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31 Dec. '10 Maestro TV Direktor Kakha Bekauri tritt zurück
31 Dec. '10 Russ. Außenminister Lavrov zu den Beziehungen mit Georgien: “Wir wollen und sind bereit, in einer Weise zu handeln, so dass Barrieren abgebaut werden, welche Kontakte von Person zu Person behindern.”
Russia’s Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov, said Moscow was ready to foster people-to-people contacts between Georgia and Russia, but as far as state-to-state ties are concerned, he said, Moscow hoped that the Georgian people would elect new leaders, who would know how to build relations with neighbors.
“It was not us, who have cut diplomatic relations, even after President Saakashvili ordered to attack South Ossetia. After this attack was repelled and stopped, we were not offering to cut diplomatic relations – it was President Saakashvili, who did it,” Lavrov said in an interview with Russian state-run news channel Rossiya-24, aired on December 30.
“But we are pragmatics and we understand that the Georgian people are friendly people to us, that majority of the Georgian citizens has this stance and we are open for contacts, which will help people to feel some kind of relief, involving direct flights, opening of Verkhny Lars [border-crossing point] which was put into operation after the repair works; we were ready for that [reopening of border-crossing point] and it is good that the Georgian leadership did not politicized this issue; it also involves many other issues, first of all related to humanitarian relations,” he said.
“We want and we are ready to act in a way so that to remove barriers, which are impeding people-to-people contacts. There will be a result if there are these kinds of contacts.”
“As far as the current leadership of Georgia is concerned, assessment of the Russian Federation are well known: we hope that the day will come when the Georgian people elects leadership, which will take care of national interests of its state, instead of [taking care] of geopolitical games and a leader, who will take care of relations with neighbors, who will know how to build relations with the neighbors based on mutual respect and equality and who will know taking into consideration interests of all the peoples living in the region,” Lavrov said.
30 Dec. '10 Oppositionelle Georgian Party weist Vorwürfe zurück, dass Erosi Kitsmarishvili daran beteiligt gewesen sei, auf Maestro TV Druck ausgeübt zu haben
28 Dec. '10 Tbilisi verurteilt Khodorkovsky-Urteilsspruch
27 Dec. '10 Burjanadze und Gachechiladze im Streit
27 Dec. '10 Präsident Saakashvili sagt, Russland könnte auf ‘politischen Terror’ in Georgien zurückgreifen
26 Dec. '10 Präsident Saakashvili dankt dem Vatikan für die 'standhafte Unterstützung'
25 Dec. '10 Bruttoinlandsprodukt wächst im 3.Quartal auf 6.7% im Jahresvergleich
25 Dec. '10 Maestro TV nimmt die Ausstrahlung wieder auf
24 Dec. '10 Präsident Saakashvili zu Geschäftsleuten: 'Öffnet eure Augen und investiert in Swanetien'
24 Dec. '10 Vorsitzender des nationalen Sicherheitsrates Giga Bokeria: Tbilisi beunruhigt über die Situation in Weißrussland
24 Dec. '10 Vorsitzender des nationalen Sicherheitsrates Giga Bokeria trifft den Parteivorsitzenden der Christdemokraten Giorgi Targamadze
24 Dec. '10 Maestro TV setzt Ausstrahlung vorübergehend aus wegen 'technischer Probleme'
23 Dec. '10 Nino Burjanadze trifft russischen Patriarch
23 Dec. '10 US-Botschafter John Bass sagt über georgische Medien, dass es zu wenig investigativen Journalismus gebe
John Bass, the U.S. ambassador in Tbilisi, said Georgian media lacked investigative journalism about government’s activities that over time could be damaging for democracy development.
“I think the state of media in Georgia is, what I would call, work in progress, where there is clearly wide range of viewpoints available for the public, but not necessarily an objective approach to the variety of issues or a range of opinions being expressed on specific channels or shows,” the U.S. ambassador said.
“I think there is a lack of investigative journalism about the activities of government and about the intersection of government and business in this country that over time could be corrosive to the development of the democratic society. That is something we will continue to work on,” he said and added, that the U.S. would continue its assistance in development of free media as part of the efforts to help strengthen Georgia’s democracy.
The U.S. ambassador made the remarks in the town of Gori on December 22 after visiting a local TV station Trialeti, which has accused the authorities for number of times this year of exerting pressure on its management and journalists.
Ambassador Bass said that he had heard concerns expressed by Trialeti TV journalists about pressure they were experiencing when trying to ask hard questions and when focusing on issue that the authorities were not particularly pleased to be aired.
“Those depictions concern me and I’ll be looking into those allegations and talking with authorities about how to improve environment and climate for journalists working in Georgia,” the U.S. ambassador said.
While investigative reports, mainly produced by independent studios funded by foreign donor organizations, are aired on Tbilisi-based Maestro and sometimes on Kavkasia television stations, the nation-wide broadcasters, including the Georgian Public Broadcaster, have no investigative pieces in their programming.
Gia Chanturia, the general director of the public broadcaster, pledged when he was running for the post in August, 2009 to launch investigative reports – the promise, which has not yet been delivered.
23 Dec. '10 Freispruchrate bei 0.04% am Stadtgericht in Tbilisi
22 Dec. '10 Kokoity schließt dritte Regierungszeit aus
22 Dec. '10 Zentralbank Keeps hält Leitzins unverändert bei 7.5%
21 Dec. '10 Hunderte intern Vertriebener protestieren gegen die bevorstehende Zwangsräumung aus über einem Dutzend Gebäude in Tbilisi
Intern Vertriebene hatten 25 Gebäude in Tbilisi besetzt ohne die Zustimmung der Regierung. Sie sollen in der Samegrelo oder Kakheti Region wieder angesiedelt werden.
21 Dec. '10 Premierminister Putin trifft Burjanadze und Nogaideli
21 Dec. '10 Präsident Saakashvili gratuliert Präsident Lukashenko zur Wiederwahl
21 Dec. '10 Georgien reagiert vorsichtig auf die Wahlen in Weißrussland
21 Dec. '10 Präsident Lukashenko zu den Beziehungen mit Georgien
20 Dec. '10 Georgian Post Bid Deadline Extended
20 Dec. '10 Tbilisi ‘beobachtet genau’ die Wahlen in Weißrussland
20 Dec. '10 PACE-Beobachtungsausschussvorsitzender Dick Marty wird Moskau und Tbilisi besuchen bezüglich Augustkrieg 2008
19 Dec. '10 Burjanadze und Nogaideli sind in Moskau
18 Dec. '10 Präsident Saakashvili: 'Inflation wird sich verstärken'; verantwortlich seien steigende Benzin- und Nahrungsmittelpreise auf dem Weltmarkt
17 Dec. '10 Patriarch Ilia II verurteilt die TV-Show "Dialog mit Davit Paichadze" als "mehr als schlecht" und "antinational"
In der Show waren u.a. Beka Mindiashvili, ein religiöser Aktivist und ausgesprochener Kritiker dessen, was er "Obskurität" in der georgisch-orthodoxen Kirche nennt, und Giga Zedania, ein Professor der Philosophie an der Ilia Staatsuniversität, der allgemein über die Beziehungen zwischen Kirche und Staat sprache. Anlass war ein im Internet veröffentlichtes und diskutiertes Papier über die nächste Kirchensynode.
17 Dec. '10 Parlament bestätigt Staatshaushalt für 2011
17 Dec. '10 Russisches Außenministerium: Tbilisi 'nicht konstruktiv' bei Genfer Gesprächen
17 Dec. '10 Tbilisi 'enttäuscht' von der 13.Runde der Genfer Gespräche
17 Dec. '10 Georgien plant Botschaften in Sudafrika, Südkorea und Singapur
17 Dec. '10 Zweite Lesung des Gesetzesentwurfs für Eigentümerschaft an Medien aufgeschoben
16 Dec. '10 Russ. Geheimdienst FSB: Tbilisi zielt darauf ab, die Olypischen Winterspiele in Sotschi durchkreuzen
16 Dec. '10 Tbilisi fragt Moskau an, bei der Verhaftung und Vernehmung von zwei georgischen und einem russischen Bürger zu helfen, welche von Tbilisi der Organisation der Anschläge in Georgien zwischen September und November verdächtig werden
Georgia requested Moscow to help in detention and interrogation of two Georgian and one Russian citizen, which Tbilisi suspects of organizing blasts in Georgia between September and November.
“In particular we are requesting them to help us in detention of two citizens of Georgia, who are currently on the territory of Abkhazia, as well as to detain accused [Yevgeny] Borisov and to interrogate them in presence of the Georgian law enforcement officers,” Nino Kalandadze, the Georgian deputy foreign minister, said on December 16.
Alleged perpetrators behind the blasts, according to the Georgian Interior Ministry, acted under the instructions of Russian military officer, serving in Abkhazia, Yevgeny Borisov.
Kalandadze said that Georgia passed a note to Switzerland requesting to solicit for contacts with the Russian prosecutor’s office. She said that Georgia had also handed over all the materials of the case to Switzerland.
Switzerland represents Russia's diplomatic interests in Georgia and Georgia's interests in Russia after the two countries cut diplomatic ties following the August, 2008 war.
“Despite tense relations between us, Russia’s involvement in the investigation will be extremely important, since the case involves a very grave crime, it has been qualified as a terrorist act; hence it represents a threat not only for Georgia, but also for the entire world,” Kalandadze said.
On December 9, two days after Georgia announced about arrest of six suspects behind the blasts, the Russian Foreign Ministry said that the explosions were “provocation” and “show”, demonstrating “unprofessional work of the Georgian special services.”
16 Dec. '10 Stellvertretender Premierminister: Tbilisi möchte eine verstärkte Militärkooperation mit den USA
15 Dec. '10 Parliamentarischer Ausschuss umbenannt, um sich auf Kaukasusfragen zu konzentrieren
15 Dec. '10 Korrigierte Version eines Gesetzes, das Steuererhöhungen an ein Referendum bundet, verabschiedet
15 Dec. '10 Steuerbefreiung für Exportgeschäfte von IT-Firmen per Gesetz verabschiedet
15 Dec. '10 Civil Georgia im Gespräch mit den drei Beisitzern der Genfer Gespräche: 'Neuer Kontext' für Genfer Gespräche
    * 'Non-Use of force pledge in package with int'l security guarantees';
    * 'We can cautiously be optimistic';
    * 'Flexible informal framework';
    * 'Optimistic about OSCE mission’s return in the long run';
Georgia's unilateral declaration on non-use of force creates "new context", which can serve to further progress in Geneva Discussions, co-chairs of the talks, launched two months after the August war, say.
The three co-chairs of the Geneva discussions, Pierre Morel of EU, Antti Turunen of UN and Bolat Nurgaliyev, the special envoy of outgoing Kazakh OSCE chairmanship, spoke on December 7 with Civil.ge about the implications non-use of force pledge may have on the Geneva discussions, as well as about the prospects of restoration of OSCE mission in Georgia.
The diplomats were in Tbilisi after talks in Moscow and also visited Tskhinvali and Sokhumi in run up to fourteenth round of Geneva talks planned for December 16.
The following is a transcript of the interview:
Q.: President Saakashvili made unilateral pledge on non-use of force on November 23, later reiterated at the OSCE Astana summit. It was then followed by response from Tskhinvali, Sokhumi and Moscow. This has long been one of the key issues in Geneva Discussions with the participants failing to achieve an agreement. What practical meaning this declaration may have on talks in Geneva and do you think it may be the sign of any breakthrough?
Pierre Morel: We have taken note and we are not making statement speaking of a breakthrough. But what is clear is that it is the main subject on which we've been working for this year. We had plenty of other subjects, but this question of non-use of force and international security arrangements has been the matter we have tried to work very methodically - reviewing different options, getting proposals, comparing proposals, seeing the pros and cons of different formulas. So, we think that this work in Geneva, however modest, has helped to clarify ideas and has led participants [of the Geneva Discussions] to take the initiative, and indeed the statement by President Saakashvili is an important initiative. It is interesting to see that it led the other participants [of the Geneva Discussions] to react positively and we have now an expanded base for our work. Of course, all this is taking place just few days before the Geneva session, and this will be very much in the center of the next session.
Q.: If there is an agreement between the participants on this issue, it seems that one of the major controversies in the Geneva discussions will be removed.      
Pierre Morel: Yes, but we've learnt to be careful. It is very clear that there are different types, modalities of statement and declaration. Therefore, you have different approaches to the statement on non-use of force. We have to be precise and to see where there is convergence and where there is divergence. This is part of our work and we must progress on this important subject in full clarity.
All the elements of the text of the statement of President Saakashvili are not exactly the way they might have been expected from other participants. But we have clear points of legal nature in this pledge. This is very important: I mean this is connected to international law, and now, in a written form. The modalities of the statement of President Saakashvili will be a matter of discussion, no doubt.
One year ago, this kind of approach was considered by some as just impossible; now we have moved. I also need to recall that, for some participants, the initial line was to say that there is a need for an agreement and that a statement was not enough; but it was also recognized by them that a statement would be a good start. That's where we have to do our further work. Frankly, we have been confronted with a lot of skepticism on this subject; some would say one year ago that we were embarking into some kind of philosophical consideration; no, we have tried to pin down what were the possibilities, the limitations, the opportunities, and we have been working with all the options. This is the approach of the Geneva Discussions.
‘We Can Cautiously Be Optimistic’
Antti Turunen: With his [President Saakashvili's] statement and inputs from Sukhumi and Tskhinvali we now have the material and we can say that the process is [moving] in right direction with this material we have and we can cautiously be optimistic. There is a feeling, that all the participants agree now that the Geneva Discussions are the right format and it's the only format where these issues are discussed. In that sense we have achieved a lot and secondly we have also achieved the full functioning of the IPRM [Incident Prevention and Response Mechanism] - both of these mechanisms, not only the Gali mechanism [referring to regular meetings held in Gali, breakaway Abkhazia], but also the Ergneti mechanism [referring to regular meetings in frames of IPRM held in a village on the administrative border of breakaway South Ossetia] - are positive steps forward.
I think we have all chances and also challenges to take the next step forward and try to formulate something, which is common, not only individual statements.
Q.: Mr. Morel said, while speaking about President Saakashvili's declaration, that it might not be what others expected; it seems there are still disagreements about the form of this non-use of force declaration. One of the recent proposals put forth by Russia was, that if the parties fail to agree on signing a legally binding agreements on non-use of force, then let them separately make unilateral, individual declarations on non-use of force. Georgia's unilateral declaration is very much similar to what Russia has been proposing...
Pierre Morel: Yes, indeed. We have said that we have had different proposals; this was the base of the work of the co-chairs. Indeed, it can be the first step, and some also would argue that it should lead to an agreement - but an agreement between whom and whom and a statement from which participant of the discussions? So we have clearly taken a new step; we must assess where we are and, once again, [assess] what is now possible.
Last year, the participants in Geneva [Discussions] were discussing ideas, launching proposals and counter-proposals... One year later, after this useful work, we have statements, including the formal one made by Georgian head of state in a prestigious place [European Parliament], confirming to major international interlocutors his position; we have Foreign Ministry reaction in Russia; we have inputs from Sukhumi and from Tskhinvali; so we have now a new context. This deserves further analysis.
Q.: Judging from the Russian leadership's statements, Moscow is not going to make any such declaration on non-use of force as it considers itself a mediator and not a party into the conflict. Is this one of the reasons of your cautious stance?
Pierre Morel: This is a matter of discussion already [since] the last year. We continue to look after this dimension. We were discussing that in a context of drafts put on table between the participants; now we have new developments, which have taken place on the international level with the legal dimension. So let's reconsider this point further.
Antti Turunen: Both the substance and the format - everything is to be discussed; the format [is] also including possible guarantees of international security arrangements - all this is part of the package. We are just approaching this with cautious steps, and let's see how it functions.
'Non-Use of Force Pledge and Int'l Security Guarantees Should Go Hand in Hand'
Q.: You mentioned international security guarantees. The document, which the co-chairs have developed known as "basic elements of a framework for an agreement on the non-use of force and international security arrangements", is this something in which you tried to combine the key positions of the participants - on the one hand calls for non-use of force and on the other - Tbilisi's insistence on creating international security guarantees in the breakaway regions?
Pierre Morel: This is how you start; when you have different points of view and you have people seating around the table, looking for means to improve security - let's identify all the options; so, you first have to do a checklist in order to review all the dimensions. In this deepening of the discussion, we have stressed, again and again, with all the participants, that if you want to work on non-use of force, you have also to work on the international security arrangements, which are connected with non-use of force.
Non-use of force is not the kind of concept which is floating in the air. This is something related to concrete situations, which implies rules of behavior and guarantees and consequences on the ground. Otherwise, why should one enter into this complex exercise? This is meant to improve real security; therefore, as soon as you begin to work on this legal and commitment dimensions, you must look at the guarantees and modalities.
So we have always spoken of "non-use of force and international security arrangements". If partners, interlocutors are ready to commit themselves, they also look into the modalities in which this can be secured and can be prevented from non-compliance or failure.
Q.: So these two – non-use of force and international security guarantees - go hand in hand.
Pierre Morel: Yes, exactly.
‘Flexible Informal Framework’
Q.: Who are the mediators in the Geneva discussions?           
Pierre Morel: Well, let's not be trapped by the words, this would be my first reaction.
As you know, the Geneva discussions started on October 15, 2008 - two months after the war. That was part of August 12 agreement and complementary arrangements of September 8. We started from scratch in the sense that Georgia has withdrawn from the former Moscow and Sochi agreements; therefore, we had no real precedents. We started in a new context and we had therefore to elaborate our framework. Thus, we shaped this formula of co-chairs, which is linking the three organizations [UN, OSCE, EU]. Since the start, we have been working the same way, shaping further our system.
As a part of this mission, we have paid regular visits to all participants, and you can call this a mediation role. But, usually, when you look at international norms, it is done within certain rules or under the aegis of one organization or with a formal agreement between the different parties to the conflict. We have not gone through too many procedural steps. We've had guidelines, and our mandate is based on the August 12 agreement. With the consent of all the participants in this rather flexible informal framework of the Geneva Discussions, we have tried to push as far as possible the work. There are about 60 people meeting every two months. Work is going on between the sessions, we do not stop [between them], this is our rule as co-chairs; our respective teams are constantly involved and this is what we have elaborated.
We will not put ourselves into some kind of specific category, because we keep this informal character; it's called Geneva Discussions, it's not negotiations. So in that respect, I understand your need to qualify things more precisely...
Q.: I'm asking this because Russian Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov, said just recently "Russia, US, EU, OSCE and UN act there as mediators"...
Pierre Morel: We would not enter into this kind of characterization. We start from what we have - the mission we have received - and we try to push it as far as possible.
Antti Turunen: This process itself hopefully will really create some kind of peace reconciliation, that's of course our dream and aim. But at the moment we try to do step-by-step, facilitating the discussions that we have in Geneva and it's the only forum for all the participants and it is important achievement in itself and now we are taking cautiously steps forward and hopefully we can keep making progress.
Pierre Morel: In other words, we do not have full-fledged, structured system from the beginning. It was rather specific base from which we try to extract the maximum. We have had some results already and some positive impacts on the ground, together with EUMM [EU Monitoring Mission in Georgia] and with the work we have been doing between the sessions; this represents certain dynamism, we are there to further the process, as far as we can.
‘Optimistic about OSCE mission’s return in the long run’
Q.: OSCE Summit in Astana adopted a Commemorative Declaration, but failed to adopt a comprehensive action plan with unresolved conflicts representing key stumbling block. Can you identify briefly what was the controversy particularly in respect of Georgia?
Bolat Nurgaliyev: The major controversies were around the status issue of the two entities - South Ossetia and Abkhazia. Insistence that the fragment on protected conflicts should be titled 'Conflict in Georgia' was not receiving consensus among the participating states; that prevented us from putting [that fragment] in the text; otherwise, other aspects [were] agreed including to proceed [with the work] within the framework of the Geneva International Discussions.     
But I have to remind that the concluding part of the Declaration contains instruction to the incoming chairmanship of the OSCE to proceed working on the Action Plan taking into consideration what has already been discussed during preparation of the summit, plus the proposals and specific ideas, which were put forward during the summit and in the speeches of heads of government and heads of state.
