution im September
23 Aug. '10 Abkhaz PM on Property Rights of Russian Citizens in Abkhazia
23 Aug. '10 Parlamentspräsident Bakradze: "Normalisierung" der Beziehungen zu Russland sollte mit gemeinsamen Anstrengungen in Sachen Abchasien und Südossetien starten
Diese Fragen zu umgehen ist unmöglich.
Davit Bakradze, the Georgian parliamentary chairman, said "normalization" of relations between Moscow and Tbilisi should start from "joint efforts on the Abkhaz and South Ossetian directions."
"We are ready to resolve issues with Russia through dialogue. But it won't be negotiations from a blank page," he said in an interview with the Russian newspaper Vremya Novostei, published on August 23.
"It's hard to talk with an interlocutor, who has embassies in Sokhumi and Tskhinvali - on our territories; who deploys troops without our consent, controlling the fifth of Georgia. We can start talks with discussing withdrawal of these military forces with a prospect to resolve the conflict. It is impossible to by-pass these issues." 
"It is impossible to normalize relations without joint efforts on the Abkhaz and South Ossetian directions. When we speak about political normalization or about withdrawal of the Russian forces, we do not mean forcing Russia out [of the region]. It should be a dignified process with taking into consideration mutual interests. This kind of compromise is absolutely possible in case of elementary good will from the Russian side. Then it will be possible to discuss opening of borders, restoration of air link - everything that can benefit ordinary citizens; but these are not major issues in our relations," Bakradze said.
He said "emotions" were behind Russia's statements that its recognition of Abkhazia and South Ossetia was irreversible.
"Moscow sees that these recognitions have brought to nowhere, but it is hard to acknowledge it. Several years should be passed in order these emotions to fade away," Bakradze said, adding that Russia would benefit much more from having relations with Georgia based on equal rights.
"For example, we have common interest in stability in the North Caucasus," he said. "It is not in Georgia's interests to destabilize situation in the North Caucasus. That's were we have common interests with Moscow. Let's cooperate, but only on the basis of equality and partnership,"
22 Aug. '10 Stellvertretende Außenministerin Nino Kalandadze sagt über den russisch-armenischen Vertrag einer Militärbasis, dass Tbilisi keinen Grund habe, anzunehmen, dass Armenien die regionale Sicherheit gefährde.
Commenting on Russian-Armenian military base deal, Georgian Deputy Foreign Minister, Nino Kalandadze said on August 20, that Tbilisi had no reason to suspect that Armenia would endanger regional security.
Armenian and Russian Presidents signed in Yerevan on August 20 an agreement extending Moscow’s lease on Gyumri military base in Armenia to 2044.
"For us it is important, that Armenia fully acknowledged and is acknowledging threat coming from Russia in respect of Georgia, including in the regional context. It is important for us that this awareness exists. We have good relations with Armenia and we have no reason to suspect that Armenia will in any form put regional security in danger," Nino Kalandadze, the Georgian deputy foreign minister, told reporters on August 20.
Asked at a news conference after signing of the agreement, how Russia would act in case events similar to those in Georgia in August, 2008 occur in Nagorno-Karabakh, Russia's President, Dmitry Medvedev, responded, that Moscow supports peace in South Caucasus, but in case of crisis it would act in accordance to its commitments undertaken as an ally within Moscow-led security bloc of seven former Soviet republics known as the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO). Azerbaijan and Georgia withdrew from CSTO, to which Armenia is a member, in 1999.
"As the largest state in the region it is Russia's function to secure peace," Medvedev said.
According to a report by Russian news agency, Interfax, by the end of this year the Russian military bases in Gyumri and in Georgia's two breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia will become part of Russia's united strategic command "South", which will also include North Caucasus Military District, western part of the Volga-Ural Military District, Black Sea Fleet and the Caspian Flotilla.
21 Aug. '10 Abchasischer Premierminister sagt, das Konzept zum Besitzrecht von russischen Bürgern sei abgelehnt
21 Aug. '10 Geo.-orthodoxe Kirche ruft die Regierung auf, keine Gay-Parade zu erlauben; eine Gay-Parade sei nach Gerüchten zufolge in Planung
The Georgian Orthodox Church called on the authorities on August 20 not to allow holding of gay parade - an event, which is only rumored to be planned, but no sign has so far emerged that would indicate on its validity.
”There are rumors according to which a gay parade is intended to be held either in Tbilisi or Batumi,” the Georgian Patriarchate said in a statement. "We request the authorities not to let public march of Sodomites or a Gomorrahns so that to prevent it from becoming cause of a terrible sin, the society's indignation and unrest."
Rumors that gay parade is planned first emerged on Georgian internet forums three months ago.  The issue was then discussed by ex-state minister and now opposition figure Giorgi Khaindrava in one of his interviews with the Georgian press in June; he again spoke on the issue earlier this month saying that authorities were promoting an idea of holding gay parade in late August, adding that by doing so the authorities aimed at "destroying major Georgian values". The issue briefly featured in the campaign for Tbilisi mayoral office ahead of the May 31 local elections, when then candidates Zviad Dzidziguri, leader of Conservative Party and Gogi Topadze, leader of Industrialists Party, spoke out against alleged plans. Rumors further intensified in recent weeks and it has been extensively discussed on internet forums and social networkings sites.
But neither authorities nor any other organization or a group, including the one working on gay rights issues in Georgia have confirmed intention to hold the event or knowing about someone having such plan.
In July, 2007 an outdoor event - All Different, All Equal - dedicated to tolerance was canceled for fear of violence after it was labelled by some as a gay parade. At that time the Georgian Orthodox Church warned that any participation by sexual minorities in the event would have led to clashes.
In the statement on August 20, the Georgian Orthodox Church said: "It is unimaginable and totally unacceptable to portray homosexuality as an acceptable form - which thier public march amounts to - in the country with 2,000 years of Christianity."
"Despite 70 years of harmful influence of the Communist regime, the large part of our society (regardless of their confession) is a firm defender of moral values, hence a parade by homosexuals will naturally trigger [the society's] sharp reaction, which may grow into sharp confrontation."
In this section, an initial version of the Patriarchate's statement featured the following wording: "Despite a harmful influence of atheistic regime...". Later the wording was changed into: "Despite 70 years of harmful influence of the Communist regime...".
"We are obliged to once again warn those promoting human's moral degradation and especially those [in favor of] legalization of homosexuality, lesbianism and other voluptuous manifestations, that they will bring God's punishment on themselves, which will be transfered to the nation as well," the Georgian Orthodox Church said.
20 Aug. '10 Wirtschaftsminister: Wachstum im ersten Halbjahr bei 5.5%
20 Aug. '10 Demonstration von einer Gruppe intern Vertriebener und von Straßenhändlern eskaliert zu einem Handgemenge mit der Polizei
Police arrested two opposition activists amid scuffle with protesters outside the Parliament on August 19.
The August 19 rally was the largest and latest in the series of protests held in recent weeks by a group of internally displaced persons and outdoor vendors. IDPs are protesting against spate of evictions from the state-owned buildings in Tbilisi and street traders are protesting against ban on outdoor vending.
This recent rally, which like the previous ones was organized by Lasha Chkhartishvili of opposition Conservative Party and Alexander Shalamberidze of opposition Party of People, started outside the presidential palace in Avlabari district of the capital city. It then continued with a march towards the Parliament building partially blocking the traffic.
Scuffle between the police and protesters started when the demonstrators arrived outside the Parliament building.
When the police tried to arrest Chkhartishvili with several policemen grabbing his arms and legs taking him on the other side of the road, a group of protesters, mainly females, rushed after them and scuffled with the policemen trying to prevent the arrest. Although at one point during the few minutes of scuffle Chkhartishvili called on supporters to step back, protesters managed to take him away from the police hands. Shortly after that Chkhartishvili called on protesters to disperse, but also said that rallies would continue in following days. The police arrested Alexander Shalamberidze of Party of People and one activist from pro-opposition youth group, Ara (no). The two men were released later on the same day after court fined them with GEL 400 each for resisting police orders.
The protest rally and consequent scuffle with the police was extensively covered by two Tbilisi-based television stations, Kavkasia and Maestro, while ignored by all three major national television stations, including the public broadcaster.
19 Aug. '10 Georgische und russische Fluglinien teilen sich die Flüge Tbilisi-Moscow, die ab dem 20.8. wieder stattfinden
19 Aug. '10 Zentralbank hält die Keeps den Leitzins bei 6.5%
18 Aug. '10 Tbilisi verurteilt den russisch-abchasischen Passagierschiffsverkehr
18 Aug. '10 Innenminister bestreitet die Vorwürfe, den Aktivisten und Schriftsteller Irakli Kakabadze mißhandelt zu haben
18 Aug. '10 Otar Khetsia zum neuen Sekretär des nationalen Sicherheitsrates von Abchasien ernannt
Otar Khetsia, who served as interior minister of breakaway Abkhazia for last five years, was appointed as secretary of national security council (NSC), Abkhaz news agency, Apsnipress, reported on August 18.
The breakaway region's national security council had an acting secretary since September, 2009, when its ex-chief Stanislav Lakoba resigned over disagreements with the leadership.
17 Aug. '10 Büro des Verteidigers der Bürgerrechte sagt dem Generalstaatsanwalt, er solle sich den Fall von dem Aktivisten und Schriftsteller Irakli Kakabadze anschauen
17 Aug. '10 Spannungen und Unzufiedenheit bei intern Vertriebenen wegen Zwangsräumungen einiger öffentlicher Gebäude
16 Aug. '10 Präsident Saakashvili: 'Wir sollten unsere alten Freunde nicht vergessen'
16 Aug. '10 Präsident Saakashvili: 'Jedes Schulkind sollte Englisch lernen'
15 Aug. '10 Moldowiens amtierender Präsident besucht Georgien
15 Aug. '10 Moskau sagt nun, dass die S-300 Raketen im Herbst 2008 in Abchasien stationiert wurden
Russia deployed S-300 air-defense system in Abkhazia in autumn 2008 as a part of Russian military base in the region for "purely defensive" purposes, the Russian Foreign Ministry said on August 13.
Andrey Nesterenko, the Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman, said that in response to questions, triggered among media outlets and in "some capitals", Moscow "deems it necessary to explain" that S-300 could not serve as destabilizing factor in the region and its deployment did not breach any international commitment undertaken by Russia.
EU foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton said on August 13 she was "concerned" about Russia's announcement that it had deployed S-300 air-defense system in Abkhazia and that the move “would be in contradiction with the six-point ceasefire agreement... and would risk further increasing tensions in the region."
The French Foreign Ministry said on August 12, that S-300 deployment would "unlikely to contribute to the stabilization of the region,"
Commander of Russian Air Forces announced about deployment of S-300 in Abkhazia on August 11 without specifying the date of deployment.
The Georgian Foreign Ministry responding by condemning the move, describing it as “an extremely dangerous and provocative... which poses threat to the security of not only the Black Sea region, but of entire Europe.”
Also on August 11, the U.S. Department of State said, that the Russian military commander's announcement was not necessarily a news, as Moscow had had S-300 in Abkhazia for past two years.
Georgian Parliamentary Chairman, Davit Bakradze said on August 12, that he had no exact information whether S-300 air-defense system had been deployed in Abkhazia before Russia publicly announced about this move on August 11.
“It seems that Americans have more information owing to their technical capabilities. I cannot confirm whether this system has been deployed in Abkhazia until now or not, because the Georgian side has no exact information in this regard, at least, at my level,” Bakradze told
“Our military cooperation with Abkhazia and South Ossetia is not a news or secret," the Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman said. "It is carried out on the basis of relevant interstate bilateral agreements with the single goal – to provide the security of young Trans-Caucasian republics and stability in the region, as a whole."
14 Aug. '10 US-Bericht zu Terrorismus durch Außenministerium vorgelegt
Nach diesem Bericht seien Russlands Vorwürfe, Georgien würde tschetschenische Terroristen im Pankisital beherbergen, "unbegründet". Russland kritisiert dies und wiederholt die Vorwürfe gegen Georigen.
A section of U.S. Department of State's annual country report on terrorism, which deals with Georgia, "surprises with its bias." the Russian Foreign Ministry said on August 13.
"The report portrays Georgia as a truly exemplary fighter against terrorism. Herewith it ignores available information that Georgia is playing a double game in respect of terrorist underground in the North Caucasus. The Russian special services have provided convincing evidence of that and objective observers have long noted that," the Russian Foreign Ministry said.
The Department of State's report, released on August 5, reads: "The situation in the separatist regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia remained largely unchanged, and the Georgian government does not control its international borders located between these regions and Russia. This lack of control allowed for unrestricted and unidentified flow of people, goods, and other potentially dangerous items from Russia into Abkhazia and South Ossetia."
On this part of the report, the Russian Foreign Ministry said: "If an attempt to accuse Russia in 'export of terrorism' is hidden behind such 'assessments', which by the way are not backed with facts, then we are facing politicization of problem of fight against new challenges."
"Unwillingness to accept new geopolitical realities in the Caucasus did not help authors of the report to realize absurdity of raising the issue of 'Georgian control' on borders between Russia and sovereign states of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Naturally there is no such control and can not be such."
The report also says that "the administrative boundary lines between Georgia and the conflict zones were furthered militarized in 2009 when Russia tasked its Federal Security Service (FSB) border guards to take over control from de facto authorities in both territories."
The Russian Foreign Ministry said it "categorically disagrees with use of term 'militarized' in reference to deployment of Russian border guard on Abkhaz and South Ossetian borders."
"Thanks to our border guards, situation on the borders of these two states with Georgia has significantly stabilized and in overall remains calm," it said.  
The Department of State report also said that Russia's claims of Georgian support for "Chechen terrorists and harboring of such individuals in the Pankisi Gorge were unsubstantiated, and the Georgian government has made transparent efforts to prove this to the international community."
13 Aug. '10 EU 'besorgt' über die Stationierung der S-300 Raketen in Abchasien
EU foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton said she was "concerned" about Russia's announcement that it had deployed S-300 air-defense system in Abkhazia "without the consent of the government of Georgia."
"The deployment of such a weapon system in Abkhazia would be in contradiction with the six-point ceasefire agreement as well as implementing measures [agreement signed on September 8, 2008] and would risk further increasing tensions in the region," she said in a statement on August 13.
"I call on Russia to fully implement all its obligations under the ceasefire agreement. The EU reiterates its firm support for the security and stability of Georgia, based on full respect for the principles of independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity, recognised by international law."
Commander of Russian Air Forces announced about deployment of S-300 in Abkhazia on August 11. On the same day the U.S. Department of State said Russia had this system in Abkhazia for already two years. On August 13 Russian news agency, Interfax, reported quoting unnamed Kremlin source that Russia deployed S-300 in Abkhazia two years ago and the only development now was that its location within Abkhazia was slightly changed.
Brussels-based reported on August 12, that Russia's announcement of August 11 came as a surprise for EU. The announcement was made on the day, when Ashton spoke on the phone with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. "He [Lavrov] said nothing on the subject. Within an hour or so later, we got the news [about S-300 deployment]," EUobserver,com reported quoting an unnamed source in the EU institutions.
Ashton, apparently referring to Russian President Dmitry Medvedev's recent brief visit to breakaway Abkhazia, said in the statement that "official visits to the Georgian regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia should be made in full respect of Georgia's sovereignty and territorial integrity."
13 Aug. '10 Interfax schreibt, dass nach einer Quelle aus dem Kreml die S-300 Raketen schon vor zwei Jahren stationiert wurden und seither keine weiteren Systeme in die Region geschickt wurden
Russian news agency, Interfax, reported on August 13, quoting an unnamed Kremlin source, that Russia had deployed S-300 air-defense system in Abkhazia two years ago and no additional system had been sent to the region since then.
According to the same report the only new development is that location of S-300 within Abkhazia has been slightly changed.
Commander of the Russian Air Forces announced on August 11 that Russia had deployed S-300 system in Abkhazia.
The U.S. Department of State said on the same day that Russia maintained S-300 in Abkhazia for past two years already and the announcement of the Russian air force commander was not necessarily a new development. The State Department also said that Washington was looking into whether the announcement meant sending of additional air-defense system to the region.
13 Aug. '10 Frankreich 'besorgt' über die Stationierung der S-300 Raketen in Abchasien
The deployment of Russia’s S-300 air-defense system in Abkhazia is "unlikely to contribute to the stabilization of the region," the French Foreign Ministry said on August 12. 
Asked whether France was concerned by this deployment and whether it was a source of concern for NATO, Christine Fages, the French foreign ministry spokesperson, said: “We have noted with concern the announcement" by Russia, made on August 11, that it had deployed its enhanced air-defense system in Georgia's breakaway region.
“We urge all of the parties to uphold and comply fully with the agreements of August 12 and September 8, 2008,” Christine Fages said.
She reiterated France’s support for Georgia’s independence, territorial integrity and sovereignty, within its internationally recognized borders and added that “NATO has also repeatedly reaffirmed its attachment to the principle of Georgia’s territorial integrity.”
“The next session of international discussions which will take place in Geneva on October 14 will provide an opportunity to address the issues relating to the security and stability of the region,” she said.
12 Aug. '10 Parlamentsvorsitzender Davit Bakradze sagt, dass keine Informationen vorlägen, dass die S-300 Rakenten schon früher in Abchasien stationiert waren
Es sieht so aus, als hätten die USA mehr Informationen aufgrund ihrer technischen Möglichkeiten.
12 Aug. '10 US-Außenministerium: 'Russland hat S-300 in Abchasien seit den vergangenen zwei Jahren stationiert'
Russia's announcement about deploying sophisticated air-defense system, S-300, in breakaway Abkhazia might not be a new development, as Russia has maintained such system there since 2008, August war, U.S. Department of State said.
"It’s our understanding that Russia has had S-300 missiles in Abkhazia for the past two years." State Department spokesman, Philip J. Crowley, said at a news briefing in Washington on August 11.
"We can’t confirm whether they [Russia] have added to those systems or not. We will look into that. This by itself is not necessarily a new development. That system has been in place for some time," he added.
Reuters reported quoting unnamed Pentagon official that the U.S. could not yet confirm the deployment of new missiles and was seeking further information.
"But the absence of transparency and international monitoring in Abkhazia makes this difficult," the official said.
Commander of the Russian Air Forces, Colonel General Alexander Zelin, said on August 11, that Russia had deployed long range S-300 in Abkhazia to protect its airspace and Russian military bases deployed there. He said that S-300 missile system "will cover only facilities located on the territory of Abkhazia". Air defense of South Ossetia is provided with other systems, Zelin said.
"At the same time, the task of air defense of Abkhazia and South Ossetia will be also implemented by frontline and army aviation carrying out combat duties there," Zelin added.
No other details, including the date of deployment were reported.
Asked about the Russia's announcement, foreign minister of breakaway Abkhazia, Maxim Gvinjia, initially denied in an interview with BBC Russian service that S-300 were deployed in Abkhazia, suggesting that Col. Gen. Zelin's remarks were probably misunderstood by journalists.
However, later, in an interview with RIA Novosti news agency, Gvinjia said that S-300 was deployed and added that it was in line with an agreement on military cooperation between Moscow and Sokhumi.
The Georgian Foreign Ministry condemned the move and said it "represents a clear example of reinforcement of military dimension of Russia's declared imperial policy of 'spheres of influence'."
"It is absolutely incomprehensible for what purpose this extremely dangerous and provocative step may serve, which poses threat to the security of not only the Black Sea region, but of entire Europe," the Georgian Foreign Ministry said in a statement on August 11.
The S-300 is a long-range air defense able to engage number of targets simultaneously and to detect, track and destroy cruise missiles, ballistic missiles and aircraft at low-to-high altitude.
Georgian State Minister for Reintegration, Temur Iakobashvili, said if the purpose of deployment was Georgia, then the decision lacked rationality. "First of all, it is NATO that should be concerned about it," Iakobashvili added.
Russian military analyst, Alexander Golts, told RFE/RL Russian-language service, Ekho Kavkaza, that Russia's decision "looks strange." It's like "shooting sparrow with cannon," he said and suggested that the decision did not seem to be taken by the military leadership.
"It's a purely political decision aimed at demonstrating Russia's resolve to defend Abkhazia's independence with all the means... It's part of propagandistic declarations," Golts said.
Vladimir Socor of U.S. think-tank Jamestown Foundation wrote on August 11 that Russia's S-300 in Abkhazia "cannot conceivably aim at Georgian air targets."
"The Russian deployment’s most likely goal is to create a capability for interdicting Georgian, or indeed US and NATO, flights over the adjacent Black Sea area, Georgia’s interior, and the South Caucasus air corridor," Socor suggested. "Russian interdiction capability can deter Georgia, the United States and its allies from using those flight paths in certain contingencies; or can compel them to clear their flight plans with Russia in certain contingencies."
Commander of the Russian Air Forces also said on August 11 that the task of air defense systems in Abkhazia and South Ossetia "is also to prevent violation of Abkhaz and South Ossetian airspace and to destroy any aircraft illegally penetrating into thier airspace no matter what their purpose might be."
11 Aug. '10 Tbilisi äußert sich der Stationierung von Russlands S-300 Raketen in Abchasien
Es ist die NATO, die zuerst und am meisten besorgt sein sollte über die Entscheidung Russlands S-300 Langstreckenraketen im abtrünnigen Abchasien zu stationieren. "... weitere Verletzung des Sechs-Punkte-Abkommens ..."
It is NATO, which should be first and for most concerned about Russia's decision to deploy long-range S-300 air-defense system in breakaway Abkhazia, Temur Iakobashvili, the Georgian state minister for reintegration, said on August 11.
"Obviously, such action is one more violation of Sarkozy-Mediated [six-point ceasefire] agreement. If we take into consideration the specifics of this weapon, of course, it is inappropriate against Georgia in view of even theoretical threats because S-300 is a long range missile. It makes us suppose that this step has been taken to change the balance of forces in the region," he said.
"It stresses once again that Russia does not care about the fates of Abkhazians and South Ossetians. They need territories to demonstrate their force in this region and first of all, it is NATO that should be concerned about it," Iakobashvili added.
Eka Tkeshelashvili, secretary of the Georgian National Security Council, said that the move demonstrated "once again that Russia is an occupant force in Georgia’s two regions."
"Russia does not hide it by its actions – not only it does not withdraw its troops from the territory of Georgia, but it further reinforces its military control in these regions and Russia makes no secret of it. Hence, such action and statement is nothing but a demonstration of unhidden, obvious occupation carried out by Russia in these two regions," Tkeshelashvili said.
10 Aug. '10 Freie Industriezone in Tbilisi in zwei Jahren geplant
The first free industrial zone will be opened in Tbilisi in about two years, Vera Kobalia, the Georgian economy minister, said on August 10.
“The Tbilisi industrial zone is a very important project for Georgia’s economy, since it will employ over 1,500 persons after it is opened in about two years,” she told reporters.
“It will give an opportunity for export diversification and it will be an opportunity to produce electrical appliances in Georgia and then export them,” she said.
10 Aug. '10 USA 'möchte sehen, dass sich Russland vollständig an das Sechs-Punkte-Abkommen hält'
The United States "will continue to encourage" Russia to cooperate fully and meet its obligations under the 2008 Ceasefire Agreement, the U.S. Department of State spokesman, Philip J. Crowley said on August 9.
“We want to see Russia fully adhere to its obligations under this agreement,” he said at a press briefing in Washington, while responding a question whether the diplomacy had failed after the August war, as Russia still remained in control of the two breakaway regions..