Q.: There have been calls by number of western leaders at the Astana summit for re-establishment of the OSCE mission in Georgia. The previous, OSCE Greek chairmanship in 2009, was putting forth proposal in this respect. What were the Kazakh chairmanship’s efforts in this regard, what kind of proposals, if any, have been discussed and do you foresee any progress in this regard?
Bolat Nurgaliyev: Of course we were very keen to ensure the continuity of the preceding efforts and we picked from where our Greek colleagues left that particular set of issues - it's not just one issue, it's also the essence of what the mission of the OSCE should be doing in the region.
We were trying to adjust ideas put forward by different participants. For example: something is not acceptable to all the sides, then what about this, what about that - and this took quite a long time, because [during] each occasion we had the request for timeout for consideration of fresh proposals.
But I think, more or less, the formula on which we will be proceeding to concentrate our efforts - Kazakhstan being the member of "OSCE Troika", will also be providing its own input, but now the leading role will be passed to the Lithuanian chairmanship - this way or other way, I am pretty optimistic that we will have an OSCE presence. But, of course, that will need further tries and in the long run I am sure that we will restore a meaningful and useful presence of the OSCE, which will continue to play its role in the Geneva International Discussions, as well as its engagement in implementation of specific projects, which were discussed yesterday here in Tbilisi and today in Tskhinvali.
Q.: You said you are optimistic about restoration of OSCE presence in Georgia; what is this optimism based on?
Bolat Nurgaliyev:  I've never heard that there is no need for that [mission in Georgia] and the acceptance of the projects that we are discussing, which have a direct bearing on everyday life of population of the region is the proof that we will be definitely having a field mission. But how it is going to be, on what footing - that is subject of further deliberation; the matter in principle is accepted; the devil is in details, but these details, I am sure, will be worked out.
Q.: There have been talks on launch of EU-funded and OSCE-implemented rehabilitation project in breakaway South Ossetia [if launched it will be the first of this kind since the August, 2008 war], involving repair works on Zonkari dam. Are there any tangible signs that this project will be launched?
Bolat Nurgaliyev: Yes, we strongly hope that it's going to be this way, because there were some technical issues, which we had to clear; we seem to have come to understanding. Money is there, the technical feasibility has been studied. Now it's a matter of signing the contract and starting actual work. We were insisting that it should start as soon as possible given the winter’s coming and if it is snowing, maybe, there will be a delay, but that will be a delay caused by force majeure.
14 Dec. '10 Abgeordnete ratifizieren Visaerleichterungen und ein Neuzulassungsabkommens zwischen der EU und Georgien
14 Dec. '10 Ausländische Direktinvestitionen um 7.3% zurückgegangen im 3.Quartalsjahresvergleich
14 Dec. '10 Russisches Außenministerium kritisiert den Resolutionsentwurf des US-Senat
Tbilisis Versuch, den Vorkriegszustand wiederherzustellen, sei "illusorisch". Moskau sei bereit, zu "gleichen und konstruktiven" Beziehungen zwischen "diesen Staaten" beizutragen, einschließlich dazu beizutragen, ein Gewaltverzichtsabkommen unter ihnen zu unterzeichnen.
A draft resolution, initiated in the U.S. Senate and calling for recognition of Abkhazia and South Ossetia as Georgia’s territories “occupied” by Russia, is “illogical”, the Russian Foreign Ministry said on December 13.
“We of course do not question the right of American lawmakers to give their own assessment to the situation in the region, but at the same time we have to note with regret, that the draft resolution, as well as positions of many members of the Congress ignores new reality, which has emerged after Saakashvili’s regime unleashed aggression in August, 2008,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
“As a result of these actions – few doubt that it was Tbilisi, which unleashed the aggression – independent states have emerged – Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Still considering them [Abkhazia and South Ossetia] as ‘regions of Georgia occupied by the Russian Federation’ is, to say the least, incorrect and illogical,” it said.
The Russian Foreign Ministry also said that Tbilisi’s attempts to restore pre-war status quo were “illusive.” It also said that Moscow was ready to contribute to building of “equal and constructive” relations between “these states”, including through signing between them a non-use of force agreements.
“We hope, that the American Senators will take into consideration these indisputable facts while assessing situation in Georgia and around Georgia,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said.
13 Dec. '10 Außenminister der EU und der 'östlichen Partner' treffen sich in Brüssel
“Die Minister betonten die Notwendigkeit, weitere Fortschritte zu machen, insbesondere bei Verhandlungen zu Assoziationsabkommen einschließlich von Freihandelszonen."
... Wikileaks: Nach der Aussage eines EU-Diplomaten betrachte Russland die Initiative "östliche Partnerschaft" als antirussisch. ...
13 Dec. '10 Bericht: Präsident Saakashvili untentschlossen bezüglich seiner Rolle nach der Präsidentschaft
13 Dec. '10 Abchasische lokale Wahlen für Februar festgesetzt
12 Dec. '10 WikiLeaks: 'Zurückgelassen mit keiner Option außer Russland'
EU-Diplomaten sagten 2009 zu dem US-Diplomaten Philipp Gordon, er solle Georgien drängen, mit den Abchasen zu arbeiten.
11 Dec. '10 Senator McCain ruft die Obama-Regierung dazu auf, dass die USA den Verkauf defensiver Waffen an Georgien wiederaufnehmen
Washington solle Radar-Frühwarnsysteme an Georgien liefern. Er rief in seiner rede zu einem "größeren Sinn für Realismus in der Betrachtung von Russland" auf.
U.S. Republican Sen. John McCain has again called on the Obama administration “to resume the sale of defensive arms to Georgia”, saying that Washington should at least provide Tbilisi with early warning radars.
“For two years, mostly out of deference to Russia, defensive arms sales have not been authorized for Georgia. This has to change. At a minimum we should provide Georgia with early warning radars and other basic capabilities to strengthen its defenses,” he told an audience at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies on December 10. U.S. Sen. John McCain Spoke at SAIS on December 10 - School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS)
Sen. McCain voiced the similar call in his opinion piece in the Washington Post in August, 2010.
McCain, who in the speech called for “greater sense of realism about Russia”, said that Washington needed to deal with Russia “more as the modest power it is, not the great power it once was.”
“What that means, in part, is being more assertive in the defense of our interests and values,” he continued. “For starters, we need to resume the sale of defensive arms to Georgia.”
“Our allies in central and eastern Europe view Georgia as a test case of whether the United States will stand by them or not. Russia views Georgia as a test case, too – of how much it can get away with in Georgia, and if there then elsewhere. It is the policy of our government to support Georgia’s aspiration to join NATO.
Sen. McCain’s remarks seem to reflect discussions, which apparently are still ongoing in Washington about the scope of military cooperation with Georgia. Earlier this month two classified diplomatic dispatches from series of leaked U.S. embassy cables gave a rare glimpse of such discussions.
According to other leaked cable, sent from U.S. embassy in Tbilisi in November 2009, Georgia’s Foreign Minister, Grigol Vashadze, allegedly termed the country’s problem related to procurement of arms as “silent embargo”.
11 Dec. '10 Entwurf einer Resolution zu Georgien im US-Senat initiiert:
Draft of Resolution on Georgia Initiated in U.S. Senate
Draft - S.RES.698
A resolution expressing the sense of the Senate with respect to the territorial integrity of Georgia and the situation within Georgia's internationally recognized borders
Whereas, since 1993, the territorial integrity of Georgia has been reaffirmed by the international community and 36 United Nations Security Council resolutions;
Whereas the Helsinki Final Act resulting from the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe in 1975 states that parties ‘‘shall regard as inviolable all one another’s frontiers’’ and that ‘‘participating States will likewise refrain from making each other’s territory the object of military occupation’’;
Whereas the United States-Georgia Strategic Charter, signed on January 9, 2009, underscores that ‘‘support for each other’s sovereignty, independence, territorial integrity and inviolability of borders constitutes the foundation of our bilateral relations’’;
Whereas, in October 2010, at the meeting of the United States-Georgia Charter on Strategic Partnership, Secretary of State Clinton stated, ‘‘The United States will not waiver in its support for Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity’’;
Whereas the White House released a fact sheet on July 24, 2010, calling for ‘‘Russia to end its occupation of the Georgian territories of Abkhazia and South Ossetia’’ and for ‘‘a return of international observers to the two occupied regions of Georgia’’;
Whereas Vice President Joseph Biden stated in Tbilisi in July 2009 that the United States ‘‘will not recognize Abkhazia and South Ossetia as independent states’’ and went on to ‘‘urge the world not to recognize [Abkhazia and South Ossetia] as independent states’’;
Whereas the August 2008 conflict between the Governments of Russia and Georgia resulted in civilian and military causalities, the violation of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Georgia, and large numbers of internally-displaced persons;
Whereas the August 12, 2008, ceasefire agreement, agreed to by the Governments of Russia and Georgia, provides that all Russian troops shall be withdrawn to pre-conflict positions;
Whereas the August 12, 2008, ceasefire agreement provides that free access shall be granted to organizations providing humanitarian assistance in regions affected by violence in August 2008;
Whereas the International Crisis Group concluded in its June 7, 2010, report on South Ossetia that ‘‘Moscow has not kept important ceasefire commitments and some 20,000 ethnic Georgians from the region remain forcibly displaced’’;
Whereas Human Rights Watch concluded in its World Report 2010 that ‘‘Russia continued to exercise effective control over South Ossetia and. . . Abkhazia, preventing international observers’ access and vetoing international missions working there’’;
Whereas, in October 2010, Russian troops withdrew from the small Georgian village of Perevi;
Whereas the withdrawal of Russian troops from Perevi is a positive step, but it does not constitute compliance with the terms of the August 2008 Russia-Georgia ceasefire agreement;
Whereas, on November 23, 2010, before the European Parliament, Georgian President Saakashvili committed Georgia to not use force to restore control over the Georgian territories of Abkhazia and South Ossetia;
Whereas Secretary of State Clinton stated in Tbilisi on July 5, 2010, ‘‘We continue to call for Russia to abide by the August 2008 cease-fire commitment. . . including ending the occupation and withdrawing Russian troops from South Ossetia and Abkhazia to their pre-conflict positions.’’;
Whereas the Russian Federation vetoed the extension of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) Mission to Georgia and the United Nations Observer Mission in Georgia, forcing the missions to withdraw from the regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia;
Whereas Russian troops stationed in the regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia continue to be present without a mandate from the United Nations or other multilateral organizations;
Whereas the Senate supports United States efforts to develop a productive relationship with the Russian Federation in areas of mutual interest, including non-proliferation and arms control, cooperation concerning the failure of the Government of Iran to meet its international obligations with regard to its nuclear programs, counter-terrorism, Afghanistan, anti-piracy, economics and trade, and others; and
Whereas the Senate agrees that these efforts must not compromise longstanding United States policy, principles of the Helsinki Final Act, and United States support for United States allies and partners worldwide: Now, therefore, be it
Resolved, That the Senate
(1) affirms that it is the policy of the United States to support the sovereignty, independence, and territorial integrity of Georgia and the inviolability of its borders and to recognize the areas of Abkhazia and South Ossetia as regions of Georgia occupied by the Russian Federation;
(2) calls upon the Government of Russia to take steps to fulfill all the terms and conditions of the 2008 ceasefire agreements, including returning military forces to pre-war positions and ensuring access to international humanitarian aid to all those affected by the conflict;
(3) urges the Government of Russia and the de facto authorities in the regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia to allow for the full and dignified return of internally-displaced persons and international observer missions to the territories of Abkhazia and
South Ossetia;
(4) supports constructive engagement and confidence-building measures between the Government of Georgia and the de facto authorities in the regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia; and
(5) affirms that the path to lasting stability in this region is through peaceful means and long-term diplomatic and political dialogue.
11 Dec. '10 'Resolution zur Okkupation' im US-Senat initiiert
Die demokratische Senatorin Jeanne Shaheen hat eine Resolution verfaßt, die Georgiens territoriale Integrität und die Anerkennung von Abchasien und Südossetien als von Russland besetzte Regionen unterstützt. Russland auch aufgerufen, das Waffenstillstandsabkommen von 2008 vollständig zu erfüllen.
Democratic U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen from New Hampshire has crafted a resolution supporting Georgia’s territorial integrity and recognizing Abkhazia and South Ossetia as regions “occupied by the Russian Federation”.
The draft titled “Expressing the sense of the Senate with respect to the territorial integrity of Georgia and the situation within Georgia’s internationally recognized borders” was referred to the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations on December 9, according to Sen. Shaheen’s website.
The Georgian authorities are actively lobbying for this type of resolution, that would refer to Abkhazia and South Ossetia as occupied regions, in Washington and other western capitals, describing the effort as part of “de-occupation policy”.
The draft resolution, which Tbilisi hopes will be passed sometime early next year, “affirms that it is the policy of the United States to support the sovereignty, independence, and territorial integrity of Georgia and the inviolability of its borders and to recognize the areas of Abkhazia and South Ossetia as regions of Georgia occupied by the Russian Federation.”
It also calls on Russia to fully comply with its 2008 ceasefire agreements and urges Moscow, Tskhinvali and Sokhumi “to allow for the full and dignified return of internally-displaced persons and international observer missions.”
The draft also “affirms that the path to lasting stability in this region is through peaceful means and long-term diplomatic and political dialogue.”
Georgia’s Deputy Prime Minister and State Minister for Euro-Atlantic Integration, Giorgi Baramidze, who is now visiting Washington, said that the document “can be called ‘a resolution on occupation’.”
“It will strengthen Georgia’s position in struggle for Georgia’s de-occupation,” Baramidze said.
Georgian Parliamentary Chairman, Davit Bakradze, said on December 10, that the resolution would be “the highest degree of guarantee, both from the political and legal point of view, that the policy and the position of the United States will be very clear-cut” in respect of Georgia and its occupied territories.
“[The resolution means] that this policy and position of the U.S. will be directed only towards de-occupation of Georgia, only towards maintaining Georgia’s territorial integrity and that this policy will not be changed in the future,” Bakradze said in televised remarks.
“Legislative bodies of many other countries will also pass resolution of this kind, which will of course put Russia into a very uncomfortable, morally and politically difficult situation,” MP Petre Tsiskarishvili, the parliamentary majority leader, said on December 10.
Sponsor of the resolution, Sen. Shaheen, together with Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham, is a co-chair of Georgia Task Force at the U.S. think-tank Atlantic Council. This bipartisan task force is expected to produce a report with recommendations for U.S. policy on Georgia.
On December 10 the Atlantic Council held an off-the-record roundtable discussion with Baramidze to discuss, during which he spoke of Georgia’s current priorities in NATO-Georgia relations.
Georgia’s NATO membership was one of the issues, which Baramidze was discussing in Washington.
“We should know the U.S. position on how Georgia can become NATO member. We have already heard from NATO for three times that Georgia will become NATO member and there is no question mark about it anymore. Now we need the U.S. administration’s very clear position” in respect of outlining the concrete steps on how to achieve this goal, Baramidze told Rustavi 2 TV on December 9.
11 Dec. '10 Präsident Medvedev nach GUS-Treffen: Georgien gewinnt nichts mit dem Verlassen der "Gemeinschaft unabhängiger Staaten" GUS/CIS
Nach dem georgischen Außenministerium sei Georgien nach dem Austritt aus der GUS am 19.08.2010 immer noch Teil von 75 multilateralen Abkommen, welche keine GUS-Mitgliedschaft voraussetzen, einschließlich von Abkommen über VISA-freies Reise und freien Handel mit den meisten Mitgliedsstaaten der GUS.
10 Dec. '10 Vorsitzender des nationalen Sicherheitsrates Giga Bokeria trifft Irakli Alasania
Irakli Alasania, leader of opposition Our Georgia-Free Democrats (OGFD) party, met with newly appointed secretary of National Security Council (NSC), Giga Bokeria, on December 10.
OGFD said its leader wanted to receive information about the government’s plans to address problems of residents living in the areas adjacent to breakaway South Ossetia’s administrative border.
Alasania visited some of those villages of the Shida Kartli region last week and criticized the authorities for paying no attention to the needs of local residents there, saying that because of government’s “irresponsible policy” those villages face the threat of being disserted.
In a letter sent to President Saakashvili on December 6, Alasania called on the authorities to allocate at least GEL 15 million to provide social assistance to the residents of about 80 villages during the winter period. Alasania also said in the same latter, that the President’s pledge two months ago to provide those villages with flour and firewood had not been delivered.
OGFD said that during the meeting Bokeria and Alasania also discussed country’s security-related issues.
10 Dec. '10 Acht neue Botschafter ernannt
The Parliament approved on December 10 Georgia’s new ambassadors to Azerbaijan, Switzerland, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia and Slovenia, Sweden, Egypt and Syria, as well as a representative to the Council of Europe.
Teimuraz Sharashenidze, who most recently served as Georgia’s consul to Istanbul, was approved as ambassador to Azerbaijan.
Georgia’s former ambassador in Baku served on the post only for two months before resigning in January, 2010 for the reasons, which have never been made public. In April, 2010 the Georgian Parliament approved on the ambassadorial post to Azerbaijan a ruling party lawmaker Irakli Kavtaradze, a deputy chairman of the parliamentary committee for foreign relations. He, however, has not taken the post; it was reported in the Georgian and Azerbaijani press that Baku refused to accept the Georgian ambassador-designate. But the official explanation by Tbilisi was that although MP Kavtaradze was approved on the post by the legislative body, later the decision was revised and decided to keep Kavtaradze in the Parliament.
In other changes in the diplomatic corps Zurab Tchiaberashvili, Georgia’s permanent representative to the Strasbourg-based Council of Europe (CoE), was replaced by his deputy Mamuka Zhgenti; Tchiaberashvili was approved as ambassador to Switzerland, replacing Giorgi Gorgiladze, who became Georgian ambassador to Portugal.
Georgian former ambassador to Poland Kote Kavtaradze became ambassador to Sweden. In Poland he was replaced by Nikoloz Nikolozishvili, former ambassador to Slovakia and Slovenia.
Former Georgian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Nalbandov was approved as an ambassador to Slovakia and Slovenia. It is not yet known, who will replace him on the post of deputy foreign minister.
Archil Dzuliashvili, who served as Georgia’s consul in Kuwait, Bahrain and Qatar, became Georgian ambassador to Egypt and Syria, replacing Gocha Japaridze, who served on this position since March 2009.
Earlier this week the Parliament also approved new ambassadors to Armenia, Mexico and Brazil.
10 Dec. '10 Russisches Außenministerium: Gewaltverzichtsversprechen 'schaffen eine neue Situation'
President Saakashvili’s non-use of force pledge, followed by similar commitments by Abkhaz and South Ossetian leaders, “create new situation in the region,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said on December 9.
The statement, which is about the upcoming fourteenth round of Geneva talks planned for December 16, also says that this issue of non-use of force pledges “will undoubtedly become main issue” discussed within the security working group in frames of the Geneva talks.
“It is planned to attentively study and discuss the approaches set out in the [non-use of force] statements and to consider the possibility of their legal reinforcement by the international community with the help of available instruments,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said.
“The Russian side is disposed to continue discussions at Geneva in a constructive spirit,” it said.
10 Dec. '10 EUMM äußert sich über den Weg, wie Informationen aus dem Mechanismus zur Krisenprävention weitergeleitet werden
EUMM sagt weiterhin, dass sie nicht in einer Position sei, die Beteiligung Russlands in den letzten Anschlägen zu bestätigen oder abzustreiten.
EU Monitoring Mission in Georgia (EUMM) said that “contrary to recent press reports” it was not in a position to confirm or deny the claims of Russian involvement in any of the explosions that occurred in Georgia in recent few months.
“The Mission has not conducted an investigation into these events as it is not in its mandate to do so,” EUMM said in a statement on December 9.
Georgia's evidence, through which Tbilisi claims that an Abkhazia-based Russian army officer was behind series of explosions and one failed blast attempt, include, among others, an inquiry made by Russian forces in Abkhazia via hotline asking EUMM about explosion, which never happened.