“When the Secretary [of State, Hillary Clinton] was in Georgia recently, she reiterated our strong support for Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. And she called on Russia to recognize its commitments under the 2008 Ceasefire Agreement mediated by French President Sarkozy and signed by both President Medvedev and President Saakashvili,” Crowley said. “There is a Geneva process through which, periodically, these issues are considered.”
9 Aug. '10 Tbilisi verurteilt Medvedev’s Sokhumi-Besuch
Russian President’s visit to Sokhumi, which was made “in a manner of the Soviet political leaders” was “yet another cynical act” demonstrating Moscow’s unwillingness to follow obligation undertaken by August 12, 2008 six-point ceasefire agreement, the Georgian Foreign Ministry said on Monday.
 Medvedev, accompanied by Russia’s Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov, paid a brief, unannounced visit to Sokhumi on August 8.
The Georgian Foreign Ministry said that the visit was also an attempt to “to create an illusion of legitimacy for [Moscow’s] proxy regime” in Sokhumi.
“The Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Georgia expresses its strict protest over yet another attempt to destabilize the situation and to escalate tension in the Caucasian region and calls for the international community to force Russia to respect the universally recognized norms and principles of the international law and to unconditionally fulfill the commitments under the six-point Agreement,” it said.
9 Aug. '10 Senator McCain: Georgien braucht US-Unterstützung, um seine Verteidigung neu aufzubauen
Two years after the August war rebuilding Georgia’s defense, including through possible supply of anti-tank, air defense and early-warning radar systems, is one of the areas in which Tbilisi needs U.S. long-term support, U.S. Republican senator, John McCain wrote in his opinion piece published in the Washington Post on August 8.
Senator McCain said that despite Georgia’s significant contribution to the Afghan operation, “yet it has been a struggle to get the [U.S.] administration to provide Georgian troops heading into combat even basic equipment, armored vehicles and replacement parts.”
“Beyond this short-term assistance, Georgia needs long-term support to provide for its own defense. This is likely to entail antitank capabilities, air defenses, early-warning radar and other defensive systems that should not be misconstrued as U.S. endorsement for any Georgian use of force against its separatist regions. Georgia will always be less powerful than Russia, but that is no reason to leave it vulnerable two years after a Russian invasion,” McCain wrote.
When asked in June why the U.S. had not fulfilled any of Georgia’s request for arms in last couple of years, Philip Gordon, the assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs, responded, that after the August war Washington was focused on “reducing tensions” and trying to get Russian to follow its commitments under the August 12, 2008 ceasefire agreement and to respect Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.
“We don’t think that arms sales and military equipment is the path to the situation in Georgia that we’re trying to get to,” Gordon said. He also said that the U.S. had no arms embargo on Georgia.
When asked at a joint news conference with visiting U.S. Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, in Tbilisi on July 5 about “de facto restrictions” on sale of U.S. arms to Georgia, President Saakashvili responded that Georgia had “very good security cooperation” with the United States and brought an example of Georgia’s contribution to the Afghan operation.
Saakashvili said that this security cooperation “is a process, a step-by-step approach” and “there is nothing to complain about” the U.S. policy on this issue.
In an interview with Itar-Tass news agency last week, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin said, that Moscow was insisting on imposing “broad international embargo” on supply of arms to Georgia.
“It can be said today, that many of those, who were active supplies of arms to Georgia in the past, have analyzed policy of the current leadership in Tbilisi and reconsidered their approach,” Karasin said. “But the problem is still too far from being resolved.”
7 Aug. '10 Präsident Saakashvili: ‘Der Kampf um die Befreiung geht auf täglicher Basis weiter’
Two years after the August war Georgia’s struggle for “complete liberation” continues on daily basis, President Saakashvili said in a brief recorded televised address to the nation from Colombia aired on August 7.
Russia started aggression against Georgia much earlier than August, 2008 and there is no need to consider separate dates out of context, he said.
“And this aggression has not slowed down till now and it is not over yet. Our struggle will continue unless last occupant leaves the Georgian land, unless justice is restored towards hundreds of thousands of our citizens of various ethnicities, who were forced to leave their homes,” Saakashvili said.
He said that in August, 2008 Georgians had to defend “dignity, freedom and its future” with arms in their hands. “Each of us is obliged to carry out this struggle on daily basis to honor memory of those fallen [in the August war]; to carry out this struggle within the country to further develop it and throughout the world to defend our positions everywhere,” he said.
“It is a historic task of our generation to accomplish this struggle and to liberate Georgia; we will accomplish this struggle and completely liberate our country,” Saakashvili added.
Meanwhile, Georgian State Minister for Reintegration, Temur Iakobashvili, said in an interview with the Georgian daily, 24 Saati, published on August 7, that the most important achievement on diplomatic front since the August war had been international community’s refusal to follow Russia’s suit in recognition of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.
“It is obvious now that [Tbilisi’s] counter efforts turned out to be more effective: if previously it was about recognition of these territories as independent states, now it is about recognition of these [regions] as occupied territories,” Iakobashvili said.
“I think it’s a complete failure of the Russian diplomacy and a real chance for us to return back these territories, to reintegrate them into the Georgian jurisdiction and to return those people back to Georgia,” he said.
“The war has demonstrated something that was not clearly evident before – our main problem is not relations with Abkhazians and Ossetians… Our major problem is Georgian-Russian relations. Russia is using separatists and separatism against the Georgian statehood,” Iakobashvili said.
6 Aug. '10 Immer noch einiges zu tun  - EUMM fast zwei Jahre vor Ort publishes article by head of EU Monitoring Mission in Georgia (EUMM), Ambassador Hansjörg Haber.
The interval between the second anniversary of the outbreak of the 2008 war on 7/8 August and the end of the second annual mandate of the European Union Monitoring Mission in Georgia on 14 September gives me an opportunity to reflect on EUMM’s work over these last two years and its impact on the situation on the ground.
EUMM was deployed following the EU-brokered 12 August Six-Point Agreement and the 8 September Implementing Measures Agreement in 2008. Thanks to the support of all EU Member States the fastest deployed mission in the history of EU Common Security and Defence Policy, EUMM began its operations on 1 October 2008 with more than 200 monitors on the ground, as stipulated in the Implementing Measures Agreement. Its mandate consists of four important components, namely stabilisation, normalisation and confidence building, as well as reporting to Brussels to inform EU policy making.
Normalisation was the first and most urgent task facing the mission.  At its very inception the mission was assisted in the efforts to bring back to normality the lives of those parts of the population living in the areas adjacent to the administrative boundary lines with Abkhazia and South Ossetia and displaced by the hostilities. The Russian Armed Forces’ withdrawal from the adjacent areas eight days after the Mission started patrolling, allowed some 30,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) to return to their homes and to restart their lives. Their departure from places of temporary accommodation did not, however, solve the long-standing problem of IDPs in Georgia.  In addition to those displaced during previous conflicts, 30,000 to this day remain unable to go back to their houses in South Ossetia, most likely destroyed in the August 2008 war.
The Georgian government certainly deserves praise for its prompt reaction to the 2008 IDPs’ plight and for including earlier IDPs into a strategy that ultimately aims at finding durable accommodation solutions for all those affected by the recent conflicts.  It cannot be ignored, however, that the pressure under which decisions had to be made at that point in time led to a number of serious flaws, which now require addressing.  In virtue of its exclusively monitoring role, EUMM has been observing the situation of IDPs, recording their grievances and sharing its insights with both donors, including, of course, the EU, and organizations implementing aid programs, in particular the UN family.
While the Mission’s mandate covers the entire territory of Georgia within its internationally recognized borders, the de facto authorities’ denial of access to South Ossetia and Abkhazia has been hampering the mission’s normalization and stabilization efforts.   Especially Georgian interlocutors expected we would gain access as a matter of priority shortly after deployment. Unfortunately, with a few minor exceptions, this has not happened so far.  Our Georgian partners have come to accept that this limitation to the implementation of the mission’s mandate is effectively counterbalanced by a consistent EU policy of non-recognition of the entities.  At the same time, however, we feel that inability to access areas under the control of Sukhumi and Tskhinvali prevents us from helping bring clarity and resolve incidents that take place on the ground.  On concrete issues that affect the security situation in the areas adjacent to the administrative boundary lines and the livelihood of ordinary people on both sides of the divide, EUMM has consistently strived to play an impartial role.
Looking at the stabilization component of the mission’s mandate, we regard the Memorandum of Understanding concluded with the Georgian Ministry of Defence on 26 January, 2009, as a definite success.  In the agreement, Georgia unilaterally accepts limitations on the deployment of both troops and heavy equipment in a carefully defined strip of territory around South Ossetia and south of Abkhazia. This goes beyond the obligations included in the Six-Point Agreement. A Russian decision to reciprocate the move would help bring transparency on the presence of military forces also on the other side of the administrative boundary line and increase security for all.  Unfortunately, despite repeated invitations by EUMM, this move has so far not been reciprocated by Moscow.
Although still unilateral, we are convinced that the Memorandum works to the distinctive advantage of Georgia. Continually monitoring Georgian military installations and military forces deployed throughout the country, and especially near the administrative boundary lines, as stipulated in the document, EUMM is in a position to issue a "clean bill of health" to Georgia.  The great value of this agreement was clearly demonstrated in the spring and summer of 2009, when EUMM, thanks to its observations gathered on the ground, was able to repeatedly refute Russian and South Ossetian allegations of a Georgian military build-up along the administrative boundary line. The Memorandum of Understanding, therefore, is strong evidence of Georgia's willingness to abide by the principle of non-use of force as contained in the Six-Point Agreement.
The positive example of the Memorandum of Understanding illustrates an important principle, namely that in a situation where the sides to a conflict cannot come to an agreement, formal or informal, unilateral concessions by one side might prove the only way to push things forward.  As a result, the part that bravely accepts to make such concession not only is not harmed, but can actually benefit from it.  It seems to me that recognition of this principle that we could call “constructive unilateralism” is also at the origin of the Georgian State Strategy on the Occupied Territories, and, the subsequent Action Plan for Engagement. Both the Strategy and the Action Plan set out a people-centered policy, aimed at stretching out a helping hand to the civilian populations (citizens of Georgia, to be sure) residing in Abkhazia and South Ossetia. 
However, the intentions enunciated in these two documents appear to conflict with provisions contained in the Law on Occupied Territories, which had adopted a more restrictive approach. With all respect to a decision of the Parliament of Georgia and to the rule of law, it should be kept in mind that this piece of legislation was passed under the emotional impact of the August war. From the perspective of EUMM, and being mandated to observe the present and potential future effects of both the law and the Action Plan, I think the Georgian authorities should strive to preserve a coherent approach and resolve possible incoherences between the Law on the one side, and the Strategy and the Action Plan on the other, in favour of the latter. 
Since EUMM’s deployment, the situation in the areas adjacent to the administrative boundary lines with Abkhazia and South Ossetia has largely stabilized.  Yet we are not under the illusion that stabilization equates to the resolution of the conflict.  The Georgian people have had plenty of opportunities to learn these lessons between 1993 and 2008, when, in spite of agreements to stabilize the situation and the presence of international organisations to monitor this process, hostilities reignited. EUMM will remain loyal to its commitments and redouble efforts to engage the sides in confidence building measures. However, I am firmly convinced that, regardless of the international community’s best intentions, the task to address the root causes of the conflict rests primarily on the sides to the conflict.  Furthermore, Tbilisi, Moscow, Tskhinvali and Sukhumi should strive to keep the interests of the civilian populations at heart and align their decisions accordingly.
EUMM’s mandate has just been renewed until September 2011. Given EU member states’ support for continued engagement in the Southern Caucasus, it will probably be extended again.
But the EU, and EUMM in particular, can only provide a enabling environment for solving the conflicts on Georgian territory. It cannot provide the solution itself, which must be found by the participants to these conflicts themselves. They should therefore prepare to take full responsibility to find sustainable and lasting solutions for the sake of the future welfare and peaceful prospects for all communities in the region.
6 Aug. '10 Int. Gerichtshof von Den Haag hält im September vier öffentliche Anhörungen im Fall Georgien gegen Russland ab
The International Court of Justice (ICJ) will hold four public hearings in September into the case initiated two years ago by Georgia against Russia, the Hague-based court said in a statement on August 5.
Georgia filed application to ICG on August 12, 2008 over Russia’s “serious violations of its fundamental obligations” under the 1965 International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD) “during three distinct phases of its interventions in South Ossetia and Abkhazia” in the period between 1990 and August 2008.
ICJ said in the statement that all four public hearings from September 13 to September 17, during which Russia and Georgia will present their arguments, “will concern solely the preliminary objections to jurisdiction raised by the Russian Federation.”
Russia presented its preliminary objections on jurisdiction to ICJ in December, 2009, as Russia claims that the Hague-based court is not competent to rule on the case.
5 Aug. '10 Amnesty International Bericht zu Georgiens Vertriebenen Personen im eigenen Land (IDP)
Much remains to be done to provide adequate housing, employment and access to health care to internally displaced persons in Georgia, which make up to 6% of the country’s population, Amnesty International said in a report released on August 5.
The 43-page report welcomes the government’s efforts to establishing a legal framework protecting the rights of IDPs and acknowledges measures taken to improve the housing of IDPs, but says that concerns remain regarding ongoing lack of adequate housing in many collective centers, as well as regarding integration of the displaced population and their access to economic, social and cultural rights.
“The Georgian government has taken important steps, but housing solutions have to go hand in hand with health care, employment and livelihoods opportunities. This is the only way to fully integrate the tens of thousands of its citizens still living in limbo,” Nicola Duckworth, Amnesty International’s Europe and Central Asia programme director, said.
“Displaced people need more than just roofs over their heads. They need the government to ensure employment, access to health care and benefits. They also need to be consulted and be able to make the choices affecting their lives,” she said.
Conflicts of last 20 years in Georgia have resulted in “an extremely complex picture of displacement” with statistics often inaccurate and disputed, according to the Amnesty International’s report - In the waiting room: Internally displaced people in Georgia.
The report identifies three groups of internally displaced persons in Georgia.
The largest group is of about 222,000 people displaced as a result of conflicts in Abkhazia and South Ossetia in early 90s known as “old IDPs”, including at least 40,000 of those who have returned to breakaway Abkhazia’s Gali district, but are still considered as displaced persons by Tbilisi as their return has been sporadic with no security guarantees.
The majority of these IDPs live either with friends or relatives or in rented or purchased private accommodation and about 42% of them lives in collective centers, which are state or privately owned buildings such as kindergartens, sanatoria, hospitals and hotels. The report says that “most of these buildings are not designed for long-term human habitation, and do not meet the minimum standards of adequate housing.”
There are cases when some of the collective centers have been or will be privatized and IDPs living there face eviction. In one of such case a group of IDPs were evicted from a publishing house in downtown Tbilisi last month and instead were provided with accommodation in Zugdidi district, western Georgia. But because of lack of employment opportunities in rural areas, IDPs are reluctant to move to the Zugdidi district.
“Currently high unemployment remains an especially pressing issue for displaced people,” according to the report. “While there are no official segregated statistics available on displaced people, most recent surveys suggest that they suffer from higher rate o[f] unemployment than the general population.”
According to the State Strategy on IDPs adopted by the government in 2007 and its action plan of 2009 for those living in state-owned collective centers their living space will be transferred in to their ownership. Living space has been transferred to about 7,000 families, or up to 65% of those living in collective centers, by the end of 2009.
The report says that the move is “a major breakthrough” in providing durable housing to displaced persons.
“However at this stage, the provision of durable housing solutions does not involve the estimated 130,000 displaced people living in private sector housing. These residents, almost exclusively displaced by the conflicts of the 90’s, are in limbo pending the finalization of the next phase of the Action Plan,” according to the report.
Another group of IDPs are those about 26,000 people, who were displaced from South Ossetia and Abkhazia’s Kodori gorge (about 2,000) as a result of the August, 2008 war and are not able to return and “will not be able to return in the foreseeable future,” according to the report.
This group of people is known as “new IDPs” with most of them living in 38 newly constructed settlements mostly in Shida Kartli and Kvemo Kartli region.
“The speed with which this [providing accommodation to new IDPs] was carried out has been recognized as a major achievement by the Georgian government, NGOs and donors,” the report said. “Yet serious problems remain. Many of the settlements are located in rural areas with limited options for income generation. Being located far from major towns also makes it difficult to access facilities such as hospitals, shops, schools and government offices.”
The third group, according to the report, consists of those people who were displaced from the Shida Kartli region during the August war, but later returned to their places of residence. Unlike the returnees to the Gali region in Abkhazia, however, this group, mainly from the areas adjacent to breakaway South Ossetia’s administrative border, does not hold IDP status.
“Many of the returnees are coping with a loss of income because of the destruction of infrastructure, the loss of livestock and the loss of the 2008 harvest. Many houses and other buildings were damaged during the armed conflict, and property was stolen during the period of sustained looting that followed,” the report says.
Most of those whose homes in the areas adjacent of breakaway region were destroyed during the August war received one-off assistance of USD 15,000 from the Georgian government to rebuild their homes.
“In spite of this, very little reconstruction has started. Those interviewed by Amnesty International in June 2009, stated that they feared the possibility of new hostilities, and were reluctant to invest money and effort in rebuilding homes given what they perceived as a fragile peace,” according to the report.
3 Aug. '10 Georgien wirbt für seine ‘Kombination von Schwimm- und Skiurlaubsgebieten'
President Saakashvili said on August 3, that next year Georgia would launch a global ad campaign to promote its potential of having swimming resort on its Black Sea coast and ski resort in the Caucasus mountings during the summer period.
He was speaking in Svaneti, high-mountainous region in north-western Georgia, where he skied after swimming in Anaklia on Georgia’s Black Sea coast earlier on the same day.
“We are starting global ad campaign from next January that Georgia is the only place in Europe, where you can swim at tropical beach in Anaklia and ski two hours later or even twenty five minutes later if you take a helicopter flight,” he said.
“For dozens of years we have been explaining to the Europeans that Georgia can be Switzerland of Caucasus… There is nowhere in the world such a combination [of sea and ski resorts] – that’s not an exaggeration; so instead of us becoming Switzerland [of Caucasus], let Switzerland now become Europe’s Georgia… let others compare with us; but it requires lots of work and lots of investments.”
“Tbilisi-based businessmen should learn to look beyond Rustaveli [Avenue, center of the capital city]. Invest now a Lari here and take hundred-fold profit in five years… In five-six years up to 600-700 thousand tourists or even million will be visiting this place,” Saakashvili said.
“The enemy has not yet grabbed this place by its claw and development of this place is a precondition to return other [territories, referring to Abkhazia and South Ossetia],” he added.
3 Aug. '10 Premierminister Nika Gilauri: Bruttoinlandsprodukt stieg im 2.Quartal um ca. 7%
Preliminary estimates show GDP grew about 7-7.5 per cent in the second quarter of 2010 year-on-year, PM Nika Gilauri said at a government session on August 3.
The state statistics agency, Geostat, has yet to publish detailed figures.
“GDP growth in first half of 2010 is about 5.5-6 per cent; it is very important, as this is not a low pace of growth,” PM Gilauri said.
Georgia's real GDP grew 4.5% in the first quarter of 2010 year-on-year, from nominal USD 2.327 billion to USD 2.47 billion, according to Geostat.
31 Jul. '10 Moskau hat Weißrussland und Kasachstan aufgefordert, keinen georgischen Wein und Mineralwasser nach Russland zu reexportieren
Moscow has “requested” its partners from customs union – Belarus and Kazakhstan – not to re-export Georgian and Moldovan wines and mineral waters into Russia, Gennady Onishchenko, Russia's chief sanitary inspector, said on July 30.
Russia banned import of Georgian wines and mineral waters in 2006, citing sanitary reasons.
“We have provided information to our colleagues based on legal acts of customs union of Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus that use of number of products in our country is limited. We have requested them to take measures not to let Georgian and Moldovan wines and mineral waters on the Russian territory,” Russian news agency, Interfax, reported quoting Onishchenko said.
“It does not mean that we are imposing our will on [Belarus and Kazakhstan] and are limiting their right to use those products. But we have a right to demand to take comprehensive measures in order not to let these products on the Russian market and we’ve used to that right,” he added.
29 Jul. '10 Neue Wirtschaftsministerin Vera Kobalia weist die Behauptungen, sie habe nicht bei einer kanadischen TV-Sender gearbeitet, zurück
ist als Kind einer Flüchtlingsfamilie aus Abchasien in Kanada aufgewachsen und hatte dort bis 2008 Karriere gemacht, ehe sie nach Georgien zurückkehrte.
... According to her official biography available on the Economy Ministry’s website, Kobalia worked for Global TV as a producer in 2004-2006. However, the Vancouver Sun reported on July 28 that “no one at the Global TV newsroom could recall the name, and Petra Mehner at Global’s Human Resources department said there is no record of Kobalia ever having been on the payroll.” ...
27 Jul. '10 Vakhtang Komakhidze, investigativer Reporter, bekommt Asyl in der Schweiz
Switzerland granted asylum to a long-time Georgian investigative journalist, Vakhtang Komakhidze, the Swiss embassy in Tbilisi has confirmed.
Komakhidze, who ran an investigative reporting production studio, Reportiori (Reporter), requested for asylum in Switzerland in February, citing “aggressive threats” coming from the authorities” against him and his family.
He said that threats intensified after he traveled to Tskhinvali in December, 2009 to gather information, as he planned to film a new investigative piece on the August war.
27 Jul. '10 Tbilisi verurteilt den Angriff auf Timur Tskhovrebov - Aktivist and Journalist - in Tskhinvali durch eine zehnköpfige Gruppe von Eduard Kokoity-Anhängern
Georgian State Ministry for Reintegration said on July 26 that assault and beating up of Tskhinvali-based activist and journalist, Timur Tskhovrebov, was demonstration of violence and persecution for dissent opinion “reigning in occupied region of South Ossetia/Tskhinvali.”
Tskhovrebov was attacked in the center of Tskhinvali on July 24 by a group of about ten men, which reportedly included members from an organization supporting South Ossetian leader, Eduard Kokoity. At least three attackers were reportedly members of the breakaway region’s parliament.
Tskhovrebov was hospitalized with serious injuries to local hospital and latter sent to the hospital in Vladikavkaz in Russia’s North Ossetian Republic.
Tskhovrebov, who fought against the Georgian forces in the August 2008 war, was a participant of Georgian-Ossetian Civil Forum, a platform for keeping contacts between Georgian and Ossetian civil society representatives. The group met in Leiden, Netherlands in mid-July and made a joint appeal to negotiators in Geneva talks calling them to immediately address humanitarian problems on the ground.
Few days before the assault on Tskhovrebov, South Ossetian leader’s envoy for post-conflict resolution issues, Boris Chochiev, strongly criticized Ossetian participants of the meeting, in particular Tskhovrebov.
“The Georgian government condemns any form of violence and demands from the international organizations and institutions to make more efforts to increase international community’s awareness about real situation on the ground in occupied territory,” the Georgian State Ministry for Reintegration said.
Human Rights Watch called on Russia and the international community to press the breakaway region’s authorities to bring those responsible for the attack to justice and to foster a normal working climate for civil and political activists in the region.
"We are appalled by the attack on Tskhovrebov and deeply concerned about the safety of activists in South Ossetia," Holly Cartner, Europe and Central Asia director at Human Rights Watch, said. "A prompt, thorough, and impartial investigation is needed to bring the assailants to justice."