The Georgian Interior Ministry released an e-mail received from EUMM confirming to the ministry that it received such inquiry through a hotline from the Russian forces in Abkhazia. The Georgian Interior Ministry suggested that those who made the inquiry had prior knowledge that the blast was intended on a railway in western Georgia. Rustavi 2 TV’s December 7 report on the case said the e-mail from EUMM “confirms once again that implementation of the task [carrying out explosions] is under personal control of the Russian special services.”
“The Mission provided information from the log of the Incident Prevention and Response Mechanism (IPRM) hotline for 3 October to the Georgian Ministry of the Interior as part of the normal hotline procedure. Information from the hotline is available to all the participants. The hotline plays an important role in the sharing of information and de-escalating tensions,” the statement reads.
9 Dec. '10 Georgien im globalen Korruptionsbarometer
Dreiviertel der Befragten sagen, dass die Regierung Korruption "effektiv" oder "sehr effektive" bekämpfe und Korruption in den letzten drei Jahren "zurückging" oder "stark zurückging".
Georgia has the highest rate of respondents, among 86 countries, who say that their government’s efforts to fight corruption have been effective, according to a survey by Transparency International.
According  to  the  2010 Global  Corruption  Barometer,  which measures public perception of corruption in their respective countries, 77%  of  respondents  said that  the  Georgian  government  has  been  “effective”  or  “extremely  effective”  in  fighting corruption.
Opinion poll in Georgia was carried out in Tbilisi by GORBI in which 500 respondents were interviewed this June.
With  78%,  Georgia  has  by  far  the  highest  rate of people stating that corruption has  “decreased a  lot” or “decreased”  in  the past  three years, according to the survey.
According to the survey, the government is seen by 56%  of respondents as the most trusted institution to fight corruption in Georgia and only 2% named the media as  the most  trusted institution in this regard.
Political parties and the judiciary remain the institutions that are perceived as most corrupt with 2.9 points each on a scale from 1 to 5, wherein 1 is not corrupt and 5 – very corrupt; these two institutions are followed by public officials with 2.7 points; Parliament with 2.6 points; business and media with 2.4 points each.
The Georgian church, military and police are regarded as the least corrupt institutions with 1.4; 1.8 and 2.1 points, respectively, followed by NGOs with 2.2 points.
The 2010 Global Corruption Barometer surveys more than 91,000 people in 86 countries and territories. It focuses on petty bribery, perceptions of public institutions and views of whom people trust to combat corruption.
According to the survey, worldwide six out of 10 people say corruption has increased over the last three years and one in four people report paying bribes in the last year.
9 Dec. '10 Russisches Außenministerium nennt die Anschläge vor kurzem, die nach Tbilisi von einem russischen Armeeoffizier federführend gelenkt wurden, "Provokation" und "Show" der Regierung
The Russian Foreign Ministry said on December 9, that recent explosions in Georgia, which Tbilisi said were masterminded by a Russian army officer serving in Abkhazia, were “a provocation” and “show” staged by the Georgian authorities themselves.
“An ordinary show, staged by the authorities in Tbilisi could have caused a smile to sober minded people if not a report about the death of an elderly woman. First of all it indicates on unprofessional work of the Georgian special services,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said referring to an explosion on November 28 which killed a women in one of the central parts of Tbilisi.
“The world has got accustomed to reports coming from Tbilisi about ‘attempts of the Russian occupants’ to destabilize situation. These stories are becoming less and less credible.”
“But this latest fiction by Saakashvili’s regime has a special provocative pattern. An attempt to sow seeds of discord with our leading international partners can be traced in this recent case,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said, apparently referring to the fact that one of the explosions took place about 100 meters from the U.S. embassy in Tbilisi on September 22.
“It is obvious for us, that ahead of next round of the Geneva Discussions on Transcaucasus, President of Georgia wants to attract attention to himself as the leader of ‘the most democratic and successful state’ on the post-Soviet space, which is hindered by certain ‘evil forces’ in its further development,” it said.
The Russian Foreign Ministry was apparently referring to Saakashvili’s one of the public statements in which he said in early September, that Georgia had turned into “Russia's major competitor in the post-Soviet space in terms of model of development; the major competitor in the sphere of ideology.”
The Georgian Interior Ministry said on December 7, that it arrested six people in connection to five blasts in Tbilisi and one failed attempt of explosion in western Georgia. It said that key suspects were acting under the instructions of a Russian military officer serving in breakaway Abkhazia.
9 Dec. '10 Präsident Saakashvili spricht über Abchasien in der UN-Klimakonferenz in Cancun
President Saakashvili told the climate conference in Cancun, Mexico that in “occupied region of Abkhazia the Black Sea coast has been experiencing abrasion due to the devastating practices of the occupying power and its proxy regime.”
“Their mining of inert materials from the Gumista River construction projects related to the Sochi Olympics has resulted in landslides and degradation of the microclimate,” he said while addressing the conference.
“Their illegal search for oil in the Black Sea, in the territorial waters of Georgia, is done in a total blackout, without any legitimate authority being able to check the impact on the environment,” Saakashvili continued. “This is extremely alarming. What is most unfortunate is that we are unable to halt these disturbing practices due to the ongoing occupation and the violation of all cease-fire agreements.”
He also told the conference, that the global warming was “a challenge for humankind”.
“Our overarching goal in Georgia is to show that lowering our consumption of fossil fuels can help us increase growth-and can do so in a sustainable way,” Saakashvili said.
Remarks of H.E. President Mikheil Saakashvili:
16th Conference of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change
Cancun, Mexico
8 December 2010
 Excellencies, distinguished delegates, ladies and gentlemen,
Allow me to deliver my speech in Spanish, in honor of our Mexican hosts.
It is a great honor for me to be here at the Sixteenth Conference of the Parties of UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.
I will try to share with you Georgia's vision on how a little country like ours can be a laboratory for how to confront climate change and work on sustainable development.
But first, allow me to thank our Mexican hosts and all of you for the progress made during the conference.
There were fears that Cancun, after the disappointment of Copenhagen, would be a summit marked by little hope and low aspirations.
We must congratulate the Mexican Government, and in particular the President of the Conference, Ms. Patricia Espinosa, for their extraordinary work in rejuvenating these global climate talks. I also am very pleased by the appointment of Ms. Christiana Figueres as the Executive Secretary.
The conference, of course, is not over, but Cancun has the potential to mark a new beginning in our common pursuit of a low-carbon era.
We are near agreements on the REDD framework for compensating developing nations for preserving forests, as a well as on a "Green Fund" that will channel billions to poor nations to help them adapt to climate impacts, adopt low-carbon technology from developed countries, and convert to cleaner energy sources.
In a more ideal world, of course, the Copenhagen Accord would have been achieved last December and we would be gathering here in the aftermath of success.
As you know, Georgia is and remains a strong supporter of the Copenhagen Accord.
We believe that the time has past for a debate on whether the world needs to address climate change; the only question we now face is how to do so.
We also believe strongly that a low-carbon world not only benefits the environment, but also help decrease regional tensions.
After all, our country lies at a crossroads of global energy supplies, a region where oil and gas have helped fuel conflicts for more than a century. Building up local, renewable sources can help ensure that energy is not used as a political tool. Doing so in close cooperation with neighboring countries, as Georgia does, creates greater regional stability.
Immediately after Copenhagen, Georgia formally affiliated with the Copenhagen Accord and we fully support the implementation of its provisions. We also believe in the absolute necessity of continuing the UNFCCC process, and we're confident in a balanced outcome that reflects the guiding principle of common but differentiated responsibilities.
in addition to the question of CO2 emmisions it is time to start working and finding solutions for other environmental and sustainibility issues.
Although Georgia is a small country, we believe we can have a large impact, especially in our region-one that has suffered from environmental degradation, as well as oppression and instability.
Ecological concerns and policies are not reserved to big and wealthy members of the Northern World: transitional democracies, emerging countries, small republics can do their part. In fact, they should see the green ambition as the key for their development and their stability.
In the global fight against climate change, these countries have a critical role to play as laboratories for innovation-testing new ideas, setting ambitious targets, and serving as a model for others.
Our overarching goal in Georgia is to show that lowering our consumption of fossil fuels can help us increase growth-and can do so in a sustainable way.
We are bringing the same resolve to this initiative as we have brought to the reform of our economy, our institutions and our political sphere.
Georgia already has taken concrete steps in combating climate change. Tbilisi, our capital, has joined the "Covenant of Mayors Initiative of the European Union" to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 2020. It is the first capital of the region to join the initiative.
Perhaps most important, Georgia is making great strides in developing its renewable energy program.  We have established a friendly investment environment that has led to billions being poured into renewable energy sources, especially hydropower.  
As a result of our rapid progress, already more than 80 percent of the electricity production in Georgia comes from renewable sources. In fact, we are exporting renewable energy to our neighbors, and we will eventually transmit it through Turkey to the European Union. This will enable us to achieve our goal of establishing Georgia as the first large-scale renewable energy exporter to Europe.
Our renewable energy initiatives can be complemented by large-scale initiatives to grow our forests and advance carbon sequestration activities, both of which will need the support of the international community.
These programs could allow natural forests to constitute as much as 10 percent of Georgia's territory, offering significant economic and environment benefits. Efforts such as these also will lead to the rehabilitation of degraded soils and vegetation cover, the protection of watersheds, and greater local employment.
In addition to these evolutions, we are launching a program that will lead to a cleaner transport industry. And public institutions will play the role of example. Georgia's government will, starting from this year, replace official traditional cars by electric ones.
Ladies and gentlemen,
I cannot end my speech without noting that there are man-made challenges to our climate that would be easy to stop and that we must not ignore. I have to point there to the tragic situation of Georgia's currently occupied region of Abkhazia, where the Black Sea coast has been experiencing abrasion due to the devastating practices of the occupying power and its proxy regime.
Their mining of inert materials from the Gumista River construction projects related to the Sochi Olympics has resulted in landslides and degradation of the microclimate.
Their illegal search for oil in the Blacksea, in the territorial waters of Georgia, is done in a total blackout, without any legitimate authority being able to check the impact on the environment. 
This is extremely alarming. What is most unfortunate is that we are unable to halt these disturbing practices due to the ongoing occupation and the violation of all cease-fire agreements.
Ladies and gentlemen-
Global warming is a challenge for humankind as a whole and requires a response from a united humankind.
We must act with resolve and determination, setting aside our short-term interests, our actual rivalries or tensions, and taking concrete actions for our long-term good, for the good of the generations to come.
Thank you.
8 Dec. '10 EU-Georgien-Gespräche in Brüssel
Es geht um die Durchführung des Nachbarschaftspolitikaktionsplanes und ein Gemeinschaftsabkommen.
8 Dec. '10 Tbilisi sagt, dass Beweise einen russischen Offizier mit den Explosionen in Tbilisi in Verbindung bringen
Ein in Abchasien stationierter russischer Armeeoffizier, Yevgeny Borisov, soll nach den Beweisen von Tbilisi hinter mehreren Explosionen und einem fehlgeschlagenen Anschlag stecken. Einer der Beweise neben anderen ist eine Anfrage der russischen Streitkräfte in Abchasien via Hotline an die EU-Beobachtermission über eine Explosion, die nie stattfand. Einer der ausführenden Täter habe den russischen Offizier offensichtlich belogen, dass die Bombe explodiert sei, aber die georgischen Medien darüber nicht berichtet hätten. ...
Das russische Verteidigungsministerium weist Tbilisis Behauptungen als "Märchengeschichten" zurück. ...
    * A source from Russian MoD rejected Tbilisi’s claims as 'fairy tales'
Georgia's evidence, through which Tbilisi claims that an Abkhazia-based Russian army officer was behind series of explosions and one failed blast attempt in recent few months, include, among others, an inquiry made by Russian forces in Abkhazia via hotline asking EU Monitoring Mission about explosion, which never happened.
The Georgian police arrested on December 4 a group of six people, four man and two women, in connection to five explosions in Tbilisi in a period between September and November. At least one arrested suspect, according to the police, is linked to a failed explosion on a railway bridge in western region of Samegrelo in early October. Georgia claimed that the group was acting under the instruction of a Russian military officer, Yevgeny Borisov, serving in the Russian troops in Abkhazia. Tbilisi, however, stopped short of directly accusing the Russian leadership of being behind the blasts and offered Moscow to cooperate in investigation.
 In a videotaped confession, released by the Interior Ministry, one of the key suspects, Gogita Arkania, says that he and one of his accomplices, Merab Kolbaia (he is now wanted by the Georgian police, which say that Kolbaia is hiding in Gali district of Abkhazia), placed an explosive on a railway bridge at the Chaladidi village of Khobi district on October 2.
But the explosive failed to detonate and, according to Arkania’s video testimony, Kolbaia had to lie to his handler, Russian officer, Yevgeny Borisov, that the bomb went off, but it was not reported by the Georgian media because the authorities imposed media blackout on the story, fearing that it could have overshadowed a visit of NATO Secretary General to Tbilisi a previous day on October 1.
The Interior Ministry also made public an e-mail received from EU Monitoring Mission in Georgia (EUMM) informing the ministry that on October 3 it was contacted via hotline by Lieut. Col. Aleksander Berchenko from the Russian forces stationed in breakaway Abkhazia asking about alleged train accident, which occurred on the Senaki-Poti section of the railway causing human casualties. A Russian contact on hotline, according to this e-mail, was citing information received from persons who were commuting across the administrative border. He also requested to pass on the Georgia side that the Russian side was ready to offer assistance. EUMM has confirmed to Civil.ge that it had received such inquiry.
Shota Utiashvili, head of the Georgian Interior Ministry’s information and analytical department, told Civil.ge on December 8, that the only way for the Russian army officer, Yevgeny Borisov, to obtain credible information about whether the explosion occurred or not was via hotline with EUMM. Utiashvili claims that since the explosion in fact never occurred, it seemed that those making inquiry to EUMM apparently knew in advance that the blast was intended.
The Georgian Interior Ministry also said that key suspects communicated with their Russian handler before and after every explosion in person or by phone, making calls on a mobile phone number registered with the Russian Defense Ministry.
Although Russia made no official public statement about the allegations, the Russian daily, Kommersant, reported on December 8 quoting unnamed source from the Russian Ministry of Defense, saying that it was Tbilisi’s “yet another poorly planned and poorly staged provocation.”
“The Georgian leadership is acting very clumsily. More creativity is needed, than just these fairy tales about mobile phone numbers registered with the Russian Ministry of Defense,” the source was quoted.
The Kommersant also reported, that a source from the Russian Foreign Ministry suggested Georgia’s this recent allegation was aimed to coincide with EU-Russia high-level summit in Brussels on December 7.
When Georgia announced in early November about uncovering of an alleged Russian military intelligence’s spy network in Georgia, Moscow said it a provocation, which aimed at attracting international attention in lead up to NATO Lisbon and OSCE Astana summits.
Meanwhile, Shalva Natelashvili, leader of opposition Labor Party, whose party’s office was damaged in one of the explosions in Tbilisi in November, said that he “declares distrust” to the version announced by the Georgian authorities and blamed President Saakashvili of masterminding the blasts. A woman was killed in explosion outside the Labor Party office in Tbilisi overnight on November 28.
8 Dec. '10 Moskau begrüßt die Gewaltverzichtsversprechen von Tskhinvali und Sokhumi
7 Dec. '10 Gesetzesentwurf für das Verbot von ausländischer Eigentümerschaft an Fernsehanstalten zugestimmt
7 Dec. '10 Botschafter für Armenien, Mexiko und Brasilien bestätigt
7 Dec. '10 Neuer Vorsitzender des parlamentarischen Kommitees für Menschenrechte ernannt: Lasha Tordia
7 Dec. '10 Präsident Saakashvili: 'Sehr schwerwiegende Terroranschläge verhindert'
“Diese Terroranschläge wurden im Voraus geplant und den Straftätern wurden Anweisungen und Sprengkörper gegeben. ... "
President Saakashvili said on December 7 that with the arrest of six suspects behind series of recent explosions in Georgia, the law enforcement agencies helped to prevent “serious terror attacks.”
“The Georgian police arrested a group [of people] suspected of dangerous crime, the group, which is accused of committing several very dangerous acts, in particular explosions at the Georgian railway, [explosion] in the vicinity of the U.S. embassy and outside one of the opposition party’s office, which led to death of a woman,” Saakashvili said in televised remarks before departure to Mexico.
“All the evidence available to our law enforcement agencies indicate that these people [perpetrators] were acting from the occupied territory,” he said.
The Georgian Interior Ministry said that the key suspect was acting under the instructions of a Russian military officer, serving in breakaway Abkhazia.
Georgian Deputy Interior Minister, Eka Zguladze, said that Georgia would like to cooperate with “any party”, including with Russia, in the process of investigation.
“We are ready to cooperate with any party and we hope that in case of a constructive approach by relevant Russian agencies we will be able to question others involved in the case,” Zguladze said.
President Saakashvili also said that evidence available for now, including explosive devices confiscated during searches at home of one of the suspects, indicated that “we have managed to prevent very serious terror attacks.”
“These terrorist acts were planned in advance and perpetrators were given both instructions and explosives… I want to thank our law enforcement agencies, our police and I want to call on them to further intensify their work,” Saakashvili said.
7 Dec. '10 Innenminister Merabishvili: 'Ernsthafte Bedrohung abgewendet'
Im Haus eines Verdächtigen fand die Polizei 13 weitere Sprengkörper und 9 Kanister, gefüllt mit Hexogen.
Vano Merabishvili, the Georgian interior minister, said the police “averted a serious threat” by arresting suspects behind series of recent explosions in Georgia.
He said that the group was planning to carry out more explosions as the police found explosive devices in one of the suspect’s house.
According to the Interior Ministry, police found “13 explosive devices, including 9 cans filled with hexogen, out of which four had nails inside and one contained bullets.”
7 Dec. '10 Georgien bringt die Explosionen in Tbilisi mit Russland in Verbindung; Verdächtige verhaftet
- ein Hauptverdächtiger handelte auf Anweisungen eines rusischen Offiziers
- Tbilisi bietet Moskau eine Zusammenarbeit bei der Untersuchung an
    * 'Key suspect acted under Russian officer’s instructions'
    * 'Tbilisi offers Moscow to cooperate in investigation'
Police arrested six persons suspected of being behind series of explosions in Tbilisi and in western region of the country in last few months, the Georgian Interior Ministry said.
Police said one of the key suspects was acting under the instructions of Abkhaz-based Russian military officer. The Interior Ministry said that the arrest were carried out on December 4.
Two explosions in separate locations of the capital city left one woman dead overnight on November 28.
The Interior Ministry said that the same group of suspects was behind the explosion close to the U.S. embassy in Tbilisi on September 22 and two explosions near Tbilisi Central Railway Station on October 21. The group, the ministry said, was behind a failed attempt of explosion at a railway bridge in Khobi district of western region of Samegrelo in October.
According to the Interior Ministry, one of the arrested persons, who is suspected of carrying out the explosions, is a resident of Gali district in breakaway Abkhazia Gogita Arkania.
Eka Zguladze, the Georgian deputy interior minister, who described the explosions as "terrorist acts", said that Arkania was recruited by a Russian military officer, Yevgeny Borisov, serving in breakaway Abkhazia and under the threat against his family forced Arkania to carry out series of explosions.
The ministry said that police found in a house of Arkania’s one of the suspected accomplices “13 explosive devices, including 9 cans filled with hexogen, out of which four had nails inside and one contained bullets.”
“In total, 10 kilograms of hexogen were found,” the Interior Ministry said.
It said that two suspects, wanted in connection to the same case, “are hiding in Russian occupied Gali district.”
“We are ready to cooperate with any party and we hope that in case of a constructive approach by relevant Russian agencies we will be able to question others involved in the case,” Eka Zguladze said.
Next day after the two blasts in Tbilisi, Davit Bakradze, the Georgian parliamentary chairman, said that the explosions were an attempt by external forces to portray Georgia as unstable state.
"There are forces outside the country [Georgia], which are interested in portraying Georgia as unstable state. These forces have nothing else left, except of this type of physical attacks. I want to disappoint them and say that they have less and less chances of doing that," Bakradze said on November 29.
7 Dec. '10 Tbilisi verurteilt das Smerch-Raketensystem Russlands in Südossetien
Das Außenministerium betont in seiner Erklärung, dass das Smerch-System mit einer maximalen Reichweite von 90 km eine offensive Waffe sei und unter die Begrenzungen falle, die durch das Abkommen über konventionelle Streitkräfte in Europa (CFE) falle. Russland hob seine Teilnahme an dem CEF-Abkommen 2007 auf. 