26 Jul. '10 Präsident Saakashvili über die ‘Verbindung zwischen organisiertem Verbrechen und oppositioneller Randgruppen’
President Saakashvili said on July 26, that one part of the Georgian opposition, which he described as “marginal”, had long been linked to Georgian organized crime network in Europe and Russia and added that it had been confirmed by the Austrian police report.
The German daily, Frankfurter Rundschau, and then The Wall Street Journal reported in June and July, respectively, citing a 66-page report by the Austrian Federal Criminal Police Office, that Georgian organized crime network raised funds for the Georgian opposition groups, whose identities were not revealed in the articles, to finance lengthy street protest rallies in 2009, involving blocking of main thoroughfare in Tbilisi for over three months with improvised prison cells.
“It is no secret that, unfortunately, one part of political spectrum – I am speaking about a marginalized part of the opposition and all the elections have demonstrated that they have no support – so, this marginalized part, which does not run for the elections at all but call themselves politicians – they are actively linked with organized crime,” Saakashvili said in live televised remarks, while meeting with senior officials from the ministry in charge of penitentiary system.
“We know about it and it is not our speculation. The Austrian police have published a voluminous report, which clearly shows that street protest rallies in Tbilisi were financed by Georgian organized crime, including from Austria and other European countries and of course from Russia,” Saakashvili said.
“Therefore, the esthetics of these rallies was not accidental – cells, thieves, criminal slang on TV. A small part of the society yielded to it and got engaged in it actively. We met it cold-bloodedly, because I know, that criminals are cowards, the political rallies financed by criminals were doomed to failure and nobody would have been able to impose the logic of cells, cages and thieves on the society. But the fact that it was financed by Georgian mafia including with the help of foreign centers is confirmed by Austrian police and European press was also writing about it. I think that those politicians, who were openly associated with it, should be ashamed. I think that the voters have already delivered a verdict to them during the last elections and the same will happen in the future,” Saakashvili added.
He made the remarks when speaking about the problems, which the authorities faced in the penitentiary system few years ago and said that one of the key challenges was to eradicate the practice when criminal world was ruled by criminal bosses from within the prisons. Saakashvili said that when in late 2005 he appointed Bacho Akhalaia, who is now defense minister, on the post of prison system chief, the priority was “to isolate” criminal bosses.
“We were warned that it would trigger prison riot; but Bacho [Akhalaia] responded: ‘we are not afraid.’ There really was a riot and he had to resort to force,” Saakashvili said, referring to violence in the Tbilisi prison in March, 2006 in which seven inmates were killed.
Saakashvili said that at the time Akhalaia was criticized by those people, “who are actively linked with criminal [groups]; I am absolutely sure about that.”
He said that now the priority was “to humanize prison”; he also said that the government’s policy direct towards decrease of crime rate has resulted in increase of prison population, which should be tackled by ongoing process of building new prison facilities.
According to the Public Defender’s human rights report, overcrowded prison cells remained a problem, which on the one hand was a result of increasing number of inmates and lack of infrastructure, and on the other hand by government’s criminal justice policy and current practice of consecutive sentencing of convicts.
Saakashvili said at the same meeting with the ministry staff that consecutive sentencing of convicts “through which the prison term may reach dozens of years, is not normal.” He added that Georgia should now move “to European system, which is more liberal.”
23 Jul. '10 Suchumi begrüßt die Kosovo-Entscheidung des int. Gerichtshofs in Den Haag
Officials in breakaway Abkhazia have welcomed ruling of the International Court of Justice on Kosovo saying that it would add weight to the Abkhaz arguments in favor of independence.
The breakaway region’s Prime Minister, Sergey Shamba, said according to the Abkhaz news agency Apsnipress, that after the ICJ’s decision “international experts would no longer be able to claim categorically that Abkhazia had no right for self-determination and independence.”
He, however, also said that because of the West’s “double-standard policies” no such ruling would have been expected from ICJ, had the Abkhaz case been brought before the Hague-based court.
In 2008 the UN General Assembly, upon Serbia’s initiative, requested the International Court of Justice to provide its advisory opinion on one specific question, whether the unilateral declaration of independence by Kosovo was in accordance with international law.
The Court said in its non-binding ruling that “general international law contains no applicable prohibition of declarations of independence and accordingly that the declaration of independence of 17 February 2008 [by Kosovo] did not violate general international law."
The court said in its ruling that it had not been asked about the validity or legal effects of the recognition of Kosovo by other states; hence, the court deemed it unnecessary to address such issues as whether or not the declaration had led to the creation of a state.
Tbilisi’s long-standing position has been that parallel between Kosovo and its two breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia are groundless, referring to, among other issues, the fact that in case of Georgia it was the Georgian population, which became victim of ethnic cleansing in those regions.
Another argument often raised by the officials in Tbilisi is a report by EU-sponsored Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on the Conflict in Georgia, led by Swiss diplomat Heidi Tagliavini, which studied causes of the August, 2008 war.
The report, among other things, concluded that “according to the overwhelmingly accepted uti possidetis principle, only former constituent republics such as Georgia but not territorial sub-units such as South Ossetia or Abkhazia are granted independence in case of dismemberment of a larger entity such as the former Soviet Union.”
“Hence, South Ossetia did not have a right to secede from Georgia, and the same holds true for Abkhazia for much of the same reasons. Recognition of breakaway entities such as Abkhazia and South Ossetia by a third country is consequently contrary to international law in terms of an unlawful interference in the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the affected country, which is Georgia,” the report said.
The Russian Foreign Ministry said on July 22, that the Hague-based court’s ruling did not give any legal basis for Kosovo's independence from Serbia and added that it would continue to lead opposition to Kosovo's drive for international recognition.
A spokesman for the U.S. Department of State, Philip J. Crowley, said on July 22 that ICJ in its ruling was applying to facts, which were unique to Kosovo.
“We don’t think it’s applicable to any other situation,” he said.
22 Jul. '10 Explosion verletzt sechs abchasische Polizisten in Gali
Nach den Berichten georg. TV-Sender war die Explosion das Ergebnis eines Konflikts zwischen abchasischer Milizen und russischer Truppen.
Six Abkhaz policemen were injured in a roadside bomb explosion in the Gali district of breakaway region early on July 22, the Abkhaz news agency, Apsnipress, reported.
According to this report, the six men were patrolling between the villages of Tagiloni and Nabakevi when their UAZ vehicle was hit by an explosive device at about 6:05am local time.
Meanwhile, the Georgian television stations reported that the July 22 explosion was a result of a conflict between the Abkhaz militias and the Russian troops stationed in the breakaway region. In remarks aired by the television stations, a Georgian official from the Abkhaz government-in-exile said that Abkhaz militias and Russian forces in Gali were in conflict over the control of one of the routes linking Gali with the Zugdidi district on the Georgian-side of administrative border.
21 Jul. '10 Resolution of the Parliament of Georgia on the Soviet Occupation of Georgia
Adopted 21.07.2010
Whereas following the restoration of statehood of Georgia on May 26, 1918 Soviet Russia launched activities against the Democratic Republic of Georgia aimed at occupying and establishing the Soviet in the country;
Whereas in January 1921, Soviet Russia unilaterally breached The Moscow Agreement of May 7, 1920 by which it had unconditionally recognised Georgia’s independence, sovereignty and committed itself to non-interference in its internal affairs, and started a military intervention on the territory of the Democratic Republic of Georgia;
Whereas on the 25th of February of the same year, the Russian Red Army seized Tbilisi and overthrew Georgian Government elected through free and universal elections, subsequently annexing the Democratic Republic of Georgia – a subject of international law;
Whereas the communist occupational regime, established as a result of the annexation, claimed lives of hundreds of thousands of Georgian citizens and seized their property;
Whereas in 1991, upon the restoration of the independence of Georgia and dissolution of the Soviet Union, the successor of the Soviet empire – the Russian Federation – failed to reverse the results of the occupation and refuses to recognise the fact of the occupation until today;
Whereas in 1990s the Russian Federation sponsored armed conflicts on the Georgian territory and whereas Russia supported and directly participated in carrying out an internationally-recognised ethnic cleansing on the territories of the Abkhaz Autonomous Republic and  the former Autonomous District of South Ossetia;
Whereas , for all this time, Russia has regarded democratic development of Georgia as inadmissible, and to stop it, it carried out another military intervention in 2008, occupying the territories of the Abkhaz Autonomous republic and the former South Autonomous District of South Ossetia, carrying out the second wave of ethnic cleansing;
Whereas 25th of February is the day of annexation and occupation of Georgia and whereas considerable part of the Georgian territory is still occupied by the Russian Federation until today;
The Parliament of Georgia:
1. Declares the 25th of February as the day of Soviet occupation of Georgia;
2. Instructs the Government of Georgia to work out and implement events dedicated to honouring victims of the occupation and marking the Occupation Day on 25th of February of every year;
3. Establishes to lower state flags on the whole territory of Georgia on 25th of February of every year;
4. Establishes to hold a minute of silence on 25th of February of every year on the whole territory of Georgia to honour the memory of the victims of the occupation;
5. Appeals to public organisations, private entities and enterprises to refrain from public entertainment events on that day.
21 Jul. '10 25.Februar zum "Tag der sowjetischen Besatzung" erklärt
Am 25.Februar 1921 nahm die Rote Armee Tbilisi ein. Der Tag soll auch an die hunderttausende Opfern erinnern als Folge der Repression durch die kommunistische Besatzungsregierung.
The Georgian Parliament declared February 25 – the day when 89 years ago Bolshevik’s Red Army took over Tbilisi – as the Day of Soviet Occupation.
The decision, endorsed unanimously by the Parliament on July 21, instructs the government to organize various memorial events on every February 25 and to fly national flag half-mast to commemorate, as the decision puts it, hundreds of thousands of victims of political repressions of Communist occupational regime.
In a separate decision, also passed unanimously on July 21, the Georgian Parliament declared August 23 the Day of Memory of Victims of Totalitarian Regimes.
The decision echoes declaration of the European Parliament on the proclamation of 23 August as European Day of Remembrance for Victims of Stalinism and Nazism. On that day in 1939, Germany and the Soviet Union signed a treaty – known as Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact - that divided Eastern Europe between the two countries.
“Although by 1939 Georgia had been occupied [by the Soviet Union] for already 18 years, dividing Europe into spheres of influence prolonged Georgia’s presence in the Soviet Union,” the Georgian Parliament’s decision reads.
20 Jul. '10 Präsident Saakashvili spricht von ‘Unprofessionalität’ in einigen Strukturen des Staates
President Saakashvili told the government ministers on July 20, that “unprofessionalism of number of state structures” and “bureaucratism” remained “a major problem” and called on the government to “work very actively.”
In live televised session of the government, Saakashvili also said that another problem “is fear of and shying away from making decisions” by officials in various ministries.
“We should put an end to that,” he said and then brought as an example a case of one investor, who, he said, requested in early February from the Economy Ministry to buy a plot of land in Poti.
Saakashvili said that the investor received a response in late April from then deputy economy minister, Grigol Gobejishvili, who was redirecting the request to the local self-governance bodies in Poti.
“This Grigol Gobejishvili might be a good guy, but he definitely does not love Georgia,” Saakashvili said and then described ex-deputy economy minister using some derogatory terms.
“That’s the main problem of Georgia and not external aggression – officials like Gobejishvili are our major problem and the reason that our people are still in poor condition and the reason why investments are not coming as they should,” Saakashvili said.
He said that problems persisted in Ministry of Environmental Protection, as well as in the Healthcare Ministry; Agriculture Ministry and in the ministry in charge of displaced persons and refugees. 
Saakashvili also said Georgia “has a potential, if economic development continues, to have 7-8% or even higher economic growth” next year and “to return to pre-crisis figures” of growth.