7 Dec. '10 Inflation im November auf 10.5% im Vergleich Jahr zu Jahr angestiegen
6 Dec. '10 Bagapsh und Kokoity bereit für Gewaltverzichtsversprechen
Sergey Bagapsh and Eduard Kokoity, leaders of breakaway Abkhazia and South Ossetia, respectively, said on December 6 that they were ready to commit themselves not to use force.
In what appears to be a coordinated move, both Bagapsh and Kokoity released separate statements on the matter, which are mainly similar to each other.
“I want to announce officially on behalf of the Republic of Abkhazia: in its relations with Georgia, Abkhazia is going to firmly adhere to the generally recognized principle of renouncing force and threat of force,” Bagapsh said.
“I, as the head of the Republic of South Ossetia, officially announce: our state will not use force against Georgia, its population, territories, armed forces,” Kokoity said.
Both of them say that they have no trust to President Saakashvili’s verbal statement made before the European Parliament unilaterally renouncing use of force and like Moscow called for a written, legally binding document.
Bagapsh said that Sokhumi was ready to accept Moscow’s proposal on unilateral declarations made separately by Tbilisi, Tskhinvali and Sokhumi.
Moscow itself refuses to make such a declaration on non-use of force, saying that it is not a party into conflict, which, it says, is only between Tbilisi and Sokhumi on the one hand and between Tbilisi and Tskhinvali on another.
The Georgian President said in his address to the OSCE summit in Astana on December 1 that he had already sent letters reflecting Georgia’s non-use of force pledge to the Secretary-General of the OSCE, UN and NATO, as well as the Presidents of the European Commission, the European Council and the United States.
It is likely that the issue will top the agenda of upcoming talks in Geneva, scheduled for December 16.
6 Dec. '10 Neuer stellvertretender Außenminisster ernannt: Nikoloz Vashakidze
6 Dec. '10 Präsident Saakashvili besucht Mexiko
5 Dec. '10 Vorsitzender des nationalen Sicherheitsrates Giga Bokeria nennt die Veröffentlichung von vertraulichen US-Depeschen durch WikiLeaks 'unverantwortlich'
4 Dec. '10 Präsident Saakashvili über 'Mängel' in den Beziehungen mit der Geschäftswelt
Der Staat habe immer noch viele Mängel, mit denen sich der "neue ökonomische Kurs" befasse, der darauf abzielt, dass kleine und mittlere Unternehmen gefördert werden.
President Saakashvili acknowledged on December 3 that the state still had “lots of shortcomings” in the relations with businesses, which, he said, would be addressed through “new economic course” aimed at boosting small and medium businesses.
“Although during recent years Georgia demonstrated an impressive progress in all kinds of ratings and in respect of its reputation in terms of improving business climate and combating corruption, a lot of shortcomings are still remaining in the relations between the state and the entrepreneurs; a lot of entrepreneurs … still have a feeling that they are not properly listened and are treated unfairly by the state; cases are still frequent, when the punishment is more severe than the violation deserves it,” Saakashvili said in live televised remarks at an opening of new customs clearing facility in outskirts of Tbilisi.  
“The entrepreneurs often fairly have a perception that the state does not do enough to make business environment better. That is why a lot of business people have lost the sense of stability... Hence, they do not re-invest in expanding their businesses; they do not create new jobs and many people, who could have launched business, do not do it, because, in their perception this is connected with humiliation,” he said.
Saakashvili’s remarks follow an address to the President by parliamentary minority leader, MP Giorgi Targamadze, who called on Saakashvili to stop “aggression” against small and medium businesses, which “are struggling for survival”, trying “to get rid of claws” of tax authorities.
In the same remarks, Saakashvili also said on December 3, that “we should awaken entrepreneurial spirit through fair economic environment”, which, he said, would help creation of “lots of small and medium businesses.”
“Today we announce a new economic course, which aims at overcoming the existing shortcomings and creating much better business environment in Georgia,” he said.
As part of this “new economic course”, President Saakashvili enlisted some of those measures, which are provisions of the new tax code, which will go into force from January, 2011.
According to the new tax code, a position of tax ombudsman will be created. PM will appoint ombudsman in agreement with Chairperson of the Parliament. Ombudsman will have to present an annual report on taxpayers’ rights to the parliamentary committee for finances and budget. The new tax code, which was not supported by the parliamentary minority saying that it failed to properly address entrepreneurs’ needs, also envisages principle of "good faith", wherein if proved that taxpayer acted in good faith and a wrongdoing is caused by an unintentional mistake rather than by intended attempt to evade taxes, a taxpayer will not be fined by the Finance Ministry’s council for adjudication of tax disputes.
Saakashvili also said that new customs clearance facilities with one-stop services would significantly reduce timeframe and cost of such procedures.
3 Dec. '10 Regierungspartei stimmt dem definitiven Verbot an ausländischer Eigentümerschaft an Fernsehanstalten zu
3 Dec. '10 US-Botschafter John Bass: 'Wir erfreuen uns der starken Beziehungen im Verteidigungssektor ... und arbeiten eng mit dem georgischen Verteidigungsministerium und anderen Ministerium an der Verbesserung der Verteidigungsfähigkeit.'
3 Dec. '10 USA schenken der georgischen Polizei 74 Geländewagen im Wert von 2.8 Mio USD
3 Dec. '10 Ungelöste Konflikte durchkreuzen die Annahme eines OSCE-Aktionsplans
Der zweitägige hochrangige OSCE-Gipfel endete ohne die Annahme eines umfassenden Aktionsplanes, um die Rolle der Organisation in der Verhinderung und Lösung von Konflikten, einschließlich wegen des Scheiterns in einer Formulierung in Bezug auf Georgien übereinzustimmern.
Two-day high-level OSCE summit, first of this kind since 1999, ended in Astana without adoption of a comprehensive action plan for strengthening the organization’s role in preventing and resolving conflicts, including because of a failure to agree on wording in respect of Georgia.
“We have offered Russia to find a compromise. But as we said earlier, we would not have allowed adoption of any document, action plan not reflecting objectively and in details Georgia, our territorial integrity, sovereignty and war in Georgia,” Grigol Vashadze, the Georgian foreign minister, said on December 3 and added that agreement became impossible between Russia and other OSCE participating states.
Sergi Kapanadze, head of the Georgian Foreign Ministry’s department for international organizations, said it became impossible to adopt the summit’s key document “because Russia was not ready to take a constructive step in respect of the conflicts.”
Sergey Lavrov, the Russian foreign minister, said on December 1, that Moscow would not have agreed on such a wording in the document, which made a reference to Georgia’s territorial integrity “in its previous borders”.
“An issue of ‘conflict in Georgia’ was voiced in the speeches of number of western delegations in such a context that as if South Ossetia and Abkhazia remain part of Georgia and as if there is a conflict between Moscow and Tbilisi. We have explained to our interlocutors… that we see no conflict between Russia and Georgia,” Lavrov said, referring to Moscow’s position, according to which it is not part of the conflict, which is only between Tbilisi and Sokhumi on the one hand and Tbilisi and Tskhinvali on the other.
The OSCE Astana summit adopted Commemorative Declaration, which reaffirms in general terms the organization’s existing values.
In his address to the summit on December 1, President Saakashvili called for “stronger, better and more resolute OSCE, one that does not shy away from tackling the real problems and serves as forum for dialogue between partners, between all the leaders at every level.”
In his speech he also reiterated readiness for a dialogue with Russia and also said that he had already sent letters reflecting Georgia’s non-use of force pledge to the Secretary-General of the OSCE, UN and NATO, as well as the Presidents of the European Commission, the European Council and the United States.
3 Dec. '10 Durchgesickerte US-Depeschen: Zwei Sichtweisen auf die  militärische Zusammenarbeit von USA und Georgien
2 Dec. '10 Portugiesischer Außenminister Luís Amado besucht Georgien
2 Dec. '10 Augustkrieg in den durchgesickerten US-Depeschen auf WikiLeaks
    * Cables from the U.S. embassy in Tbilisi;
    * 'Some Allies Parroting Russian Points';
    * NATO 'United in Principle, Split on Actions';
    * Armenia’s Muted 'Exasperation';
Leaked U.S. diplomatic cables, available at the moment, contain about 116 dispatches related to August, 2008 war in Georgia.
This bunch of cables involve at least 16 classified dispatches originating from the U.S. embassy in Tbilisi, others are from various European capitals and NATO headquarters, as well as from Moscow and few of them are from Yerevan and Baku.
The August war-related cables were first made available on a website of the Moscow-based magazine, Russian Reporter, which said it obtained the documents from WikiLeaks. Some of those August war-related cable, which were posted on the magazine’s website, later also appeared on WikiLeaks website itself.
Tbilisi cables detail the U.S. embassy's reporting of events from early hours of the war and its aftermath, while the cables from the European capitals reveal diplomatic wrangling within the NATO and EU over how to react on Georgia crisis and the cables from Yerevan are revealing Armenia’s muted frustration over, what it felt was, “undeserved cold shoulder” from Tbilisi.
Tbilisi Cables
The first dispatch from the U.S. embassy in Tbilisi, immediately after the launch of hostilities, available at the moment, is dated with August 7, 2008 in which then U.S. ambassador to Georgia, John Tefft, reports to Washington about the start of "intensive fighting" previous evening.
John Tefft, who is now ambassador to Ukraine, was in frequent contact with the senior Georgian officials, including President Saakashvili. He writes in the August 7 dispatch that he had been told by Grigol Vashadze, then Georgian deputy foreign minister and now the foreign minister, that "a full-scale South Ossetian attack" was underway against Georgian villages, which led to death of one Georgian peacekeeper.
In the same dispatch, the ambassador writes, citing OSCE monitors, which were on the ground in the conflict zone at the time, that Georgian forces with GRAD multiple rocket launchers were on the move, "either as part of a show of force or readiness, or both."
"Ambassador urged the [Georgian] Foreign Minister and the Deputy Minister of Defense to remain calm, not overreact, and to de-escalate the situation," the same cable reads.
The ambassador notes in the dispatch that the recent fighting was "atypical" as it did not stop by the daybreak, as it was usually the case.
"From evidence available to us it appears the South Ossetians started today's fighting. The Georgians are now reacting by calling up more forces and assessing their next move. It is unclear to the Georgians, and to us, what the Russian angle is and whether they are supporting the South Ossetians or actively trying to help control the situation," the cable reads.
According to the cable, at mid-day on August 7 the ambassador was told by Batu Kutelia, at the time deputy defense minister and after that Georgia's ambassador to the U.S., that although the Georgian troops were on higher alert, there was no intention to deploy them in response to recent attacks.
But the ambassador also reported in the same cable that the Georgian army's 4th brigade was "noticeably absent" from the training on August 7, which was carried out by the U.S. military instructors at the time. He also reported citing OSCE observers, that the Georgian troops were on the move on the main east-west highway in direction of Gori, a town close to the conflict zone and in addition the embassy observers noticed on the highway about 30 city buses carrying uniformed men heading from Tbilisi.
Next day, on August 8, the U.S. ambassador reported in Washington that he was told by President Saakashvili that the Georgian forces were in control of most of South Ossetia, including Tskhinvali with fighting continuing near Java in the north of breakaway region. At the time, according to the same cable, it still remained unclear for the embassy whether regular Russian army or "North Caucasian irregulars" were engaged in those fighting in the north of Tskhinvali.
The ambassador was also told by Saakashvili, according to the cable, that Tbilisi had no intention of getting into this fight, but was "provoked by the South Ossetians".
"All the evidence available to the country team supports Saakashvili's statement that this fight was not Georgia's original intention," Ambassador Tefft writes. "Key Georgian officials, who would have had responsibility for an attack on South Ossetia, have been on leave and the Georgians only began mobilizing August 7 once the attack was well underway."
This part of the cables was widely publicized in Georgia, including by the nationwide broadcasters as “yet another evidence" backing Georgia's version of events.
In the same cable, the ambassador writes, citing OSCE observers on the ground in Tskhinvali that Georgia's attack on Tskhinvali "began at 23:35 on August 7 despite the cease-fire declared at 19:00" by President Saakashvili. Georgia said it had to open fire after continues attacks on the Georgian villages during the cease-fire period, unilaterally announced by Tbilisi.
"During the night of August 8, four short range ballistic missiles were fired from within Russia toward Tskhinvali," the ambassador reported in the same cable.
He also wrote that most in the Georgian government believed the fighting had started as "a ploy of de facto [South Ossetian] leader [Eduard] Kokoity," but at the time President Saakashvili became concerned "that this might have been a Russian pretext and a further attack could be expected."
In a separate dispatch on the same day, the embassy reported that situation remained "dangerous; however, there is no indication or evidence that Tbilisi is under immediate threat."
Next morning, August 9, after overnight air strikes by Russia, Saakashvili told the ambassador by phone, that Russia was trying to take over Georgia and "install a new regime."
On August 10 Eka Tkeshelashvili, then Georgian foreign minister, briefed the diplomatic corps in Tbilisi that “Georgia has suffered huge casualties.” The U.S. embassy cable on August 10 says that Georgian forces have been pushed out of Tskhinvali and the conflict zone following a massive Russian attack.
On August 11 the ambassador was reporting to Washington that it was “increasingly difficult to get an accurate analysis of the military situation because of the fog of war and the fact that the Georgian command and control system has broken down.”
“Senior government officials sometimes give us different reports of military action,” the August 11 cable reads.
NATO ‘United in Principle, But Difficult to Agree on Action’
As the hostilities in Georgia were unfolding, several U.S. cables from Brussels show, Washington, backed with some Eastern European nations, was taking lead in securing “strong statement” by NATO’s top governing body, North Atlantic Council (NAC), condemning Russia’s actions in Georgia.
But those efforts, as seen from these cables, were met with opposition from Germany, described in one diplomatic dispatch from Brussels as “the standard bearer for pro-Russia camp.”
According to the cables, Germany was also lobbying for canceling already scheduled trip of North Atlantic Council to Georgia in September.
One cable said that deputy chief of Russian mission in NATO warned that NATO-Russia relationship would be "called into question" if the Alliance went ahead with this visit.
“As the crisis situation in Georgia unfolded on August 8, NATO Allies and the International Staff struggled with how to respond,” one cable from NATO headquarters reads. “Unfortunately, the crisis also revealed the continuing divisions within the Alliance on how to address Georgia's desire to join NATO's Membership Action Plan, with Germany and Norway arguing that the upcoming NAC trip should be reconsidered. On the other hand, Poland--a strong supporter of NATO MAP--had argued that the crisis only reinforced the need for the NAC to travel to the region.”
According to these cables, Paris was also against of NATO “becoming too prominent” in the crisis with one French diplomat, as quoted in one dispatch, saying that NATO’s August 8 public statement, calling on all sides to end violence, had been "enough of a NATO role for now."
By August 11 Germany the Netherlands, Spain, Italy, and Turkey seemed cautious about NAC trip to Georgia saying that it was too early at that stage to decide on the matter. Eventually it was decided to proceed with the visit, which took place on September 15.
On U.S.-proposed strong-worded statement on Russia’s actions in Georgia, NATO allies failed to reach a consensus. According to one cable from Brussels, although all the allies were unanimous in the need to immediate halt the hostilities, some argued that adopting highly-critical language against Russia was not the best way to do that.
“The Balts, the Czech Republic, Bulgaria, and the UK also wanted a strong statement. Germany countered, hoping for harmony between EU, OSCE and NATO messages and cautioning that any statement by the NAC should ‘help in defusing tensions.’ This German perspective was backed by France, Turkey, Greece, Luxembourg, Norway, Spain, Italy and Slovakia,” a cable from the Brussels reads, adding that France was also cautious as it thought that NATO statement could have undermined French attempts to negotiate a settlement in its capacity of EU Presidency.
One cable from Brussels, detailing NATO Political Committee meeting on August 11, described the situation as NATO being “united in principle, but difficult to agree on action.”
‘Some Allies Parroting Russian Points on Georgian Culpability’
According to these cables, some NATO allies’ reservations were triggered by doubts that it was Tbilisi, which started the recent hostilities.
The August 11 dispatch from NATO headquarters recommends Washington that “intelligence releasable to NATO Allies on this point might be a useful tool”.
“A number of Allies - especially Germany - are parroting Russian points on Georgian culpability for the crisis,” this cable reads.
Notion about Tbilisi’s culpability was so widespread that even some officials from Georgia’s strongest supports were privately questioning the Georgian authorities’ actions immediately before the launch of large-scale hostilities.
One cable from the U.S. embassy in Warsaw says that Poland took “surprisingly forceful leadership” in supporting Georgia. In a separate cable, detailing a meeting between U.S. diplomat and late chief of staff of the Polish Armed Forces, Gen. Franciszek Gagor, the latter is quoted as saying that Saakashvili made “an extremely bad decision to move into South Ossetia and played directly into Russia's hands.”
“Poland believes Saakashvili was manipulated by Russian agents - possibly even among his advisors – to open the door for military action in Georgia with the object of destabilizing the Georgian government,” Gen. Gagor, who died in Smolensk plane crash, suggested, according the cable.
Several cables show that the U.S. diplomats were advising Georgian authorities to launch “effective public diplomacy” to push for its version of events as “Europeans in some countries believe that Georgia had started the conflict, that the U.S. is to blame for encouraging Georgia.”
Armenia’s Muted 'Exasperation'
One cable from Yerevan details a conversation between Armenia’s Deputy Foreign Minister and U.S. charge d'affaires on August 11 in which the Armenian official asked for assistance in freeing cargo shipments, which he said, Georgian authorities were holding up. Armenia’s import largely depends on commodities shipped via Georgia.
According to this cable, the Armenian official suggested that Georgian authorities were holding cargo, destined for Armenia, for commandeering these kinds of critical staple goods for Georgian national needs during time of war. According to the cables from Yerevan, Armenia was also complaining about “enormous price increase” by two Georgian companies, providing shipment services to Armenia, few days before the war started (Armenian PM publicly spoke about price hikes and complained about it in June, 2009).
The issue was again raised by Yerevan on August 14, when the U.S. charge d’affaires was summoned by Armenian PM Tigran Sargsyan to express “urgent concern” about continued problems with shipments.
“The PM complained that while Georgian authorities denied clearance for critical goods already at the Georgia-Armenia border to enter Armenia once the conflict was underway, Georgian shipments to Azerbaijan continued without disruption,” the cable from the U.S. embassy in Yerevan reads.
The U.S. diplomat, according to the cable, responded that the first step toward resolving Armenia's supply problem was for the Russians to end their military activity in Georgia and urged Yerevan “to use its influence in that direction.”
The Armenian PM, according to the cable, also complained that Lado Gurgenidze, who at the time was Georgia’s PM, was “no longer taking my calls” and suggested that Georgia might be punishing Armenia for its close relations with Russia.
"We have not made this into a public issue," the Armenian PM was quoted in the cable, “because we are trying to protect the good relationship we have with Georgia.”
In a separate cable, detailing developments of August 15, the U.S. embassy in Yerevan was reporting to Washington that “top Armenian officials are growing increasingly offended by Georgians’ non-responsiveness to Armenian efforts to reach out.”
“The most discourteous, perhaps, was the Georgian FM's refusal even to meet FM Nalbandian for a few minutes in Yerevan airport, as she passed through en route overland to Georgia in the early morning of August 15,” the cable reads and adds that one the Armenian Foreign Minister even described Tbilisi’s stance as “hostile attitude.” He said that President Saakashvili had refused to return repeated calls from his Armenian counterpart and the Georgian PM had ignored calls from his Armenian counterpart.
According to the cable, the Armenian Foreign Minister told the U.S. diplomat that Yerevan was trying to help Georgia by taking in more than 4,000 refugees and offering to serve as a humanitarian corridor for international relief efforts.
"What more do they want from us?" the cable quoted Armenian Foreign Minister, saying the Armenian authorities were "avoiding any negative public statements about Georgia" and warned that were such a statement to be made, the reaction of ethnic Armenians in Javakheti region of Georgia would be “very dangerous” for Georgia.
“Despite the obvious threat behind his words, Nalbandian insisted that ‘this is not a card we could play’ with Georgia, but ‘just a reality’,” the cable reads.
According to the same cable, despite mounting exasperation expressed privately, the Armenian officials had kept their public statements about Georgia “determinedly positive”.
Armenian President, Serzh Sarkisyan, visited Georgia on September 30, 2008. During the visit the Georgian President thanked Yerevan for supporting Georgia’s territorial integrity and said that the two countries would boost economic cooperation.
2 Dec. '10 Großbritannien, Deutschland und Schweden rufen zu einer OSCE-Mission in Georgien auf
In thier speeches at the OSCE summit in Astana on December 1, British Deputy PM, German Chancellor and Swedish Foreign Minister called for restoration of OSCE mission in Georgia, which was closed down 18 months ago, after Russia vetoed extension of its mandate.
Similar call for restoration of the OSCE presence in Georgia was also voiced at the summit by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Reiterating Berlin's support to Georgia's territorial integrity, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said she was very much in favor of OSCE presence on the entire territory of Georgia.
British Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg told the summit that re-establishing of OSCE mission in Georgia "is a matter of urgency."
He also said that Russia "must meet its ceasefire commitments and withdraw its troops from Abkhazia and South Ossetia."
"The UK, like the vast majority of states represented here, unequivocally recognises Georgia’s territorial integrity and sovereignty within its internationally-recognised borders," he said and added that President Saakashvili's non-use of pledge was welcomed.
"Let us hope this encourages all parties to commit to a resolution by peaceful means," the British Deputy PM said.
Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt said at the summit that the international community should support efforts to reach peaceful settlement of conflict in Georgia, including through Geneva talks and restoration of "a meaningful OSCE presence on the ground. in all of Georgia." He also welcomed "public recommitment" by President Saakashvili that Georgia will not to use force to restore its territorial integrity.
1 Dec. '10 Präsident Saakashvili's Rede beim OSCE-Gipfel in Astana
President Saakashvili's Speech at the OSCE Summit in Astana
December 1, Astana
Thank you Mr. Chairman, distinguished heads of states and governments, ladies and gentlemen, allow me first of all to thank our Kazakh hosts, and you know, I have been in the city of Astana for the first time six years ago.
This very city is a great evidence of what leadership of personalities, what historic differences it can make. And I think it is very much attribute also to the great man Nursultan Nazarbayev with very rare vision about this city, about this country, about this region.
And I think it is a great example to follow for all the others also in this region. Our common mission at the summit is to agree on a set of concrete steps to make the OSCE a true security community one free of dividing lines, conflicts, spheres of influence, a community in which human rights are respected and people live in dignity.
We need a common vision for how to enforce the principles that define the OSCE, or how to foster a cooperation to quarrel rivalries and the strategy to help us overcome the danger of tensions and the so-called frozen conflicts that undermine the stability of our common area.
I am confident that we can make a substantial progress, but we cannot do it so if we ignore the difficulties we faced to overlook the progress or the result.
35 years ago the Helsinki Final Act marked a fundamental shift in the history of international relations by affirming a set of principles to bind the behaviors of states, this included the inviolability of borders, the peaceful settlement of disputes, the territorial integrity of states and respect for international law on human rights.
Unfortunately over three decades later these principles are still being violated within the OSCE area. 11 years ago at the last OSCE summit in Istanbul we witnessed the adoption of another set of fundamental principles, embodied in the Istanbul summit declaration and a charter for the European security. What a different time it has been, I remember President Yeltsin together with President Clinton sealing up of what was the end of Cold War in the OSCE area, on withdrawal troops, on arms control, the commitments that had to be complied with. If those commitments had been upheld, my country would have been liberated from the presence of foreign troops on her soil.
Unfortunately, the time has changed, the mood has changed and Russia [inaudible] on the obligations it undertook in Istanbul both with respect to Georgia and to other states. In fact contrary to the spirit of Istanbul, Russia has dramatically increased the size of its forces illegally stationed within our internationally recognized borders.
Today more than 12 000 heavily armed troops enforced the Russian occupation of 20 percent of Georgian territory, with tanks, with missiles, with heavy artillery, this is a blatant violation of the Helsinki principles, the Istanbul declaration, international law and August 12, 2008 ceasefire agreement brokered by the European Union. If we treat these principles as dead letter, our community is destined to die as well.
By contrast, if we commit to implementing than we can make progress towards being a real security community, one in which there is mutual sympathy, trust, and sense of common interests. These commitments have to be respected in all three dimensions, not only in political, military area.
We all agree today that the human dimension is a pre-requisite for comprehensive and indivisible security. But in our case the human dimension commitment have been violated as well. In 1994- 1996 the OSCE summits in Budapest and Lisbon condemned the ethnic cleansing in Georgia and called for the safe and dignified return of IDPs and refugees.
Yet the number of IDPs and refugees in a country of less than 5 million people continue to increase, climbing up to 500 000 after the ethnic cleansing campaign of 2008. Half a million souls are thus deprived of their most basic human rights because of their origins, their nationalities, ethnicities, their faith, their political views. Human rights continue to be violated on a daily basis in the occupied regions; the OSCE has reported on this many times throughout the last two years as you all know very well.
These facts, ladies and gentlemen, must not be ignored or overlooked, and previous OSCE agreements must be fulfilled. I came here with a message of hope and a profound commitment to helping lead positive change in our security community.
We came here to tell you that these tragic facts can be reversed, that they will be reversed and that our conflict with the Russian Federation can be resolved. The way forward is through a comprehensive dialogue, not permanent confrontation.
We rely on the power of words, not of bombs. On November 23rd, one week ago I made the solemn pledge in front of the European Parliament, that Georgia would never use force to restore its territorial integrity and sovereignty; that it will only resort to peaceful means in its quest for the de-occupation and the reunification of its territory. Even if the Russian Federation refuses to withdraw the occupational forces, even if less than 20% of original population remain in the occupied areas and 80% are held back to go back to their houses, even if its proxy militias multiply their human rights violations, Georgia will only retain the right to self-defense in case of new attacks and invasion of the Georgian territory that remains under control of the Georgian government.
We have made this pledge, because we believe that peace is the only way to achieve our legitimate and legal goals.
I have just sent letters formulizing Georgia's pledge to the Secretary-General of the OSCE, UN and NATO, as well as the Presidents of the European Commission, the European Council and the United States.
I came here animated by the same spirit, reiterating my call to the Russian leadership to engage in serious negotiations, to engage in dialogue rather than in polemics. Unfortunately, despite our numerous calls Russia has not agreed to any dialogue either bilaterally or within the framework of the OSCE.
Dialogue between Moscow and Tbilisi remains one of the stumbling blocks of the Astana declaration. Yet this organization is built upon dialogue and consensus.
Last summit 11 years ago we encountered serious difference and overcame the true dialogue. We must master the same resolve today because without dialogue we will never bridge our differences. I am committed without any reservations to engage in dialogue as soon as possible as to seek peaceful solutions of our conflicts.
Ladies and Gentlemen, we all want to forge a new common space free of dividing lines, spheres of influence and intentions we have inherited from the history. We all want to have a true, security community.
We need stronger, better and more resolute OSCE, one that does not shy away from tackling the real problems and serves as forum for dialogue between partners, between all the leaders at every level. There has been a lot of arguments around the OSCE, there has been an attack on ODIHR for instance in terms of election monitoring.
It is ups and downs, we also had our arguments with them but I always believe that OSCE presence on monitoring for democratic process, election process, the whole democratic dialogue is very helpful to any country, especially for those who are coming out from cold to another kind of policy and to another sphere. Indeed, our region has been changing.
No country of the OSCE but one as well as basically no other serious country in the world recognized occupation of our regions. The region has been changing itself; the country has become more independent, more self-reliant, speaking out with their voice.
Today I was speaking with Roza Otunbayeva, who is herself a symbol of changing Kyrgyzstan, but also lots of changes in this region. I think, this is the whole change of its democratization, better security and OSCE is a very important instrument.
It was like this in the seventies, when it was in much more difficult situation of the cold war and it remains the same in today's world if we use it properly.
We must not allow the past to undermine our future, the tools we have at our disposal are dialogue and consensus.
Georgia is committed to this path and I am confident that strengthened OSCE peace and cooperation will prevail in our region.
Thank you.
1 Dec. '10 Zentralbank: Inflation steigt bis zum Ende des Jahres auf 10.6% an, der höchste Wert seit 2007
1 Dec. '10 Präsident Saakashvili’s bilaterale Treffen beim OSCE-Gipfel
Er trifft auf den kirgisischen Präsidenten Ilham Aliyev und auf Roza Otunbayeva; weiterhin den Außenminister und die Vize-Präsidentin der Schweiz, sowie US-Außenministerin Hillary Clinton.
1 Dec. '10 Russ. Außenminister Lavrov über Moskaus’s Position in Sachen Georgien beim OSCE-Gipfel
Russland würde eine Abschlusserklärung nicht unterschreiben, wenn die Wendung "Konflikt in Georgien", wenn sie sich auf Abchasien und Südossetien als Teile von Georgiens bezieht.
1 Dec. '10 Oppositionspartei Christian-Democratic Movement (CDM) drängt Präsidenten Saakashvili, "die Politik ohne Feingefühl gegen kleinere und mittlere Geschäftsleute unzukehren"
1 Dec. '10 US-Außenministerin Clinton ruft für OSCE-Präsenz in Georgien auf
Sie ist für eine bedeutsame Wiederherstellung der OSCE-Präsenz in Georgien und rief auch alle Parteien auf, die Waffenstillstandsabkommen vom 20. August und 8.September vollständig zu beachten.
1 Dec. '10 Außenminister Vashadze über Tbilisi’s Position beim OSCE-Gipfel
"In der Abschlusserklärung sollte ein Bezug auf die wichtigsten internationalen Dokumente, solche wie die UN-Charta und die Schlussakte von Helsinki; sie sollte eine Forderung an Russland enthalten, das Waffenstillstandsabkommen vom 16. August zu erfüllen; ... territoriale Integrität, das Recht auf Rückkehr für georgische Bürger, die durch die russische Aggression zu Flüchtlingen wurden."
Georgian Foreign Minister, Grigol Vashadze, told Georgian journalists in Astana, which hosts OSCE summit, that Tbilisi would not support a final declaration of the summit if it failed to reflect Georgia’s interests.
“In the final document there should be a reference to the wichtigsten internationalen Dokumente, such as UN Charter, Helsinki Final Act; it should necessarily contain a demand to Russia to fully implement the August 12, 2008 ceasefire agreement; this document should also reflect, along with [Georgia’s] territorial integrity and Russia’s commitments, the right of return in safety and dignity of all those Georgian citizens, who, as a result of Russian aggression, have become refugees or internally displaced persons,” Vashadze said.
Georgian diplomats said “a very intensive and difficult” work was ongoing in Astana on the draft of final declaration of the summit - OSCE decision-making process requires the consensus of all 56 member states.
1 Dec. '10 OSCE-Gipfel in Astana
Unter den 38 beteiligten Staatsführern: der georgische and russische Präsident, Mikheil Saakashvili und Dmitri Medvedev.
Heads of state and high-level diplomats from the 56 OSCE member countries are gathered in Astana, Kazakhstan for a two-day summit, which is the first of this type since 1999 Istanbul summit.
The Astana Summit on December 1-2 brought together 38 heads of states and governments, and other senior officials – Georgian and Russian Presidents, Mikheil Saakashvili and Dmitri Medvedev, respectively, among them.
Georgian diplomats said “a very intensive and difficult” work was ongoing in Astana on the draft of final declaration of the summit - OSCE decision-making process requires the consensus of all 56 member states.
“It will be very difficult to reach a consensus, taking into consideration the fact that the country [Russia] with which we have tense relations is also an OSCE member. A very difficult work is underway in Astana right now on the draft of final document,” Nino Kalandadze, the Georgian deputy foreign minister, said in Tbilisi on November 30.
Grigol Vashadze, the Georgian foreign minister, told Georgian reporters in Astana, that Tbilisi would not support a text if it failed to reflect Georgia’s interests.
Meanwhile, in his speech at summit on Wednesday morning the French Prime Minister, François Fillon, reiterated support to Georgia’s territorial integrity and called “on the parties” to fully implement August 12 and September 8, 2008 ceasefire agreements.
“We salute the solemn undertaking given by the President of Georgia before the European Parliament to refrain from the use of force and we call on all the parties to accept this open hand,” the French PM said.
30 Nov. '10 Regierung plant die Ausweitung der 'Free Tourism Zone' von Kobuleti nach Anaklia
30 Nov. '10 Georgien in neuesten WikiLeaks-Veröffentlichungen
Aussage eines franz. Diplomaten über Russland und die abtünnignen Regionen Abchasien und Südossetien sowie eines chinesischen Diplomaten über Präsident Saakashvili.
Several latest releases of classified U.S. diplomatic cables, posted on WikiLeaks website on November 29, contains references to Georgia in particular during the U.S.-French strategic dialogue earlier this year, as well as one Chinese diplomat’s “unusually blunt language” while talking about President Saakashvili.
(Summary of documents in which Georgia is referred and which were released on November 28, is available on this link)
French Diplomat: Russia Will Never "Derecognize" Abkhazia, S.Ossetia
In Department of State’s secret readout of the U.S.-French Strategic Dialogue, held in January 2010 in Washington, a French diplomat is quoted speaking about how Georgia’s issue was impeding any potential progress over some issues in respect of relations with Russia.
According to this readout Jacques Audibert, director for strategic affairs, security and disarmament at the French Foreign Ministry, told U.S. Under Secretary of State William Burns and Defense Under Secretary Michele Flournoy, that Moscow-proposed treaties on European security architecture were “unacceptable” and “mere provocations”.
He, however, said Paris wanted to use these proposals by Moscow to engage with Russia on new approaches towards issues like crisis management and Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe.
But Audibert, according to the readout, said that these issues will continually be bogged down over the situation in Georgia, which he saw as “intractable as Russia will never ‘derecognize’ the sovereignty of Abkhazia and South Ossetia while also never recognizing Georgian sovereignty over its territory, including the two enclaves.”
Chinese Diplomat: Saakashvili "Not a Mature Statesman’
In a June, 2009 dispatch from the U.S. embassy in Kazakhstan, which details a conversation over dinner between U.S. ambassador in Astana Richard Hoagland and his Chinese counterpart Cheng Guoping, the latter is quoted saying that he thinks Russia will use force to overthrow President Saakashvili.
The cable describes the Chinese ambassador’s remarks about the Georgian President as “unusually blunt language” in which he said that Saakashvili "is not a mature statesman.” The Chinese ambassador is also quoted saying that Saakashvili “overreacted to Russian provocations and gave Russia the opportunity to take Abkhazia and South Ossetia."
“Clearly, Russia baited and cheated Georgia,” he was quoted.
Cheng Guoping, who was Chinese consular in Georgia in 1997-2001, also suggested in conversation with his U.S. counterpart, that former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's July 2008 trip to Georgia, before the August war, might have indirectly encouraged Saakashvili to take military action. According to the cable, Guoping said his understanding was that Saakashvili briefed Secretary Rice on his plans to mobilize Georgian armed forces and when she did not directly object, Saakashvili mistook that as a sign of U.S. support.
According to the same cable, the Chinese ambassador described Georgia’s ex-parliamentary speaker and leader of opposition Democratic Movement-United Georgia party, Nino Burjanadze, as “much more mature than Saakashvili”, who might become Georgia’s next President. Guoping, according to the cable, predicted last year that Saakashvili “won't stay long" as the President.
Cheng Guoping, who was Chinese ambassador to Kazakhstan in 2008-2009, is now an assistant to the Chinese Foreign Minister.
30 Nov. '10 Premierminister Bakradze verbindet Exlosion in Tbilisi mit 'außeren Kräften'
"Es gibt Kräfte außerhalb des Landes, die daran interessiert sind, dass Georgien als instabiler Staat porträtiert wird. ..."
Two blasts in Tbilisi overnight on November 28, which killed a woman, was an attempt by external forces to portray Georgia as unstable state, Davit Bakradze, the Georgian parliamentary speaker, said on Monday.
"There are forces outside the country [Georgia], which are interested in portraying Georgia as unstable state. These forces have nothing else left, except of this type of physical attacks. I want to disappoint them and say that they have less and less chances of doing that," Bakradze said while speaking at a session of the parliamentary bureau.
Police said on November 28 that same, unspecified explosive substance was used in two explosions in separate locations of Tbilisi - one took place in one of the central parts of the capital city, outside the opposition Labor Party's office and another one in the suburb, about hour and a half later, at 2:56am local time.
The Interior Ministry said that the case was investigated under the first part of 229 article of criminal code, which deals with cases of a deliberate act of explosion of gasoline, gas or other materials with a goal to damage property or to harm lives of others.
29 Nov. '10 Georgien auch in den geheimen US-Depeschen erwähnt, die in WikiLeaks veröffentlicht wurden
Georgia is mentioned in some of the classified U.S. diplomatic cables, obtained and made public by WikiLeaks website on November 28, showing the issue of Georgia raised in various contexts in meetings between the U.S. senior diplomats and officials with their European and Russian counterparts, as well as during the talks between Israeli and Russian officials.
WikiLeaks has so far revealed only small part of a quarter-million U.S. embassy dispatches from around the world, saying that cables “will be released in stages over the next few months.”
In the documents, available on the website at the moment, Georgia is mainly mentioned in dispatches originating from U.S. embassies in Moscow, Paris and Baku. It was reported in the Georgian media and blogosphere on November 29, that some leaked dispatches also originate from the U.S. embassy in Tbilisi dating from the August, 2008 war period. These dispatches, however, have not yet appeared on the WikiLeaks website.
Mistral’s ‘Wrong Message’
One February, 2010 cable from the U.S. embassy in Paris details a meeting between U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates and then French Defense Minister Herve Morin. According to this diplomatic dispatch, the U.S. Defense Secretary expressed concerns about the French sale of the amphibious assault ship, Mistral, to Russia
“He [Gates] told Morin that because of Sarkozy's involvement in brokering a ceasefire in Georgia, which Russia was not fully honoring, the sale would send the wrong message to Russia and to our Allies in Central and East Europe,” the cable reads.
According to the cable, Morin, however, downplayed the matter suggesting that sale of the ship “would not make any difference with respect to Russian capabilities, as Russia's naval production ability was severely degraded.” Gates responded, according to the cable, that the U.S. concerns were not about Russia’s military capacity, “but about messaging.”
According to the same cable ex-defense minister of France said that extending the Alliance to Georgia would weaken Article 5, a provision providing common defense. Gates, according to the cable, expressed his preference for NATO to extend into the Mediterranean and “concurred with Morin that a bigger Alliance posed challenges.”
Georgia in U.S.-French Discussions
Georgia is also mentioned in a separate September, 2009 cable from the U.S. embassy in France, which details meetings of Philip Gordon, the U.S. assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs, with senior French policy-makers in Paris.
At the time seizure of several cargo vessels en-route to Abkhazia by the Georgian coast guard in the Black Sea triggered tensions, accompanied by threats from Sokhumi that its forces would open fire and “destroy” the Georgian coast guard boats in case of further seizures.
According to the cable, the U.S. Assistant Secretary Gordon and President Sarkozy's senior foreign policy adviser, Jean-David Levitte, discussed these “dangerous” cases involving maritime incidents. Levitte, according to the cable, told Gordon that President Saakashvili had a French advisor – apparently referring to Georgian President’s close adviser on foreign and media affairs Raphaël Glucksmann – who had informed Paris that Georgian ships had orders to respond if fired upon. Levitte, according to the same cable, also said that the French message was that Georgia “must not respond to provocation, as that would only play into Russia's hands.”
According to the same diplomatic dispatch, Gordon said during the various meetings with the French policy-makers, that the U.S. “pursues a policy to support Georgia in the face of Russian pressure without encouraging President Saakashvili to act in ways that are unhelpful.”
'U.S. Not Rearming Georgia'
Several leaked confidential cables, where Georgia is mentioned, show that Russia has been raising its concerns over military cooperation between Georgia and U.S. during the talks with the U.S. officials. Positions, which are described in those several cables, are in line with those expressed by both the Russian and U.S. officials publicly on the matter.