“And then to move to figures, which will turn us into Europe’s Singapore – something that we are promising to our people, to attract investments under the condition of liberal economic model and to turn Georgia into a serious exporter,” Saakashvili said.
19 Jul. '10 Georgische Eisenbahn gibt Wertpapiere für 250 Mio. USD heraus
Georgian state-owned railway company issued eurobonds worth of USD 250 million with five year maturity, Nikoloz Mchedlishvili, Georgian PM’s spokesman, said on July 19.
He said issuance of eurobonds was managed by Bank of America Merrill Lynch and JP Morgan.
Mchedlishvili said raised funds will be used for Tbilisi by-pass railway project and for “other modernization projects”.
EBRD provides EUR 100 million loan to co-finance a new double track railway route 10 km north of Tbilisi, which will divert rail traffic around the center of Tbilisi. This section of railway is part of main route for freight on the east-west transport corridor in Georgia.
16 Jul. '10 Präsident Lukashenko über das Treffen mit Präsident Saakashvili
"Wir bauen nicht eine Koalition mit Georgien gegen irgendjemanden auf", sagte Lukashenko.
Belarus President, Alexander Lukashenko, said that his recent meeting with the Georgian counterpart, Mikheil Saakashvili, in Crimea, Ukraine, “did not aim against anyone.”
“We are not creating coalition with Georgia against any one,” Belarus state news agency, BelTA, reported quoting Lukashenko as saying on July 16.
Saakashvili and Lukashenko met when the latter was in Yalta to take part in an informal summit of six CIS leaders on July 11.
Lukashenko said that it was a brief meeting, held upon the Georgian President’s request and during which Saakashvili invited him to visit Georgia.
“There is no need to reproach us for carrying out this dialogue,” Lukashenko said.
Saakashvili said on July 15 that he had “a lengthy conversation on issues of bilateral interest” during the meeting with Lukashenko.
“I think that no matter how different the countries might be and no matter how different our problems might be, dialogue in frames of [EU’s] Eastern Partnership, as the first stage for our joint integration to the European Union, is very important,” Saakashvili added.
Apart of Georgia and Belarus, EU’s Eastern Partnership initiative also includes Armenia, Azerbaijan, Moldova and Ukraine.
Lukashenko said on July 16, that it was EU which was more interested in having Belarus in Eastern Partnership, then Minks itself. He said, according to BelTA news agency, that if Belarus withdrew only GUAM – an organization formed by Georgia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan, Moldova – would remain out of Eastern Partnership. The EU “does not want to have GUAM” instead of Eastern Partnership, Lukashenko said.
16 Jul. '10 Präsident Saakashvili Hails Belarus in Interview with Belarus State TV
Georgia has “huge, huge sympathies towards the Belarus people” and Tbilisi enjoyed with Minsk’s support whenever it needed, President Saakashvili said in an interview aired by the Belarus state TV station on July 15.
Saakashvili said that during Georgia’s presence in Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) and also afterwards, “when there was a need of supporting each other, Belarus was always supporting [Georgia].”
He said that after Russia imposed embargo on import of Georgia’s key export products, during the CIS leaders’ summit in Minks in November, 2006 the leaders were served with Georgian wines and mineral waters. “By the way, the Russian leaders were also drinking our wine [at that summit],” Saakashvili added.
Saakashvili said that many people chose to fly from Georgia to various destinations via Minsk not only because the route was one of the cheapest, but also because “there are simple procedures and well-disposed custom officers” in Belarus. “A general climate itself attracts you [to Belarus],” Saakashvili said.
He said that Russia still continued “pressing Belarus” to recognize “our occupied territories – as the world now refers” to Abkhazia and South Ossetia.
“I think the Belarus will act wisely,” Saakashvili added.
On Russia and its leadership, Saakashvili said that it was “hard to understand what they want.”
“Anytime when we were conceding something, they wanted more and more,” he said and added that Moscow was offering Tbilisi a choice between “bad and worse”, which Georgia had rejected.
Speaker of Russian State Duma, Boris Gryzlov, said that allocating airtime to the interview with the Georgian President by the Belarus state-run television station was “an unfriendly step in respect of Russia.”
Russia’s state-funded English-language satellite channel, Russia Today, described airing of Saakashvili’s interview by the Belarus state TV “as a gesture of goodwill to Tbilisi” and “a way to irritate Moscow.”
15 Jul. '10 Präsident Saakashvili spricht von regionaler Kooperation im Kontext der EU-Beziehungen
President Saakashvili indicated on July 15 that six-post Soviet states, which are now part of EU’s Eastern Partnership initiative, had a potential to create ”a joint platform”, which would help these countries not only to integrate with Europe, but also to tackle Russia’s “pressure and blackmail.”
Saakashvili spoke on the matter at a joint news conference with visiting French Foreign Minister, Bernard Kouchner, in Tbilisi - few hours before meeting with EU foreign policy chief, Katherine Ashton, in Batumi. Ashton’s visit marks the launch of EU-Georgia talks on Association Agreement.
President Saakashvili said that Russia tried “through direct threats and blackmailing” to press other countries, including Georgia’s regional neighbors, “not to even talk with us.”
“But despite these attempts, Georgia has very good relations with the neighbors and these relations are recently taking very concrete and tangible nature,” he said.
He said that last week he paid “an unofficial visit” to Ukraine where he had met with Ukrainian President, Viktor Yanukovych - “with whom I had a chance to meet for number of times before his election as president and with whom I have always had good relations.”
Saakashvili said that in Ukraine he also met with President of Belarus, Alexander Lukashenko, with whom he had “a lengthy conversation on issues of bilateral interest.”
“I think that no matter how different the countries might be and no matter how different our problems might be, dialogue in frames of [EU’s] Eastern Partnership, as the first stage for our joint integration to the European Union, is very important,” Saakashvili said.
Apart of Georgia and Belarus, EU’s Eastern Partnership initiative also includes Armenia, Azerbaijan, Moldova and Ukraine.
Saakashvili said that like European Coal and Steel Community grew into European Union sixty years ago, “Eastern Partnership was an opportunity for political and economic integration” for six post-Soviet states, “which will move towards rapprochement to the European Union.”
Saakashvili, however, also made it clear that EU-membership was a long-term perspective and “we do not know what kind of [structure] EU will be after a decade.” But it was important to lay a foundation for regional integration into the Europe today, he said.
In this context he said that Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), from which Georgia withdrew after the August, 2008 war, was “demoralized and it does not work.” He said that Russia was using its levers of blackmailing against its neighbors and he brought an example of Moldova and said that although Russia initially removed embargo from import of Moldovan wines, “then against imposed the embargo after the President of Moldova said something”, which Moscow did not like.
15 Jul. '10 Trotz aller Schwierigkeiten Gespräch mit Russland suchen, sagt Kouchner zu Georgien
Despite all the difficulties, Georgia should engage in talks with Russia, Bernard Kouchner, the French foreign minister, said during his visit to Tbilisi on July 15.
Kouchner’s visit came five weeks after Saakashvili met with French counterpart, Nicolas Sarkozy, in Paris.
He reiterated support for Georgia’s territorial integrity and said that the August 12 six-point ceasefire agreement, mediated by Nicolas Sarkozy in capacity of EU presidency, was still in place, which should be fully implemented by Russia.
Kouchner said that France and EU were raising this issue in talks with Russia and work was ongoing to secure full implementation of the six-point ceasefire agreement.
He, however, also said that only two years have passed since the August war and it was not possible to achieve any significant progress in such a short period of time.
“Russian [forces] should be pulled back to the positions they held prior to the August war. What do you expect me to do in terms of pressing Russia [to fulfill this agreement], except of having talks with [Russia]?” Kouchner said.
“We try to achieve success in frames of Geneva discussions and we try to talks as much as possible with Russia,” he added. "Russia must leave the territory of Georgia and France must apply maximum strength to achieve it."
“I am grateful that Bernard Kouchner today and previously mentioned the word‘ ‘occupation’; that’s exactly describes the situation on the ground in occupied territories,” President Saakashvili said at the joint news conference with Kouchner.
Georgia tries to establish internationally a term “occupied territories” in reference of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. During her visit to Georgia on July 5, U.S. Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, spoke against Russia’s “continued occupation” of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Russia said in response that use of term “occupation” by Clinton was “groundless”.
Kouchner said that although he mentioned the term “occupation” in reference to Abkhazia and South Ossetia, but the conflict would not be solved through use of this term.
Before meeting with President Saakashvili, Kouchner spoke about European policy issues to an audience in Europe House in Tbilisi.
The French Foreign Minister told the audience, involving representatives of political parties, civil society and media, that although it was not easy for Georgia to engage in talks with Russia, it was necessary.
President Saakashvili did not directly address the issue of talks with Russia at the joint news conference with Kouchner, but he made a statement on the matter on June 29, when he said that Tbilisi was ready for talks with Russia “without pre-conditions” despite Moscow’s stance that it would not negotiate with Georgia’s current leadership.
“We are fully ready to hold comprehensive talks with Russia without any pre-conditions on normalization of relations,” Saakashvili said on June 29 and added: “This normalization means [talks] on return of 500,000 displaced persons back to their homes and restoration of their property rights, as well as on other issues related with bilateral relations, including political, economic, diplomatic and humanitarian aspects.”
“We have no interest in having confrontation with Russia; we are ready to talk with the Russian leadership, which unlike the Georgian one is elected through violation of all the international norms and that’s observed by international organizations; despite of that it is the Russian leadership and we recognize it as partner in negotiations and we want to have talks with them providing that Georgia should be recognized as united, sovereign, independent state,” Saakashvili added.
On Thursday morning Kouchner met with Georgian opposition representatives, including Irakli Alasania, leader of Our Georgia-Free Democrats; Nino Burjanadze, ex-parliamentary speaker and leader of Democratic Movement-United Georgia; Tina Khidasheli of Republican Party and MP Petre Mamradze of Movement for Fair Georgia, party led by ex-PM Zurab Nogaideli. Opposition representative said that internal political situation and democracy, as well as issues related with Russia were discussed.
Before departure from Tbilisi, the French Foreign Minister visited a settlement of internally displaced persons in the village of Koda.
In an interview with Euronews this week, French Minister for European Affair, Pierre Lellouche, said that Paris was Georgia’s friend and France considered recognition of Abkhazia and South Ossetia by Russia as illegitimate.
“The so called independence of these territories, locally declared and recognised by Russia, for us has no legal jurisdiction,” he said. “Furthermore, I think it is a mistake to give a false sovereignty to territories which are in fact enclaves within a sovereign country. It creates precedents which benefit no one, absolutely no one. And some people in Moscow understand that.”
15 Jul. '10 Kontroverse um Verhaftungen in Swanetien
Vier Personen werden der Erpressung von 70000 GEL von einem ausländischen Investor angeklagt. Unter ihnen ist Neli Naveriani, ein Mitglied der oppositionellen "Alliance for Georgia", die kürzlich auseinandergebrochen war. Der Fall ist verbunden mit den Landrückgabe an Familien nach dem Zusammenbruch der SU, was aber nur in Absprachen zwischen Familien ohne offizielle Registrierung stattfand. Ein kanadischer Investor hatte offiziell 22000 qm Land für ein Hotel gekauft, welches den Vorfahren der vier gehört hatte.
Arrest of an opposition member of local council in Mestia in Georgia’s north-western mountainous region of Svaneti and her three relatives, one of them local official, has sparked a backlash from part of local residents – the case which, apart of political aspect, involves broader problem related to land ownership in the region.
Neli Naveriani, a member of Mestia town council from now collapsed opposition Alliance for Georgia and her three relatives - David Japaridze, head of Mestia’s municipal office for culture, tourism and sport affairs; Tariel Japaridze and Shota Japaridze - were arrested on July 7 and charged with extortion of GEL 70,000 from a foreign investor.