One cable from the U.S. embassy in Moscow details U.S. Assistant Secretary of Defense Alexander Vershbow’s talks with senior Russian officials in Moscow on September 30, 2009.
According to the cable, Russian officials, including Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin, asked Vershbow why Washington was providing military assistance to Georgia, which “threatens stability in the Caucasus region.”
Vershbow, according to the cable, responded that it was “a matter of principle” and that the U.S. would help Georgia protect its sovereignty. Vershbow, however, also said that the U.S. was not rearming Georgia, as Russia claimed it. He added that since the August, 2008 war, there “has been no U.S. lethal assistance to Georgia.”
According to the cable, Vershbow also said the U.S. “is proceeding with great care and focusing on training, education, and helping prepare Georgia” to participate in the Afghan operations – the position, which Vershbow publicly reiterated a month later, when he was visiting Tbilisi.
According to the same cable, Vershbow also told the Russian officials that “Georgia is a sovereign state with the right to self-defense. We do not accept any arms embargo, and we may provide weapons to Georgia in the future.”
At the time of Vershbow’s visit to Moscow a year ago, there have been some reports about Tbilisi willing to see monitors from the United States joining EU Monitoring Mission in Georgia (EUMM). According to the same cable, the issue was raised by the Russian officials at the meeting with Vershbow warning that joining of the U.S. to the EUMM would be “a serious problem” for Russia, because “it would send the wrong message to President Saakashvili that he could use force again.” Vershbow declined these reports as speculation, according to the cable, but said that the U.S. would consider it if the EUMM did make such a request in the future.
The issue of U.S.-Georgia security cooperation was also raised by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov during his meeting with Chairman of the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee Carl Levin, according to the cable from the U.S. embassy in Moscow sent in April, 2009. Lavrov mentioned Georgia, when telling the U.S. Senator that Moscow suspended sale of S-300 missiles to Iran. Lavrov said that nothing Russia had sold Iran had been used against anyone, whereas U.S. weapons provided to Georgia had been used against Russian soldiers.
Russia Appreciates ‘Limited Arms Sales to Georgia’ by Israel
Lavrov also raised the issue during the meeting with his Israeli counterpart, Avigdor Lieberman, in June, 2009, according to the cable sent from the U.S. embassy in Moscow. This cable reads that Lavrov expressed Russian appreciation for Israeli steps “to limit arms sales to Georgia to defensive weapons, but raised concern that other countries were supplying offensive weapons.”
A separate cable from February, 2010, which details visit of Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to Moscow, cites a Moscow-based Israeli diplomat saying that Israel, as a Russian partner, was "listening attentively" to Russia's concerns about weapons supplies to Georgia.  Israel has friendly relations with Georgia but the Russian relationship was also very important, the Israeli diplomat is cited in the cable, adding that both Russia and Israel were trying to come to an "understanding" on the matter.
Georgia is also mentioned in one cable, dispatched from the U.S. embassy in Baku, which details a meeting between Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and U.S. Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs William Burns in Baku in February, 2010. According to the cable, dated with February 25, 2010, Aliyev warned about the negative effects of Turkey-Armenia protocol ratification without being proceeded by progress in Nagorno-Karabakh settlement; according to the cable, Aliyev “darkly predicted”, among other things, undermining of energy projects and damage to Georgia, including through lost transit income.
29 Nov. '10 Umbesetzungen im diplomatischen Korps von Georgien
28 Nov. '10 Zwei Explosionen in Tbilisi in der Javakhishvili-Straße nahe dem Büro der "Arbeiterpartei"; Innenministerium: Strafsache eröffnet, "gleicher Sprengstoff"
Two explosions in separate locations of the capital city Tbilisi, in which the same, unspecified explosive subsance was used, left one woman dead overnight on Sunday.
A 65-year-old woman died and one person was injured after the explosion on the Javakhishvili street in one of the central parts of the city at about 1:30am local time on November 28, the Georgian Interior Ministry said.
The explosion occurred outside the residential building on the Javakhishvili street number 88, where the opposition Labor Party's office is also housed. The woman, who died, lived in a house in front of the explosion site.
Nearby houses, including the Labor Party's office, were damaged and windows shattered.
Leader of Labor Party, Shalva Natelashvili, said that the explosion on the Javakhishvili street aimed at "terrorizing" his party.
About hour and a half later, a second explosion took place in a suburban district of Mukhiani. The explosive device went off at about 2:56am local time outside a grocery store located in an apartment building there. The explosion in Mukhiani damaged the store and shattered windows of nearby apartment buildings.
The Interior Ministry said in a brief statement that the criminal case was opened under the first part of 229 article of criminal code, which deals with cases of a deliberate act of explosion of gasoline, gas or other materials with a goal to damage property or to harm life of others.
In a separate statement released later on Sunday, the Interior Ministry said that the preliminary probe showed "same type of explosive substance" was used in both of the explosions and added that more time was required to find out other details.
27 Nov. '10 US-Zerstörer Gonzalez im Hafen von Batumi bis 2.12.
Küstenwache sagt, es werde ein gemeinsames theoretisches und praktisches Training der Schiffsmannschaft und Küstenwache durchgeführt.
The U.S. guided-missile destroyer, Gonzalez (DDG 66), will make a port call in Batumi next week, the border police at the Georgian Interior Ministry, said.
It said that the warship and its crew, which will be hosted by the Georgian coast guard and the local authorities of Adjara Autonomous Republic, will stay in Georgia till December 2.
"A joint theoretical and practical training of the ship crew and Georgian coast guard personnel will be carried out," the Georgian Border Police said, adding that number of social and a community relations events are also planned.
Similar port calls are made for few times a year by the U.S. warships and are usually described by the officials as "routine friendly visits."
26 Nov. '10 Premierminister Giorgi Baramidze gegen die Ausrichtung der olympischen Spiele in Sotschi
Er teile die "Meinungen" einer Gruppe von Abgeordneten, die ihren Widerspruch gegen die Ausrichtung der olympischen Spiele in Sotschi, nicht weit entfernt von der abtrünnigen Region Abchasien ausdrückten. Der Abgeordnete Tsiklauri sagte: "Gemäß der Olympischen Charta ist es unmöglich, Olympische Spiele auf einem Gebiet auszurichten, wo der Genozid einer Nation stattfand."
Giorgi Baramidze, Georgia’s deputy prime minister and state minister for Euro-Atlantic integration, said that he personally shares “sentiments” of a group of Georgian lawmakers who expressed their opposition to holding of Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, not far from Georgia’s breakaway region of Abkhazia.
A group of lawmakers from parliamentary committees on foreign affairs and compatriots living abroad, as well as the parliamentary commission on territorial integrity discussed the issue at a meeting on November 19.
“The legislators consider that it is necessary to convince the international Olympic Committee, National Olympic Committees and the international community in the necessity of holding 2014 Winter Olympiad in a different country,” the Georgian legislative body’s press office said after the meeting.
Apart of the factor of occupation of Abkhazia, a ruling party lawmaker Nugzar Tsiklauri said after that meeting, Sochi Olympic Games “are planned to be held on the territory considered to be a place of genocide of Circassians.”
“According to the Olympic Charter, it is impossible to hold Olympic Games on the territory where the genocide of a nation took place,” MP Tsiklauri said.
No formal decision has yet been taken by the Parliament on the matter and lawmakers said that they would continue discussions to elaborate final position.
Speaking at a joint news conference with Czech Foreign Minister, Karel Schwarzenberg, in Prague on November 25, Giorgi Baramidze said: “I personally express solidarity with the members of parliament, because I understand sentiments, I understand why they think that Russia does not deserve to be the host of the Olympic Games - because the Olympic movement is something different that Russia demonstrates today.”
"I don't think that the Olympic movement is something close to the killing of the hundreds of thousand people in North Caucasus, in Chechnya and elsewhere, killing its own journalists, putting in prison businessmen just because they have different opinions, and I don't think it's a good idea to occupy a neighboring country's territory. This place – Sochi – as you know is very close to the Georgian border, where we have illegal occupation… and I do not think that the Olympic spirit is anyhow close to the idea of not respecting international law, not respecting human rights,” he said.
In what he termed as “barbarian act”, Baramidze said, that recently Russia “repainted X century Georgian church and put on [the church] a Russian [style onion] dome… and destroyed frescos of the church” in Abkhazia.
“Everyday people are killed and raped on the ground [in Abkhazia], just few kilometers from Sochi,” Baramidze said.
Georgia was itself competing for hosting 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Borjomi and Bakuriani. But after Georgia’s bid was eliminated, President Saakashvili said in February, 2007, that Georgia would support Russia’s bid to hold the Olympics in Sochi.
“Olympic games in Sochi would foster peaceful processes in this region that has always been associated with conflicts. So in this regard, [Olympic Games in Sochi] will be a positive incentive for regional cooperation.” Saakashvili said at the time.
26 Nov. '10 EU-Beobachter besorgt über die "Grenzziehungsarbeiten" der russischen Militärs und südossetischen Milizen an der Verwaltungsgrenze des abtrünnigen Südossetien
EU Monitoring Mission in Georgia said it was concerned about “demarcation works” along the administrative border of breakaway South Ossetia carried out by the Russian forces and local South Ossetian militias.
The mission said in a statement on Friday that on November 25 its patrol observed seven Russian and South Ossetian armed personnel accompanying three South Ossetian civilians “performing measuring activities on the ground along the Administrative Boundary Line, close to the village of Ditsi.”
“This is not the first time that such measuring activity has been reported,” EUMM said.
“The Mission has increasing indications that this is part of a broader policy of unilateral border demarcation. The EUMM is concerned about these ‘border demarcation works’, as they are incompatible with the principle of Georgian territorial integrity, which is fully supported by the European Union,” it said.
26 Nov. '10 Öffentlicher TV-Sender "1 TV" im Zentrum des zweiten Demonstrationstages
Nachdem die Demonstration vor dem Parlamentsgebäude wieder zusammengekommen war und dabei die Rustaveli-Straße blockierten, entschied sich ein Teil der Demonstranden, zum Gebäude des öffentlichen TV-Sender "1 TV" zu marschieren, um gegen die Art zu demonstrieren, wie über die Demonstration am Tag zuvor in dem Nachrichtenprogramm berichtet worden war.
Few thousand protesters reconvened outside the Parliament on Friday afternoon for a second day of rally, launched on November 25.
Organizers of the November 25 Public Assembly had to reconvene the protest spontaneously after yielding to pressure from some of the most radical part of the rally participants, who were angered by the organizers’ decision to disperse the rally. The organizers were saying that the scale of the November 25 rally was not large enough for launching “decisive actions” for forcing President Saakashvili to resign; they, instead, offered to launch setting up of “committees” in the provinces to prepare for “civil disobedience campaign”.
After the protest was reconvened at about 2pm local time outside the Parliament, blocking the Rustaveli Avenue, part of the protesters decided to march towards the Georgian Public Broadcaster’s headquarters to protest against the way November 25 rally was covered in the broadcaster’s news program. Traffic on the Rustaveli Avenue was restored after the part of the protesters launch the march towards the public broadcaster.
Gia Chanturia, the general director of the public broadcaster, rejected the criticism saying that the broadcaster allotted enough time to covering the November 25 rally. He said that protest outside the public broadcaster and the protesters demands amounted to interference into the broadcaster’s editorial policy.
The November 25 rally outside the Parliament, the largest in last 18 months, was well down in news lineup of the national broadcaster’s primetime news programs, including on the public broadcaster; the latter, however, invited in its talk show one of the organizers of the rally, Eka Beselia, for a 20-minute talk about the Public Assembly.
Chanturia met with Beselia, while the protesters were gathered outside the public broadcaster and after the meeting Beselia told the participants of the rally that head of the public broadcaster assured her that the channel would invite the Public Assembly leaders in its talk shows; she then called on the rally participants to disperse. She also said that there were no immediate plans for holding rallies and that the organizers of the Public Assembly would meet to decide about exact plans.
Most of those opposition parties, which participated in the May local elections, refused to join the Public Assembly, except of Conservative Party and People’s Party.  Ex-parliamentary speaker Nino Burjanadze’s party is in forefront of the Public Assembly movement, which was also jointed by the National Forum party.
26 Nov. '10 EU begrüßt Tbilisi's Bekenntnis zum Gewaltverzicht
EU foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton, welcomed Georgia’s non-use of force commitment announced by President Saakashvili in his speech to the European Parliament on November 23.
“I see it as a constructive step and positive contribution to ongoing efforts towards a peaceful and lasting solution to the conflict,” Ashton said in a statement on November 25.
“In this regard, I underline the importance of the Geneva International Discussions, where the issue of non-use of force is at the centre of the agenda.”
“We are looking forward to further steps, as announced by President Saakashvili in his speech, and stand ready to continue the active engagement of the EU in the conflict resolution efforts in Georgia,” she said.
Saakashvili said in his speech, that he would send a relevant letter of Georgia’s non-use of force pledge to the UN Secretary General, OSCE Secretary General and EU leaders.
French Foreign Minister, Michele Alliot-Marie, also welcomed the Georgian President’s statement and called on all the parties into the Geneva talks to accept this “strong gesture” of peace and to respond with release of all the remaining detained persons and with allowing EU monitors to access breakaway Abkhazia and South Ossetia.
26 Nov. '10 Demonstration in Tbilisi auch in den TV-Nachrichten: während "Rustavi 2", "Imedi TV" und "1 TV" nur relativ kurz berichteten, wurde in "Kavkasia" und "Maestro" das Ereignis als Top-Story behandelt
Student tuition fee protest in London was a bigger news story for Georgia's two major nationwide broadcasters on November 25, than the protest rally in Tbilisi center, which was the largest one in last 18 months, since opposition's lengthy street demonstrations in spring, 2009.
The most watched Georgian TV station Rustavi 2's main, 9pm news program, reported about the Tbilisi protest rally 40 minutes after the bulletin's start. Rustavi 2 TV opened its primetime news program with 17-minute long report about a concert of Spanish opera star Placido Domingo in Georgia's Black Sea resort town of Batumi and his meeting with President Saakashvili on November 25; the bulletin then included news about financial probe into over 100 Georgian betting firms and a story about student tuition fee protest in London, followed by report about settlement in Moldova, built with Georgian assistance after flooding there and about President Saakashvili's visit to that settlement on November 24; then came some crime news and four-minute long story about the Tbilisi protest rally.
Another major nationwide broadcaster, Imedi TV, in its main, 8pm news program, reported about the Tbilisi protest rally about 32 minutes after the program's start, dedicating to the event two minutes. The news about the rally was reported after stories about tensions on the Korean peninsula and the student tuition fee protests in Europe.
The Georgian Public Broadcaster's main, 8pm news program's news lineup differed from the two other major channels with absence of a story about student tuition fee protests in the UK. The public broadcaster reported about the Tbilisi rally about 28 minutes after the start of the news program, after reporting about Moldova settlement story, some crime news and a lengthy report about Placido Domingo's concert.
Unlike the three nationwide broadcasters, the November 25 rally in Tbilisi was a top story for news programs of two Tbilisi-based television stations, Kavkasia and Maestro, with this latter also providing live footage from the rally in its afternoon news program.
25 Nov. '10 Einige Demonstrationsveranstalter der "Öffentliche Versammlung" genannten Demonstration vor dem Parlamentsgebäude äußerten ihre Enttäuschung über die Teilnehmerzahl, die geringer als erwartet war
Gubaz Sanikidze vom "National Forum" sagte, mehr Leute als gerade hier anwesend sind, seien erforderlich, um das Ziel zu erreichen.
An opposition rally outside the Parliament, dubbed by organizers as Public Assembly, dispersed peacefully couple of hours after its launch on November 25 with some organizers publicly expressing disappointment over turnout, lower than they expected.
Several thousands of protesters were gathered at the rally, which was the largest since lengthy street protests in spring, 2009.
After the organizers announced about the end of the rally it triggered protest of some participants, complaining that they were disappointed by the decision to disperse. Small group of protesters were remaining outside the Parliament as of evening, although traffic, which was blocked during the rally, was reopened.
Organizers – several opposition parties, among others ex-parliamentary speaker Nino Burjanadze’s party and the National Forum – said that the rally marked the launch of a process, which should eventually lead to resignation of President Saakashvili.
But as one opposition politician from National Forum party, Gubaz Sanikidze, told protesters “more people, than currently present here, is required” in order to achieve the goal. In his address to the rally, Sanikidze criticized those who had snubbed the rally and told the participants “not to be disappointed”.
“If we fail today, we will accomplish [the goal] tomorrow,” he said and added that active campaigning should now start in the provinces to mobilize more supporters.
Nino Burjanadze, leader of Democratic Movement-United Georgia party, who was in forefront of the People’s Assembly movement, told the rally: “We are launching uncompromising struggle for dismantling of Saakashvili’s regime, which will definitely be accomplished with victory.”
She said that “committees” of supporters would be established in the regions in charge of campaigning in the provinces in order “to prepare for disobedience campaign.”
Irakli Batiashvili, an opposition politician behind the Public Assembly movement, told the rally, that in case of a large-scale rally the organizers were ready for launch of decisive actions for achieving the goal from today. “But now we will have to show more patience… including for setting up disobedience committees in the regions,” Batiashvili said.
The organizers’, however, said that the turnout was enough for making Public Assembly’s decisions at the rally – including “vote of no confidence to President Saakashvili” and “annulment of constitutional amendments” – “legitimate”. The rally included, what the organizers called, “delegates” from the regions, who were selected in their local communities. The rally also includes activists and supporters of those opposition parties, which initially were skeptical about the initiative, but eventually decided to join it – the National Forum was one of such parties.
Most of those opposition parties, which participated in the May local elections, refused to join the rally, except of Conservative Party and People’s Party.
The rally outside the Parliament was extensively covered by the Tbilisi-based Maestro TV, including through providing live footage. The rally was far from being top news for Georgian public broadcaster and two another nationwide broadcaster, Rustavi 2 TV and Imedi TV, which mentioned the rally only briefly in their news bulletins at 4pm, 3pm and 5pm, respectively.
25 Nov. '10 Suchumi zu Präsident Saakashvili's Erklärung des einseitigen Gewaltverzichts: 'argwöhnisch' und 'zurückhaltend'
25 Nov. '10 Demonstrationen von Gruppen der Opposition vor dem Parlamentsgebäude
Einige tausend Demonstanden versammelten sich vor dem Parlamentsgebäude unter dem Titel "Zusammenkunft des Volkes" oder "Öffentliche Versammlung". opposition parties.
Several thousands of protesters gathered outside the Parliament on November 25 for a rally dubbed as People’s Gathering, or Public Assembly, backed by some opposition parties.
The rally, spearheaded by ex-parliamentary speaker Nino Burjanadze’s Democratic Movement-United Georgia opposition party, is the largest one held since the opposition’s lengthy street protests in spring, 2009.
Participants of the rally, which will start at 3pm local time, started to gather outside the Parliament by the noon and few hours later the capital city’s main thoroughfare, Rustaveli Avenue, in front of the legislative body, was blocked.
The rally includes several thousand of movement supporters, called delegates, who, the organizers say, were selected in their local communities throughout the country with each of them claimed to be representing dozens of other local residents of those communities. Organizers said in ahead of the rally they expected about 12,000 delegates to turn out at the rally, which, they said, would have an ambition to represent hundreds of thousands of citizens throughout the country. The rally also includes activists and supporters of those opposition parties, which initially were skeptical about the initiative, but eventually decided to join it – the National Forum is one of such parties.
Opposition politicians behind the rally say that the rally should mark launch of a process, which should eventually lead to resignation of President Saakashvili. They say that the movement’s further action will largely depend on the scale of the rally.
Most of those opposition parties, which participated in the May local elections refused to join the initiative, except of Conservative Party and People’s Party.
25 Nov. '10 Tbilisi begrüßt den Begriff 'besetzt' in der EU-Erklärung
Die interne Erklärung, nicht bestimmt für die Ausgabe an die Öffentlichkeit, wurde von EU-Diplomaten erarbeitet als Antwort auf einen Bericht des Generalsekretärs des Europarats über Georgien. Der zweite zusammengefasste Bericht über den konflikt in Georgien wurde von den Botschaftern des Ministerrats bei einem Treffen in Straßburg diskutiert. Die EU-Erklärung, verfaßt im Rahmen des Kommittees, sagt, dass die Situation in Georgien, einschließlich der Regionen Abchasien und Georgien, in Besorgnis für die EU verbleibe. Die EU unterstütze mehr Aktivität des Europarats vor Ort und ruft den Generalsekretär auf, die Kontakte zwischen den Parteien zu intensivieren, die zwecks des vollen Zugangs zu den besetzten georgischen Gebieten eingebunden sind.
Georgian Foreign Ministry welcomed on November 24 mentioning of term "the occupied Georgian territories" in reference to Abkhazia and South Ossetia in a joint statement made by EU diplomats in Council of Europe (CoE).
The internal statement, not meant for public release, was made by EU diplomats in response to a report of CoE's Secretary General about Georgia. The second consolidated report on the conflict in Georgia was discussed by ambassadors from ministerial council, CoE's decision-making body, at a meeting in Strasbourg on November 23.
The EU statement made in frames of the committee, says that "situation in Georgia, including its Abkhaz and South Ossetian regions, remains of concern to the EU"; it says that EU supports CoE's more activity on the ground and calls on the CoE Secretary General to intensify contacts with the parties involved "in order to have full access to the occupied Georgian territories."
"The Georgian Foreign Ministry welcomes EU's this statement and thinks, that this is yet another important step taken by the international community towards forcing the Russian Federation to implement August 12 ceasefire agreement and to withdraw its forces from Georgia's occupied regions," the Georgian Foreign Ministry said in a statement on November 24.
It said that giving a proper legal assessment to the situation on the ground "is an important step" in order to make Russia understand "the consequences of occupation of the Georgian territories."
25 Nov. '10 Zentralbank hält an Leitzins von 7.5% fest
National Bank of Georgia (NBG) kept refinancing rate unchanged at 7.5% on November 24.
NBG’s monetary policy committee said after its meeting on November 24, that it had to tighten monetary policy in recent months amid increasing inflation.
Annual inflation came in at 9.6% in October (9.8% in September), above the central bank's 6% target.
Finance Minister, Kakha Baindurashvili, said on November 12 that the government had to revise upwards 2010 forecasted inflation from 6% to 9% due to external factors mainly related to increased food prices.
NBG increased key rate from 6.5% to 7% in September and then to 7.5% in October. The rate was kept unchanged at 5% since late November 2009 and increased to 6.25% in June and then to 6.5% in July.
24 Nov. '10 Ex-Ombudsmann Sozar Subari wird Parteivorsitzender der neuen "Georgian Party"
24 Nov. '10 Moskau antwortet auf Präsident Saakashvili’s Verschrechen auf Gewaltverzicht
24 Nov. '10 in Tbilisi: Erhöhung des Wasser-Tarifs für Haushalte mit ständig fließendem Wasser von GEL 2.4 auf GEL 3.15
24 Nov. '10 Gesetzesentwurf der Regierungspartei zum Eigentum an Fernsehanstalten diskutiert
24 Nov. '10 Designierter Botschafter in den USA Temur Yakobashvili zu den Beziehungen Georgien-Iran
24 Nov. '10 Präsident Saakashvili besucht Moldawien
24 Nov. '10 Russland wurde konsularischer Zugang zu seinen der Spionage angeklagten Bürger gewährt
24 Nov. '10 MP Wants Probe into Reported 'Lisbon Hotel Prostitute Party'
23 Nov. '10 Präsident Saakashvili: Versprechen von Gewaltverzicht 'kein Zeichen der Schwäche'
23 Nov. '10 Präsident Saakashvili: Erfordernis des "Membership Action Plan" (MAP) für Georgien 'aufgehoben'
23 Nov. '10 Berichte: Moskau sagt, es gebe keine Pläne, mit Präsident Saakashvili zu sprechen
23 Nov. '10 Georgien macht 'unilaterales Versprechen' auf Gewaltverzicht
23 Nov. '10 Präsident Saakashvili's Rede vor dem Europaparlament
23 Nov. '10 Britischer Premierminister: 'Es ist an der Zeit für Russland, die Truppen aus Georgien abzuziehen'
23 Nov. '10 EU und Georgien unterzeichnen Abkommen über Wiederaufnahme
22 Nov. '10 Oppositionspolitiker Gubaz Sanikidze vom "National Forum": Ausmaß der Demonstration wir die Pläne festlegen
22 Nov. '10 Präsident Saakashvili wird Rede halten vor dem Europaparlament
Dabei will er Russland zum Dialog ohne Vorbedingungen aufrufen und ein Bekenntnis zum Gewaltverzicht abgeben.
President Saakashvili will address a formal sitting of the European Parliament in Strasbourg on November 23.
His address is scheduled for 3pm Tbilisi time.
In an interview with Le Figaro ahead of his speech, Saakashvili said that during the address he would call on Russia for a dialogue without preconditions and also said that in his speech he would make a commitment to non-use of force. He said that such unilateral commitment made by a country, whose territories remain under occupation, was “a controversial” move, since every country has the right to defend its sovereignty, including through military means. “But I see things differently,” he said, adding that Georgia could not end up like Afghanistan or Chechnya.
Saakashvili said on November 19 that he was the only President of non-EU member state to be honored with an opportunity to address the European Parliament twice. He first addressed MEPs in November, 2006.
"It happens not because there is a special attention personally to me, but because of support of Europe and rest of the world towards Georgia," Saakashvili said.
Georgia’s one of the key priorities in respect of the European Parliament, officials in Tbilisi say, is adoption of a resolution in which Abkhazia and South Ossetia will be referred to as “occupied territories.”
In May, 2010 the European Parliament was considering using term “occupied territories” in its resolution on South Caucasus, but the term was removed from the draft and not included in the final text adopted on May 20.
22 Nov. '10 Teil der Opposition plant am 25.11. eine Demonstration vor dem Parlamentsgebäude
An opposition movement, which has been dubbed as People’s Gathering, joined by some opposition parties will hold a rally outside the Parliament on November 25.
This movement, which initiators say has an ambition to represent majority of the population by uniting a delegates selected in their local communities throughout the country - each claimed to be representing several dozen of people from their communities – was initially launched by opposition-minded, public figures, probably the most prominent of them Nona Gaprindashvili, who was women’s world chess champion from 1962 to 1978.
Ex-parliamentary speaker Nino Burjanadze’s party, Democratic Movement–United Georgia, was the most vocal and for sometime the only supporter of the initiative with most of the opposition parties remaining largely skeptical about the idea.
But last week, when the opposition National Forum party, announced its intention to join the movement and participate in the rally planned for November 25, the idea of Public Gathering gained new momentum; the National Forum’s announcement was followed by the statement of Conservative and People’s Party on November 22 that they would also join.
Unlike Burjanadze’s party, these three opposition parties are formally part of a group, which has recently launched talks with the ruling party on election system reform. Other participants of the talks have no intention to join the initiate. A newly established Georgian Party – which will hold its inaugural session on November 24 – is also reluctant at this stage towards the initiative, but does not rule out close cooperation in the future.
Initiators of the movement said their initial intention was to hold the People’s Gathering either in Sports Palace or in Locomotive football stadium in Tbilisi, but were “forced” to convene the gathering on the Rustaveli Avenue, outside the Parliament, after the authorities refused to grant access to both of those venues, citing technical reasons.
The People’s Gathering said in a declaration in late September, that it “will employ all the effective forms of civil resistance… and together with healthy political forces and civil society it will achieve holding of democratic and fair presidential and parliamentary elections.”
Details of what the further steps of the organizers and participants of the rally might be remains unclear. Organizers say the eventual goal of the movement is to achieve resignation of President Saakashvili and his government.
Burjanadze said for number of times in her multiple media interviews on the matter that the movement would take the decision about its further actions on the gathering on November 25. “If the Gathering decides that we should give [Saakashvili] time till next elections [in 2012], we should wait; but I doubt such decision will be taken at the Gathering,” Burjanadze said.
22 Nov. '10 Designierter Botschafter in den USA Temur Yakobashvili: Tbilisi möchte die Beziehungen zu den USA auf eine 'neue Ebene' heben
Temur Yakobashvili, former state minister for reintegration who has been nominated for Georgia's ambassador to the United States, said on November 21 that "new realities" had emerged recently, which creates opportunities for "lifting U.S.-Georgia relations to a new level."
In the cabinet reshuffle, announced on November 20, which also involved changes in Georgia's National Security Council (NSC), Yakobashvili was replaced on the post of the state minister by Eka Tkeshelashvili, who served as NSC secretary.
"Two years after the war, situation has been clarified... on the other hand Obama is no longer a new president and the U.S. foreign policy priorities have been defined; it has also been defined that Georgia should not be treated only in the context of Russia," Yakobashvili told public broadcaster's weekly program, Accents, on Sunday evening.
Yakobashvili, who in parallel to the state minister's post also served as vice-premier, said that under the new conditions more active efforts were required in "various directions" to further boost bilateral ties.
"Sending a vice-premier as an ambassador it is first of all a political signal and I think it is a message from Georgia that against the background of these new realities we want to lift relations with the United States to the new level and [that Tbilisi wants] full-pledged implementation of Charter on Strategic Partnership [with the U.S.],"
He said that there was "whole range of new possibilities" in the bilateral relations with the U.S. and during "very substantive, business-like and warm" meeting between the U.S. and Georgian Presidents in Lisbon "whole range of priorities have been defined to broaden our relationship."
Yakobashvili's new post - his ambassadorial nomination has yet to be approved by the Parliament, which is a mere formality - will mark his comeback in the diplomatic service. In 1990s he served in the Georgian Foreign Ministry, holding various positions there, including the director of the Department for USA, Canada and Latin America.
Yakobashvili, who holds diplomatic rank of Envoy Extraordinary, joined the government in January, 2008, when he was appointed on the post of state minister; before that appointment he was executive vice-president of Tbilisi-based think-tank, Georgian Foundation for Strategic and International Studies (GFSIS).
In the capacity of the State Minister he personally was in charge of development implementation of Georgia's state strategy on occupied territories and its action plan.
Yakobashvili said in the TV interview on November 21 he was "glad" that Eka Tkeshelashvili replaced him on the post of state minister, "because she is not only well-qualified but also well-informed in this matter."o
"We've been working together on these issues, so there are all the pre-requisites in place that [the work on these issues] will be continued," Yakobashvili said.
Yakobashvili will replace Batu Kutelia, who was approved as Georgia's ambassador to the U.S. in December, 2008.
21 Nov. '10 Präsident Saakashvili's hielt einige bilaterale Treffen auf dem Lissabon-Gipfel ab
US-Präsident Obama, britischer Premierminister David Cameron, Premierministerin Julia Gillard - Australien, Premierminister Petr Nečas - Tschechei, Premierminister Mark Rutte - Holland, Präsident Abdullah Gül - Türkei, Präsident Traian Băsescu - Rumänien, Präsident Bronislaw Komorowski - Polen, Premierminister Stephen Harper - Kanada
Apart of a bilateral meeting with President Obama, President Saakashvili held number of other meetings with counterparts and heads of governments from several countries on sideline of NATO Lisbon summit on November 19-20, according to the Georgian President's administration.
Saakashvili met with British Prime Minister David Cameron; PM of Australia Julia Gillard; Czech PM Petr Nečas; Dutch PM Mark Rutte; as well as Turkish President Abdullah Gül; Romanian President Traian Băsescu and Polish President Bronislaw Komorowski, according to the Georgian President's administration. Saakashvili also met with Canadian PM Stephen Harper.
21 Nov. '10 Georgien bietet 20 Ausbilder für die afghanische Armee an
Georgia, which has 950-strong combat unit in Afghanistan, has offered to send 20 instructors to help train the Afghan forces, the Georgian Ministry of Defense said.
It said that President Saakashvili voiced the proposal at a meeting of leaders from countries contributing to the Afghan operation on a sideline of NATO Lisbon summit on November 20.
"The proposal made by Georgia today is very important," Bacho Akhalaia, the Georgian defense minister, said on November 20. "We offered to send Georgian military instructors who will provide training for the Afghan military in various professions; it might be infantry component, or aviation,” Mr. Akhalaia stated.
20 Nov. '10 Russ. Präsident Medvedev: Georgien 'wahrscheinlich schwerwiegendste' Unstimmigkeit mit NATO
Russian President, Dmitry Medvedev, said that at Lisbon summit NATO and Moscow made “a significant step forward” towards boosting cooperation, but also said that differences, including on Georgia, remain.
“One of the most serious differences probably is about our assessment of 2008 events – attitude towards what has happened in August, 2008, towards those geopolitical changes, which occurred at that time; in particular emergence of two new states – South Ossetia and Abkhazia. But we [Russia and NATO] have noted that this issue should not become a stumbling stone,” Medvedev said while speaking at a news conference after NATO-Russia Council meeting in Lisbon on November 20.
“We have agreed that [differences] should not disrupt our relations,” he said. “On the contrary, we should work on finding ways out of these difficult situations. We should work on hearing each others’ arguments.”
Medvedev said that in overall the Lisbon summit was “a significant step forward towards strengthening our relations” and for that reason, he added, this summit was “a historic event.”
20 Nov. '10 Georgien in der NATO-Gipfelerklärung - wörtliche Auszüge
- Stabilität und erfolgreiche politische und wirtschaftliche Reformen in Georgien sind wichtig für die euro-atlantische Stabilität
- Bukarest-Entscheidung in allen Entscheidungen wiederholt: Georgien wird ein NATO-Mitglied werden
- NATO-Russland-Kooperation ist von strategischer Bedeutung
20. ...Stability and successful political and economic reform in Georgia and Ukraine are important to Euro-Atlantic security. We will continue and develop the partnerships with these countries taking into account the Euro-Atlantic aspiration or orientation of each of the countries.
21. At the 2008 Bucharest Summit we agreed that Georgia will become a member of NATO and we reaffirm all elements of that decision, as well as subsequent decisions. We will foster political dialogue and practical cooperation with Georgia, including through the NATO-Georgia Commission and the Annual National Programme. We strongly encourage and actively support Georgia’s continued implementation of all necessary reforms, particularly democratic, electoral and judicial reforms, as well as security and defence sector reforms, in order to advance its Euro-Atlantic aspirations. We welcome the recent opening of the NATO Liaison Office in Georgia which will help in maximising our assistance and support for the country’s reform efforts. We welcome Georgia’s important contributions to NATO operations, in particular to ISAF. We reiterate our continued support for the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Georgia within its internationally recognised borders. We encourage all participants in the Geneva talks to play a constructive role as well as to continue working closely with the OSCE, UN and the EU to pursue peaceful conflict resolution in the internationally-recognised territory of Georgia. We continue to call on Russia to reverse its recognition of the South Ossetia and Abkhazia regions of Georgia as independent states...
23. ...NATO-Russia cooperation is of strategic importance, as reflected by today’s meeting of the NATO-Russia Council (NRC) at the level of Heads of State and Government in Lisbon. In light of common security interests, we are determined to build a lasting and inclusive peace, together with Russia, in the Euro-Atlantic Area. We need to share responsibility in facing up to common challenges, jointly identified. We want to see a true strategic partnership between NATO and Russia, and we will act accordingly, with the expectation of reciprocity from Russia. We recommit ourselves to the goals, principles and commitments which underpin the NRC. On this firm basis, we urge Russia to meet its commitments with respect to Georgia, as mediated by the European Union on 12 August and 8 September 2008. Over the past year, NATO-Russia cooperation has progressed and produced notable results. We welcome, in particular, the completion of the Joint Review of 21st Century Common Security Challenges, which has identified practical cooperation projects on Afghanistan, including counter-narcotics; non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery; counter-piracy; counter-terrorism; and disaster response. We also welcome the new extended arrangements offered by Russia to facilitate ISAF transit to and from Afghanistan. We are actively pursuing cooperation with Russia on missile defence, including through the resumption of theatre missile defence exercises. We will also want to discuss in the NRC a range of other topics, including Afghanistan; implementing OSCE principles; military deployments, including any that could be perceived as threatening; information sharing and transparency on military doctrine and posture, as well as the overall disparity in short-range nuclear weapons; arms control; and other security issues. We look forward to discussing all these matters in the NRC, which is a forum for political dialogue at all times and on all issues, including where we disagree. Our dialogue and cooperation with Russia also help us to resolve differences by building trust, mutual confidence, transparency, predictability and mutual understanding...
35. ... With our vision of a Euro-Atlantic area at peace, the persistence of protracted regional conflicts in South Caucasus and the Republic of Moldova continues to be a matter of great concern for the Alliance. We urge all parties to engage constructively and with reinforced political will in peaceful conflict resolution, and to respect the current negotiation formats. We call on them all to avoid steps that undermine regional security and stability. We remain committed in our support of the territorial integrity, independence and sovereignty of Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia and the Republic of Moldova, and will also continue to support efforts towards a peaceful settlement of these regional conflicts, taking into account these principles.
20 Nov. '10 Georgien in der Abschlusserklärung des NATO-Gipfels in Lissabon
... Wie die Erklärung nach dem Strasbourg/Kehl-Gipfel ruft die jüngste Erklärung Russland auf, "seine Anerkennung von der Südossetien- und Abchasien-Region von Georgien als unabhängige Staaten rückgängig zu machen". ...

Like NATO’s new strategic concept, in respect of Georgia, the final declaration of Lisbon summit reiterates the decision taken by NATO leaders at 2008 Bucharest summit, that Georgia will become a member of the Alliance.

It also reaffirms subsequent decisions taken by the Alliance in respect of Georgia, which among others also includes the one of 2009 Strasbourg/Kehl summit in which NATO leaders said that Georgia’s Annual National Programme, setting reforms targets, will help Georgia in advancing its reforms “without prejudice to further decisions which must be taken about MAP” – Membership Action Plan, a precursor to an eventual membership to which Georgia was refused at 2008 Bucharest summit.

Like the 2009 Strasbourg/Kehl declaration, the recent one again calls on Russia “to reverse its recognition of the South Ossetia and Abkhazia regions of Georgia as independent states.”

While noting that NATO wants to see “a true strategic partnership” with Russia, the Lisbon summit declaration reiterates support to Georgia’s territorial integrity and calls on Moscow “to meet its commitments with respect to Georgia” undertaken under the August 12, 2008 six-point ceasefire agreement and follow up treaty of September 8, 2008.

It says that “protracted regional conflicts” in South Caucasus and in Moldova “continues to be a matter of great concern for the Alliance.”

“We strongly encourage and actively support Georgia’s continued implementation of all necessary reforms, particularly democratic, electoral and judicial reforms, as well as security and defence sector reforms, in order to advance its Euro-Atlantic aspirations,” the declaration reads.

20 Nov. '10 NATO-Generalsekretär Rasmussen sagt, eine verbesserte NATO-Russland-Beziehung werde in veritabler Weise dazu beitragen, eine Lösung im Konflikt Georgien-Russland zu finden
NATO Secretary General, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, who announced about launch of “fundamentally new relations” between NATO and Russia, said improved ties between the Alliance and Moscow would also help to resolve conflict between Russia and Georgia.
Speaking at a news conference after a meeting between NATO leaders and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev in Lisbon, Rasmussen said that the Alliance and Russia “agreed in writing that while we face main security challenges we pose no threat to each other.”
"For the first time the two sides will be cooperating to defend themselves," Rasmussen said.
Asked how “fundamentally new relations” between Russia and NATO might effect conflict between Moscow and Tbilisi, Rasmussen responded: “I hope to see a resolution to that very unfortunate conflict and I can assure that within the framework, we have created for consultations with Russia, we will continue to discuss the Georgia issue.”
“The NATO position remains the same; we insist on full respect of Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity; we will continue to pursue a non-recognition policy as regards Abkhazia and South Ossetia.”
"Generally speaking, I do believe, that an improved relationship between NATO and Russia will also contribute in a valuable way to find the solutions to the conflict between Russia and Georgia," Rasmussen said.
20 Nov. '10 Umbesetzung in der Regierung: neue Positionen für Temur Yakobashvili, Eka Tkeshelashvili und Giga Bokeria
    * Bokeria becomes NSC secretary replacing Tkeshelashvili;
    * Tkeshelashvili replaces state minister Yakobashvili;
    * Yakobashvili set to become ambassador to the U.S.;
President Saakashvili has replaced secretary of National Security Council (NSC), Eka Tkeshelashvili, with deputy foreign minister Giga Bokeria, the President’s administration said on November 20.