According to the Interior Ministry, the group was extorting money from a Georgian citizen acting on behalf of a Canadian investor, who bought 22,000 square meter plot of land in Svaneti to build a hotel in the region, which is one of the tourist destinations in Georgia famous with its medieval-type villages, tower-houses and high mountain peaks.
The plot of land in question was once owned by ancestors of the family, whose four members are now facing extortion charges. According to the police, the suspects were demanding money based on so called “local tradition”, as the land was once owned by their ancestors.
After the collapse of Soviet Union many families in Svaneti, regained and distributed plots of land, confiscated under the Soviet regime, among each other in accordance to how those plots were owned by their ancestors before the Soviet regime. But the problem was that this process was taking place informally, based on verbal agreement between the families and the distribution was not officially registered, meaning that although the land may be de facto owned by a family, but from legal point of view land still belongs to the state. In this particular case the plot of land in question was privatized few years ago by the investor, according to the authorities.
After the arrest the police had to call for helicopters to escort detainees from Mestia to Zugdidi, administrative center of the Samegrelo-Zemo Svaneti region, as some locals were blocking the roads protesting against the arrest of Naveriani and the three men. At least four local residents and several policemen were injured in a clash.
On July 11 a group of local residents reportedly held a rally in Mestia demanding not only the release of Naveriani and her three relatives, whom they consider innocent, but also to resolve the problem related with privatization of land – the process, which locals say has been suspended more than a year ago.
But President Saakashvili made it clear on July 14 that the authorities had no intention to step back.
“When I come to Mestia and if someone gives me a letter urging for pardoning [of Naveriani and the three men], you should know that there is no need to disturb yourself, as I will return this letter back very coldly,” Saakashvili said while meeting with regional governors in his residence in Tbilisi on July 14.
“Giving a bad answer to an investor amounts to dooming own children for poverty and misfortune,” he said.
Saakashvili said that the authorities managed to provide security in the Svaneti region by rooting out crime bosses there back in 2004, when three crime suspects – a father and his two sons were killed in a heavy-handed police operation.
Referring to that police operation Saakashvili said: “We have blown up a tower from helicopters – I only regret in this operation that this tower was blown up; I do not feel regrets about those bandits.”
He said that crackdown on crime in the region helped to increase flow of tourism in Svaneti.
“But now some people emerged… telling [investor] that this land belonged to their ancestors and ‘if you want to build something here, you should give a share’…. Now they [referring to Naveriani and her relatives] will be instructed in European-level Georgian prisons for many years to come how one should demand shares from a foreign investor,” Saakashvili said.
Tbilisi-based four human rights and advocacy groups, however, suggested in their joint statement on July 10 that Naveriani’s arrest “might be linked to her political activities.” Naveriani acted as a whistleblower when ahead of local elections several opposition candidates came under pressure from local senior officials.
Transparency International Georgia, the Georgian Young Lawyers Association (GYLA), the International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy and Human Rights Center cast doubt over the official version of the case and indicated that Naveriani and her three relatives could have been provoked by investor’s representative to take money, which was used by the police as a pretext to arrest them.
Shota Utiashvili, head of the interior ministry’s information and analytical department, however, has strongly denied such suggestions and said that the police had not only video, but also phone records and other evidence to support case against Naveriani and her three relatives.
Human rights and advocacy groups said that they would keep monitoring the case and called on the international organizations to also keep a close eye on the matter.
15 Jul. '10 Gespräche um ein EU-Georgien-Assoziationsabkommen in Batumi
EU-Vertreterin für Außen- und Sicherheitspolitik Catherine Ashton wird diese formell zusammen mit Präsident Saakashvili eröffnen. Ziel ist, einen engeren politischen Anschluss und schrittweise ökonomische Integration zwischen der EU und den drei Südkaukasusländern Georgien, Armenien und Aserbaidschan zu errreichen.
EU foreign policy chief, Catharine Ashton, who starts two-day visit to Georgia on July 15, will formally open EU-Georgia Association Agreement together with President Saakashvili in Black Sea town of Batumi.
“Georgia can rest assured that the EU will continue to provide support in advancing democracy, rule of law and governance particularly under the European Neighbourhood Policy and the Eastern Partnership,” Ashton said in a statement ahead of her visit.
During the visit she will also met with Georgian Foreign Minister, Grigol Vashadze, and visit EU Monitoring Mission in Georgia, followed by trips to locations at administrative borders of breakaway regions on July 16.
“We stand firm on our full support to Georgia’s territorial integrity and welcome its commitment to solving conflicts only through peaceful means and diplomatic efforts,” Ashton said.
“We encourage Georgia to reengage with the populations in the conflict regions in accordance with its recently adopted Action Plan, in the interest of people affected. The EU will remain fully engaged in conflict resolution efforts employing a wide spectrum of its instruments. The EUMM remains an indispensable factor for stability.”
Apart of Georgia, EU is also launching Association Agreement negotiations with two other South Caucasus states – Armenia (on July 19) and Azerbaijan (on July 16). The goal of the Association Agreement is to achieve closer political association and gradual economic integration between the EU and the three Southern Caucasian countries. The EU is already negotiating similar agreements with Ukraine and Moldova.
On 15 July first plenary session of negotiations over the Georgia-EU Association Agreement will be led by Hugues Mingarelli, EU's deputy director general for external relations and Tornike Gordadze, Georgia’s new deputy foreign minister in charge of talks with EU.
14 Jul. '10 Öffentlicher Fernsehsender GPB: ‘Entscheidung des Pariser Gerichtshofs in der Sache unfair’
The Georgian Public Broadcaster (GPB) said it was “disappointed” with a decision of the Paris court of commerce, which ruled against GPB’s lawsuit against Europe’s leading satellite operator, Eutelsat.
“[The broadcaster] thinks that the court's verdict is unfair and groundless,” the GPB said in a statement late on July 13 and added that it was now considering whether to appeal the verdict or not.
According to GPB, court costs, related to case against Eutelsat, was up to GEL 900,000 (about USD 490,000).
In its ruling on July 12, the Paris-based court rejected GPB’s motion demanding from Eutelsat to restore its Russian-language First Caucasian Channel back on W7 satellite operating at the 36 degrees East - a key location for broadcasting in Russia and other CIS states. GPB was also seeking reimbursement of financial damage caused by removal of the First Caucasian Channel from Eutelsat’s satellite.
The GPB also said in the statement that it “continues working on further development of the First Caucasian Channel.”
“The decision has been taken to restore the channel’s broadcasting within next few months,” GPB said without giving further details.
After its removal from the satellite in January, the First Caucasian Channel was only available for viewers in Tbilisi through cable networks and on internet. But in early June the channel suspended broadcasting - although still keeping presence on internet - pending the decision of the Paris court of commerce.
14 Jul. '10 Präsident Saakashvili trifft den polnischen Außenminister Radoslaw Sikorski
After holding talks in Tbilisi on July 13, Polish Foreign Minister, Radoslaw Sikorski, met with President Saakashvili in Black Sea town of Batumi on Tuesday evening.
“Mr. Sikorsky is young, but Georgia’s long-time friend. He is not only important political figure in Europe, but also good advisor. We always exchange opinions about important issues,” Saakashvili said.
He said that despite global economic crisis, Poland was the “only country in Europe” whose economy was developing. “And Georgia is the only state in the region, which has achieved real economic success,” Saakashvili said.
Earlier on July 13, the Polish Foreign Minister met in Tbilisi with his counterpart, Grigol Vashadze, as well as PM Nika Gilauri.
Sikorski reiterated support to Georgia’s territorial integrity and said after meeting with Vashadze, that Poland would not recognize Abkhazia and South Ossetia.
“Poland is Georgia’s one of the best friends, which helps us in EU and NATO. Poland is the country whose advice we enjoy in our drive to integrate with EU,” the Georgian Foreign Minister said.
In Tbilisi the Polish Foreign Minister also met with two opposition representatives – MP Giorgi Targamadze, leader of parliamentary minority and of Christian-Democratic Movement and Irakli Alasania, leader of Our Georgia-Free Democrats. Opposition leaders said that they raised the issues related with electoral reform and media freedom during the meeting.
13 Jul. '10 Präsident Saakashvili trifft den weißrussischen Präsidenten Lukashenko in der Ukraine
President Saakashvili has met with his Belarusian counterpart, Alexander Lukashenko, in Crimea, Ukraine, the Georgian President’s administration said on Monday.
The two presidents “expressed satisfaction that dialogue between the two countries is deepening and this process is taking place not only between the top leaders, but also between the civil society groups, especially between the youth and business people,” the Georgian President’s administration said in press release.
The Belarusian President was in Yalta, Crimea on July 11, participating in an informal summit of six CIS leaders, also including Presidents of Russia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan, Armenia and Kazakhstan.
On July 9 Saakashvili was in Kiev attending Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych’s 60th birthday celebration, where he had a chance to meet with his Ukrainian counterpart, according to the Georgian President’s administration.
9 Jul. '10 Abchasische Abgeordnete verurteilten die Ausstrahlung des georgischen Dokumentarfilms “Absence of Will” durch einen lokalen Sender
Lawmakers in breakaway Abkhazia passed on July 9 a statement condemning broadcasting of a Georgian documentary film on the conflict by the Abkhaz television station.
Authors of “Absence of Will”, documentary produced by Tbilisi-based Studio Re, try to take a critical view of Georgian policies towards Abkhazia and South Ossetian not only in run up to the August war, but also in late 80s and early 90s of last century. (The film is available on this link with English subtitles).
The 50-minute long film was broadcasted by the Sokhumi-based “Abkhaz State TV and Radio Company” on June 23, followed by discussions in the TV studio.
The move by the TV station angered many politicians and public figures in Abkhazia, culminating with the statement of the breakaway region’s legislative body. The statement was passed after the film was screened separately for the lawmakers.
“Broadcast of this film has triggered negative reaction from the significant part of the [Abkhaz] society,” Abkhaz news agency, Apsnipress, quoted the statement by the breakaway region’s parliament.
The statement says that although the film is countering “some of the opinions about the launch of Georgian-Abkhaz war” in early 1990s, by pointing finger at the Georgian leaders “as a source of aggression,” it is not a reason to consider the film as “liberal towards Abkhazia, or anti-Georgian, as some [Abkhaz figures] try to portray it.”
“The film criticizes not the essence of [the Georgian] politics, but only methods of resolving the problem of so called territorial integrity of Georgia.”
“[The film] is ideological bait directed against the Abkhaz people, the Abkhaz statehood and against the Abkhaz-Russian relations,” the statement says, adding that the broadcast of such film through the state television station was “a mistake.”
7 Jul. '10 Regierung bestätigt "Plan zum Engagement durch Kooperation", welcher die Strategie für die besetzten Gebiete darlegt
The Georgian government approved on July 3 an Action Plan for Engagement – a document laying out steps for implementing goals of Tbilisi’s Strategy on Occupied Territories: Engagement through Cooperation.
The Strategy and its Action Plan, according to the government, provide “human-centered approach” designed to reduce “isolation” and “improve welfare” of people living in breakaway Abkhazia and South Ossetia.
The Action Plan, which has been developed and which will be overseen by the Office of Georgian State Minister for Reintegration, centers around seven “instruments” the government offers to put in place to achieve the goals of the Strategy.
These seven instruments are: status-neutral liaison mechanism; neutral identification card and travel document; trust fund; joint investment fund; cooperation agency; financial institution and integrated social-economic zone.
Status-Neutral Liaison Mechanism
Tbilisi offers to establish a status-neutral liaison mechanism under the umbrella of international humanitarian organization with offices in Sokhumi, Tskhinvali and Tbilisi.
The goal of this mechanism, according to the Action Plan, should be facilitation of communication between the Georgian government and “the authorities in control in Abkhazia and the Tskhinvali region/South Ossetia” – the term which the Strategy refers to the Sokhumi-based and Tskhinvali-based authorities, which usually are described by the Georgian officials as Moscow’s “proxy” or “puppet regimes”.
The same mechanism, the Action Plan says, should also be in charge of executing “mutually approved projects and support implementers in their operations.”
The status-neutral liaison mechanism will consist of liaison officers appointed with the consent of the both sides and their “small staff” based in Sokhumi, Tskhinvali and Tbilisi.
The Action Plan notes that this mechanism can be based on previous arrangements, in case of Abkhazia such as the Georgian-Abkhaz Coordination Commission (or Council). There was the attempt back in 2006 to revitalize this Commission. But only one meeting in frames of this arrangement was held in Tbilisi in May, 2006.
Neutral Identification Card and Travel Document
The Action Plan proposes amendments to the Georgian legislature that will allow issuing of neutral identification cards and travel documents (neutral with respect to citizenship status) to the residents of the breakaway regions.
Authorities in Sokhumi and Tskhinvali have often complained that the residents of the regions, which hold Russian passports, are denied in entry visas to Europe and the United States.
Apart of allowing holders of these documents to travel abroad, they will also be able to gain access to social and education services available in the rest of Georgia, according to the Action Plan. For the residents of Abkhazia, such documents will be written in Abkhaz and Georgian languages, which are official language in Abkhazia, according to the Georgian constitution.
Trust Fund
An international organization-managed trust fund, according to the Action Plan, will be established, which will serve as an advisory body for donors, providing grants to implementing organizations in Abkhazia and South Ossetia.
Joint Investment Fund
It will be a privately operated body, funded by donor and business organizations, to provide seed money for ventures on the both sides of “division lines”.
Cooperation Agency
Cooperation Agency will be a legal person of public law under the Office of Georgian State Ministry for Reintegration, established to assist in carrying out state-funded programs.
“It will assist organisations that seek help in finding partners across the division lines, coordinate the efforts of local authorities to improve the local operating environments, ensure that project activity and business development complies with Georgian and international law,” the Action Plan reads.
Financial Institution
The Action Plan offers setting up of Financial Institution in Sokhumi and Tskhinvali to facilitate cash transfers and other transactions. The document says that such institution can be operated by a bank, which already operates in Georgia.
Integrated Social-Economic Zone
The Action Plan proposes creation of this zone in the adjacent areas of the administrative borders with facilities for business and social services. Enterprises and population in these zones “may be exempted from some taxes,” according to the document.
Both Tskhinvali and Sokhumi have rejected for number of times to even discuss Georgia’s Strategy. Abkhaz leader, Sergey Bagapsh, said in February that the Strategy was “a guideline of what Abkhazia should not do.”
5 Jul. '10 Putin zum Clinton-Besuch: Georgien solle direkt mit Abchsien und Südossetien verhandeln anstatt bei Dritten nach Lösungen zu suchen
Weiterhin sagte er. "Wenn jement denkt, dass Südossetien besetzt sei, denken andere, dass es befreit ist."
5 Jul. '10 US-Außenministerin Clinton beteuert nochmals Georgien’s ‘unerschütterliche’ Unterstützung
Hillary Clinton, the U.S. secretary of state, reiterated Washington’s “steadfast” support to Georgia, spoke out against “the continued occupation” of Abkhazia and South Ossetia by Russia, called on Tbilisi not to be “provoked” by Russia and not to be focused on the past.
Clinton paid a six-hour visit to Georgia on July 5, which was her final stop on her tour of Eastern European countries, which also included Ukraine, Poland, Azerbaijan and Armenia.
During her stay in Tbilisi the U.S. Secretary of State held a town hall meeting with women leaders, met with President Saakashvili and some opposition leaders and took a walk in the old part of Tbilisi together with the Georgian leader.
Town Hall Meeting
The town hall meeting in the National Library involved over hundred of women, including from advocacy and media groups, opposition parties, lawmakers and some senior government officials, as well as the Georgian First Lady, Sandra Roelofs.
“I believe that the potential of this country to serve as a beacon and model for democracy and progress is extraordinary,” Clinton said in her opening remarks at the meeting.
During question-and-answer session the Secretary of State was asked by Tina Khidasheli of the opposition Republican Party whether the Obama administration had “real a democracy agenda” for Georgia. “The real one and not the one we have seen during the Bush times – that was ‘well, we know what Saakashvili does, but he’s our guy’… is that any real weapon the U.S. has to influence the democratic changes?” Khidasheli asked and added that she was concerned about, what she called, increasing skepticism towards the West among Georgians.
“The United States always has a democratic agenda,” Clinton responded.
“Our view is that Georgia has made extraordinary progress and has demonstrated resilience in the face of very difficult circumstances. But of course, we raise issues - whether it’s criminal code, independent judiciary or free media; we raise these issues as a friend, as a supporter, as a believer in the significance of Georgian democracy.”
“We gonna continue to support democracy in Georgia,” Clinton added.
She said that when people starting saying that they become skeptical of the west, the alternative was to “work to overcome that skepticism, work to fix the problem.”
Later during the same meeting she again addressed the same issue and said: “It is beyond my imagination that a country that has fought so hard to be independent, despite the difficulties would be seeking another potential route.”
Another government critic, Eka Beselia, a former member of ex-defense minister Irakli Okruashvili’s party, who now leads an advocacy group, told the Secretary of State that there were more than 60 “political prisoners” in Georgia. “And I want to request you to ask President Saakashvili why he holds political prisoners and why the judiciary is not independent,” Beselia told Clinton and added that she herself became a victim, because her family members faced criminal persecution “just because I was in the opposition.”
“We raise all of these concerns with our meetings with the officials; I will raise this and other concerns when I meet with the President… I want to be clear that the United State supports the Georgian people and the Georgian democracy,” Clinton responded.
When a lawmaker from the ruling party, Chiora Taktakishivli, asked the Secretary of State what was the U.S. agenda to facilitate return of displaced persons back to their homes in Abkhazia and South Ossetia, Clinton responded that the U.S. was “appalled and totally rejected the invasion and occupation of the Georgian territory.”
“We continue to speak out against the continued occupation and we support the use of the Geneva mechanism but it needs to be revived and it needs to be intensified. And we intend to try to do that. I am not going to stand here and tell you that this is an easy problem because this is not,” Clinton said.
During the same meeting Clinton stressed that the best way for Georgia was to move forward with its reforms and economic development and not to focus on the past.
“It is a mistake to focus on the past. Too many countries in this part of Europe are looking backwards instead of forwards,” she said. “It does not mean you forget the past; it does not mean you don’t take prudent measures to protect yourself, but staying focused on what you can do today and tomorrow to improve your lives and lives of your fellow citizens and building your democracy and opening your economy and providing for justice and social inclusion – that is for me a great mission of Georgia.”
She again reiterated that while trying to reset relations with Russia, the United States continued “to object and criticize actions by Russia which we believe are wrong and on the top of the list is the invasion and occupation of Georgia.”
She also “strongly urge” Georgia “not be baited or provoked into any action that would give any excuse to the Russians to take any further aggressive movements.”
‘Steadfast Commitment to Georgia's Sovereignty’
After the town hall meeting, the Secretary of State headed to the presidential palace, where she met with President Saakashvili.
Clinton said in her opening remarks at the joint news conference after the meeting that she arrived in Georgia to deliver “a clear message” from President Obama, that the United States “is steadfast in its commitment to Georgia's sovereignty and territorial integrity.”
“The United States does not recognize spheres of influence,” she said and added that President Obama and she had communicated this message also with the Russian counterparts.
She said that the U.S. was calling on Russia to abide with its commitments undertaken under the August 12 six-point ceasefire agreement and to pull back its troops to pre-August war line.
She also reiterated the U.S. position that there was no need for any additional agreement, as insisted by Russia – a reference to Moscow’s calls on Tbilisi to sign a non-use of force treaty or a declaration. Moscow, however, itself refuses to sign such document citing that it is not party into the conflict.
Echoing Tbilisi’s position on the matter, Clinton said that if such agreement was anyway prepared, it would only be acceptable if Russia also was the part of it.
She said that Geneva talks were an important forum to help increase transparency in Abkhazia and South Ossetia and to help reduce tensions.
She said that the U.S. “strongly urges” South Ossetians “to immediately” resume participation in the Incident Prevention and Response Mechanism (IPRM). She also said that the U.S. was calling on Russia to encourage South Ossetians to return to that mechanism, which was established in frames of Geneva discussions and involves regular meetings between the sides to address security concerns on the ground. 
She also called on the Abkhaz side “to constructively participate” in the Geneva talks. Sokhumi said last month that it was "temporarily withdrawing" from Geneva talks – the move which Tbilisi said was in fact Russia’s attempt to undermine Geneva talks with the hands of its “puppet regime” in Sokhumi.
Clinton said the U.S. was concerned about construction of Russia’s “permanent military base” in Abkhazia and South Ossetia and added that Washington “made it clear” to the Russian authorities that such move was not in line with their commitments under the ceasefire agreement.
Clinton thanked Georgia for its significant contribution to the NATO forces in Afghanistan and added that this contribution showed evidence of Georgia’s “diligent movement towards meeting the requirements” for NATO membership.
Shortcomings Remain
At the joint news conference with President Saakashvili, Clinton said that despite “difficult circumstances” Georgia made “a real progress” in past few years.
“But, as you know better than I, there are still shortcomings. We want to urge Georgia to continue work of the Rose Revolution,” Clinton said.
U.S. ‘Decisive’ Assistance
Saakashvili said that the U.S. assistance was “decisive” for Georgia since its independence.
He said that “repeated statements” defending Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity made by the Obama administration, as well as the U.S. support to Georgia’s democracy were of vital importance for Tbilisi.
He also said that Georgia remained committed to reforms and modernization and although much remained to be done, Georgia was “a model of political and economic reforms” and “a shining example at least for this region.” He also added that despite occupation and challenges, Georgia would never turn away from this path of “reforms and modernization.”
‘Step-By-Step’ Security Cooperation
During the press conference, Saakashvili was asked about “de facto restrictions” on sale of U.S. arms to Georgia on which he responded by saying that Georgia had “very good security cooperation” with the United States and brought an example of Georgia’s contribution to the Afghan operation.
He said that this security cooperation “is a process, a step-by-step approach.” He said that “there is nothing to complain about” the U.S. policy on this issue.
On the U.S. reset policy with Russia, Saakashvili said that although initially some questions were raised about the issue, it was now clear that the reset did not come at the expense of principles.
“It is a value-based policy… That’s why we all love America,” he said.
2 Jul. '10 Russischer Außenminister äußert sich zu den Georgien-Iran-Beziehungen
The Russian Foreign Ministry hopes that the development of bilateral relations between Georgia and Iran would not be directed against the third countries, Andrei Nesterenko, a spokesman for the Russian Foreign Ministry, said on July 1.
“We respect the rights of sovereign states, like Iran and Georgia, to develop friendly, good neighborly relations among each other. It is especially important for the countries neighboring in this uneasy region. We hope that the development of bilateral relations between Georgia and Iran will not be directed against the third countries,” Nesterenko said at a press conference in Moscow.
Nesterenko’s remarks followed a question from a journalist, which was asked in a context of Iran’s nuclear program, saying that signs of closer ties between Iran and Georgia emerged after Russia in early June supported the UN Security Council resolution of sanctions on Iran.
“As far as problem with Iran’s nuclear program is concerned, Tbilisi can hardly play any role in this issue, because of Georgia’s low authority on the international level… and because [Georgia] has no levers to influence on this issue,” Nesterenko said.
President Saakashvili said in late May that Georgia and Iran had agreed to cancel visa requirements. “As far as political relations are concerned, it depends on many international factors. In general we do not want to have bad relations with anyone; we are not self-murderers. We'll do everything that is rational,” he said.
1 Jul. '10 Außenminister Vashadze trifft den britischen Außenminister William Hague in Londen