Tkeshelashvili has been appointed as the State Minister for Reintegration – the post overseeing Tbilisi’s policies towards breakaway Abkhazia and South Ossetia – replacing Temur Yakobashvili. The latter also served as vice-premier and with the recent reshuffle the vice-premier’s post will now be occupied by Tkeshelashvili.
Yakobashvili, who held the post of the state minister since January 2008, was nominated as Georgia’s ambassador to the United States, replacing Batu Kutelia. The local media reported that the latter will be become deputy secretary of the National Security Council. Yakobashvili ambassadorial nomination requires Parliament’s approval.
The announcement about the changes in the government and NSC comes amid ongoing visit of President Saakashvili to Lisbon at NATO summit. In Lisbon the Georgian delegation also includes Giga Bokeria and Temur Yakobashvili.
In the capacity of First Deputy Foreign Ministry, Bokeria was Georgia’s chief negotiator in the Geneva talks. It was not immediately clear whether he would retain this role in his new capacity of secretary of National Security Council or not.
In her new capacity of the State Minister for Reintegration, Eka Tkeshelashvili, 33, will be in charge of Tbilisi’s policies towards the breakaway regions, as well as on implementation of Tbilisi’s state strategy on occupied territories and its action plan, which was developed under Yakobashvili’s tenure on the post.
Tkeshelashvili, who served as Georgia’s Foreign Minister in 2008, held number of senior governmental posts since 2004, including deputy interior and deputy justice minister, as well as chairperson of court of appeals and chief prosecutor.
20 Nov. '10 Präsident Saakashvili über 'fruchtbarste diplomatische Woche'
President Saakashvili said this week was the most “fruitful” in terms of diplomatic successes for Georgia under his presidency.
Speaking to a group of Georgian journalists in Lisbon on sideline of NATO summit after meeting with President Obama, Saakashvili said that NATO Parliamentary Assembly’s resolution, his trip to Brussels to meet with EU leadership and talks with his U.S. counterpart, as well as his upcoming speech before the European Parliament on November 23 was marking failure of Russia’s attempts “to cast away and sideline” Georgia on the international arena.
“I am on this post [of the President] for many years already, but I do not remember having - and we have not had – such a fruitful international week. It means that all the attempts – and lots of money have been invested in those attempts - to somehow weaken… and to cast away and sideline Georgia [have foiled] and on the contrary, those attempts boomeranged against perpetrators of those attempts,” Saakashvili said.
“This indicates on the fact that in every type of relations the truth will always prevail and good will always defeat evil. We need patience.”
“In the 21st century, nobody will last long as an occupying force on a territory of the European country. This status of an occupier has been established and support to Georgia has been strengthened. What we need now is patience, unity – and I think that our people have this unity today – and we need hard work to make Georgia stronger,” he said.
Saakashvili said that the NATO Parliamentary Assembly resolution, which mentions “occupation” and “ethnic cleansing”, was not “a minor event” and it was a result of “a huge diplomatic struggle.”
He also said that he was the only President of non-EU member state to be honored with an opportunity to address the European Parliament twice. He first addressed MEPs in November, 2006.
"It happens not because there is a special attention personally to me, but because of support of Europe and rest of the world towards Georgia," he said.
20 Nov. '10 Präsident Saakashvili 'zufrieden' mit den Gesprächen mit Obama
Schon die Tatsache, dass Präsident Obama nur wenige Treffen neben dem NATO-Gipfel einplante und dabei Georgien berücksichtigte, war eine wichtige Botschaft.
President Saakashvili said the fact that President Obama’s scheduled of few bilateral meetings on sidelines of NATO Lisbon summit also included talks with his Georgian counterpart was in itself “an important message”.
“I am very satisfied with this meeting,” Saakashvili told a group of Georgian journalists in Lisbon after meeting with President Obama late on November 19 evening. “As you know this was President Obama’s only meeting here at NATO summit, apart his meetings with [Afghan] President Karzai and with the hosts [referring to Portuguese leaders] – and you know that Afghanistan tops the agenda of this summit; actually he had no other meetings here except of these ones. Of course this is already in itself an important message.”
“During the meeting the President [Obama] made an extremely supportive statements about reforms in Georgia; he assessed highly democratic and economic reforms carried out in Georgia; he demonstrated good knowledge of details of the situation [in Georgia]; not only he reiterated support to Georgia’s territorial integrity, but [also demonstrated] that they [the U.S. authorities] are working on this issue and of course [Obama expressed] support towards the path, which will lead us to the NATO membership,” Saakashvili said.
20 Nov. '10 US-Präsident Obama trifft Präsident Saakashvili in Lissabon
Weißes Haus: "Präsident Obama beteuerte wieder die Unterstützung der USA für die Souveränität und territoriale Integrität Georgiens. Präsident Obama drückte seine Anerkennung für Georgiens bedeutenden Beiträge zu der ISAF-Mission in Afghanistan und für den Dienst und das Opfer seiner tapferen Truppen." ...
President Obama met with his Georgian counterpart Mikheil Saakashvili in Lisbon on sideline of NATO summit on November 19 to discuss "further strengthening" of relations between the two countries, the White House said.
The meeting, long sought by the Georgian leader, was the first one-on-one talks between Obama and Saakashvili, although the two briefly met at the Washington nuclear security summit in April.
"President Obama reaffirmed U.S. support for Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.  President Obama expressed his appreciation for Georgia’s significant contributions to the ISAF mission in Afghanistan and for the service and sacrifice of its brave troops," the White House said.
It also said that the two presidents discussed "the Georgian government’s efforts to implement political, economic, and defense reforms and our shared interest in securing democracy, stability, and prosperity in Georgia."
The Georgian President's administration said in a statement that the two leaders discussed "discussed regional security, stressing the importance of dialogue and cooperation."
It also said that President Obama reiterated the U.S. support to Georgia's NATO aspirations and "commanded Georgia's reforms and urged the Georgian leadership to continue them."
"President Saakashvili thanked President Obama and his Administration for their steadfast support of Georgia's sovereignty and territorial integrity, and for affirming Georgia's path toward eventual NATO membership. President Saakashvili also expressed the gratitude of the Georgian people... for generous [USD 1 billion] financial aid package that helped Georgia in the last two years," the Georgian President's administration said.
It said that Saakashvili "stressed the importance of US assistance in Georgia's continued pursuit of democratic and economic reforms."
20 Nov. '10 Georgien im Zusammenhang mit dem neuen NATO-Strategiekonzept
Bukarest-Entscheidung wiederholt; Fokus auf NATO-Georgien-Kommission gerichtet; NATO-Russland-Kooperation ist von strategischer Wichtigkeit; diese Kooperation sollte auf der Achtung der territorialen Integrität von Ländern basieren
19 Nov. '10 'Georgien bleibt in Afghanistan bis die Mission vollendet ist'
President Saakashvili said on November 19 that Georgia would remain committed to the Afghan mission until it's accomplished.
Saakashvili made the remarks at a meeting with Canadian Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, on a sideline of NATO summit in Lisbon. 
“You know we are second biggest per capita contributors to Afghanistan in terms of numbers of troops. We have no caveats and we are fighting alongside the Americans, Canadians, with British and we are willing to stay there until the mission is accomplished,” he said.
Georgia has 950 troops in Afghanistan; five Georgian soldiers were killed in combat in two separate incidents in early and late September.
Saakashvili also said at the meeting with the Canadian PM: “We love Canada in Georgia, not only in Georgia, but in the whole region, and not only because it’s a great country but it has been paying great attention to our region. It has been outspoken in defence of values and it’s a great ally in Afghanistan."
Georgian State Minister for Euro-Atlantic Integration Issues, Giorgi Baramidze, said that Canada "is an active supporter to Georgia's NATO integration." "These relations are very important for us," he said.
Meanwhile, Georgian First Deputy Foreign Minister, Giga Bokeria, said on November 19, that Georgia was expecting that NATO summit in Lisbon would give a "firm" recommitment to its decision at the Bucharest summit in 2008 to eventual Georgian membership.
“We hope and we have a ground to hope that at this summit a very clear message will be made about future of Georgia’s NATO membership – that is a very firm reiteration of the NATO Bucharest summit decision; as you know there have been speculations on this issue and it is important to remove all the question marks about it,” Bokeria said.
19 Nov. '10 Staatsbudget für 2010 abgeändert
Durch Steuermehreinnahmen und einen Kredit für den Bau von Hochspannungsleitungen wurden die Ausgaben im Energieministerium von GEL 23.8 Mio. auf GEL 199.2 Mio. erhöht sowie die Mittel der meisten Ministerien.
19 Nov. '10 Nana Pipia, Flüchtling aus Abchasien, drei Wochen nach ihrem Selbstverbrennungsversuch gestorben
18 Nov. '10 Russland will konsularischen Zugang zu seinen Bürgern, die der Spionage angeklagt sind
18 Nov. '10 Präsident Saakashvili und EU-Kommissionspräsident Barroso treffen sich in Brüssel
18 Nov. '10 Abgeordneter Gia Arsenishvili von der Regierungspartei an einer Herzattacke verstorben
17 Nov. '10 Gespräche zur Reform des Wahlsystems
Die Teilnehmer sagen, dass sie ihre Positionen näher brachten in der Angelegnheit der Beschlussfassung.
17 Nov. '10 Litauischer Innenminister besucht Georgien
17 Nov. '10 Parlamentarische Versammlung der NATO (NATO-PV) zu Georgien's Verfassungsreform
Die Verfassungsreform wird begrüßt, aber auch das Bedauern ausgedrückt, dass die Beratschlagung des Europarats nicht völlig von Tbilisi aufgegriffen wurde.
In a resolution passed on November 16 the NATO Parliamentary Assembly welcomed constitutional reform in Georgia, but expressed regret that consultancy of Council of Europe's advisory body for legal affairs was not fully used by Tbilisi in the process.
The resolution says that the Assembly is "welcoming... the process of constitutional reform, but regretting that full use was not made of the advisory mechanism of the Venice Commission of the Council of Europe".
The Venice Commission in overall welcomed Georgia's new constitution, which will go into force from late 2013, as a "significant step in the right direction". It, however, said that it "would be desirable to further strengthen the powers of parliament."
The non-binding resolution by the NATO Parliamentary Assembly, which mainly focuses on issues related to Georgia's breakaway regions, commends the Georgian authorities on "their efforts to further democratic reforms, and in particular, to fight corruption, build democratic institutions and engage opposition in decision‑making."
It also welcomes "the conduct of competitive and democratic local elections" in May, 2010 and urges Georgia "to continue efforts to strengthen the rule of law and promote democratic reforms in all areas, particularly those that further engage the opposition".
The Georgian nationwide broadcasters allocated significant airtime to the the NATO Parliamentary Assembly's resolution in thier prime time news bulletins on Tuesday evening, but like the Georgian officials' televised comments on the matter, the TV coverage was also only focused on the part of the resolution which deals with Georgia's breakaway regions.
The most watched Rustavi 2 TV, which dedicated 20 minutes of its prime time news bulletin to the resolution, made only a partial mentioning of other issues in the documented saying the the Assembly "assessed positively" Georgia's constitutional reform.
16 Nov. '10 Georgien begrüßt eine Resolution der Parlamentarischen Versammlung der NATO (NATO-PV)
Darin wird von "besetzten Gebieten" und "ethnischer Säuberung" gesprochen.
Georgia welcomed a resolution passed by the NATO Parliamentary Assembly on November 16 in particular the part of the document, which refers to Abkhazia and South Ossetia as "occupied territories".
The NATO Parliamentary Assembly, which unites lawmakers from the alliance member states and associate delegates from NATO partner countries, including from Georgia and Russia, adopted at its session in Warsaw on November 16 a non-binding resolution on the situation in Georgia.
The resolution says that the Assembly is "deeply concerned by the humanitarian situation in Georgia ’s occupied territories" and "urges" Moscow, as well as Sokhumi and Tskhinvali "to reverse the results of what has been described as ethnic cleansing by the Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on the Conflict in Georgia as well as by other international documents."
These two issues - mentioning of "occupied territories" and "ethnic cleansing" -  were the focus of the Georgian senior officials while praising the resolution. President Saakashvili said just few hours before the document was passed, that Russia was sparing no efforts to lobby against mentioning of these issues in the resolution.
Georgian Parliamentary Chairman, Davit Bakradze, who led the Georgian delegation at the Assembly, said in a live interview with Rustavi 2 TV after the resolution was passed, that it was "yet another political blow for Russia".
Georgian Deputy Foreign Minister, Nino Kalandadze, who convened a news conference shortly after the resolution was passed said, that it was for the first time when Georgian territories of Abkhazia and South Ossetia were referred by the NATO Parliamentary Assembly as occupied territories.
The NATO Parliamentary Assembly in a declaration passed in November, 2008, three months after Georgia-Russia war, condemned “disproportionate use of force” by Russia and "the occupation of Georgian territory by Russian forces", as well as "the ethnic cleansing of Georgians from South Ossetia".
In the recent resolution, the Assembly welcomed Russian troops withdrawal from the village of Perevi, but expressed concern on "the ongoing tightening by Russian FSB Border Troops of procedures for crossing" the administrative borders of the breakaway regions.
It also says that the Assembly is "deeply concerned" about Russia's "failure to withdraw to the positions it held before the conflict", as envisaged by the August 12, 2008 ceasefire agreement.
The resolution welcomes Georgia's strategy on occupied territories and its action plan and calls on NATO to reaffirm the Bucharest Summit declaration that Georgia  will become a member of the alliance.
Georgian officials said, that the document, although non-binding, was significant as it would set a tone ahead of the NATO Lisbon summit.
The NATO Parliamentary Assembly resolution on Georgia also raises issues related to constitutional and democratic reforms.
16 Nov. '10 Parlamentspräsident Bakradze trifft den polnischen Präsidenten Bronisław Komorowski
16 Nov. '10 Georgien hofft, dass die NATO ihre Bukarest-Entscheidung wiederholt
Georgia hopes that NATO leaders’ summit in Lisbon on November 19-20 will reiterate its decision taken in 2008 in Bucharest that Georgia will one day join the alliance, the Georgian President’s spokesperson said on November 16.
“We hope that the Lisbon summit will reiterate its commitment to the Bucharest [summit] decisions as well as reiterate that Georgia is moving successfully on the path of NATO integration,” Manana Manjgaladze, spokesperson of the Georgian President, said on November 16.
During the summit in Bucharest in April, 2008, after heated debates, NATO leaders refused to grant Membership Action Plan (MAP) to Georgia, a precursor to eventual accession into the Alliance; NATO leaders, however, stated that Georgia would become NATO member sometime in the future.
At the time in public statements the Georgian leadership had to welcome the decision. However, after the August war President Saakashvili described this decision by NATO as "a strategic mistake."
During his visit in Tbilisi on October 1, NATO Secretary General, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, said he expected upcoming summit in Lisbon would reiterate the decision of the 2008 Bucharest summit that Georgia will one day become member of the alliance once Georgian fulfills necessary criteria.
The President’s spokesperson also said on November 16, that President Saakashvili would visit Lisbon to participate in a meeting of NATO and its allies, contributing troops to the Afghan operation.
She also said that on the sidelines of the Lisbon summit Saakashvili also plans number of bilateral talks, including with British Prime Minister; Presidents of Turkey and the Czech Republic, as well as with the Australian Prime Minister.
16 Nov. '10 'Historische' Straße eröffnet von Tbilisi nach Süden in die Samtskhe-Javakheti-Region
Georgia inaugurated new road in its southern regions on November 15, rehabilitated as part of the U.S. aid program, which, President Saakashvili said, was “a historic” road ending “an actual isolation” of Samtskhe-Javakheti region from rest of Georgia.
The road, which starts from south of Tbilisi, runs through Kvemo Kartli region to Akhalkalaki in Samtskhe-Javakheti region, where it branches off to the Turkish border (to already existing Kartsakhi border crossing point) and to the Armenian border. The road by-passes Georgia’s main east-west highway and is shorter route to reach southern parts of Samtskhe-Javakheti region from Tbilisi.
USD 209 million was spent on two-year rehabilitation works on the road with total length of 224 kilometers – the largest portion of the U.S. aid program to Georgia in frames of Millennium Challenge Account.
“I want to express my sincere gratitude to the U.S. government,” Saakashvili told U.S. ambassador, John Bass, also present at the opening ceremony. “It took longer for the Americans to build this road, than it would have required for us, but they have been doing it very thoroughly… each meter was examined for quality in line with the international standards… This is the best quality road ever built in Georgia. That should be a standard for every new road in Georgia.”
After driving Toyota RAV4, which Saakashvili said was of his mother, on the new road, the President addressed thousands of local residents of Akhalkalaki, a predominantly ethnic Armenian populated town, saying at the outdoor rally that it was “a historic day for the entire Georgia.”
He said that three roads of key significance were built in Georgia in last couple of centuries; the one known as Georgian Military Road, which in its present form was built in 19th century to link Transcaucasus with the rest of Russian Empire and which Saakashvili described as the road "to enslave and colonize" Georgia and the entire Caucasus region; the second road, he said, was built through Roki Tunnel about twenty five years ago to link Russia's North Ossetian Republic with Georgia's Autonomous District of South Ossetia, which, Saakashvili said was the road, which Russia used to "disconnect" South Ossetia from rest of Georgia.
"And this is the third road, which is completely opposite to [road via] Roki Tunnel. This is the road of unity, unification of the Georgian regions," he said.
He said that these three roads were demonstration of different roles, played by Russia and the U.S. in Georgia.
"While one country [referring to Russia] built Georgian Military Road and Roki Tunnel, another country [referring to the United States] helped us to build this new road, hence helped us in strengthening Georgia," he said.
15 Nov. '10 Opposition kritisiert Präsident Saakashvili wegen seiner Bemerkungen zu einem Vorschlag aus dem Paket der Wahlreformen: Change of Majoritarian MP Election Rule
15 Nov. '10 Georgien rotiert seine Truppen in der afghanischen Provinz Helmand
15 Nov. '10 Präsident Saakashvili: Georgische Eigenstaatlichkeit ist ein 'Alptraum' für Russland
    * He said compromise - the worst enemy of reforms.
Georgia’s success in building a modern state in the Caucasus region is “the greatest nightmare” for “our ill-wishers”, President Saakashvili said on November 14.
He said Georgians had in “genes this longing for creating the modern state"
“For them [referring to Russia] Georgians are the most independent-minded people… who are now creating the state, which is more affective and successful state than theirs – that is the greatest nightmare they can ever imagine,” Saakashvili said.
“If Georgia managed to do that, the entire Caucasus will also be able to do that – that’s the greatest catastrophe they [Russia] can [imagine],” he added.
Saakashvili was speaking in Kvareli in eastern region of Kakheti, before a group of World Bank and IFC senior staff, which was in Georgia for its internal training purposes.
He said Georgia’s reforms were a success story, because it was driven not by an individual leader, but by the entire team of strongly motivated leaders.
“We are saying that we are European, democratic Singapore. Singapore – it was one leader’s success story. In case of Georgia it is not a success story of a separate individual leader; Georgia is a galaxy of leaders,” he said.
Asked what the difference between Georgia and Ukraine after their Rose and Orange revolutions, respectively, was in respect of reforms, Saakashvili responded: “Difference with Ukraine is that we have not made any compromises.”
“Compromises are the worst that can happen to reforms… We have carried out reforms simultaneously into all directions without making compromises and wherever we made compromises, personally I then regretted about it,” Saakashvili said.
14 Nov. '10 Innenminister Merabishvili: 'Nichts ist ausgeschlossen, aber ich träume nicht von irgendeiner Position'
Das Interview mit Imedi TV war eines der seltenen, welches der Innenminister den georgischen Medien gegeben hat. Er gilt als die einflußreichste Person in  Präsident Saakashvili's Regierung:
    * 'War can't be lost against corrupt country';
    * 'Doors open for North Caucasian friends';
    * 'No Intention to Irritate Russia';
    * Computer game 'Police'
Georgian Interior Minister, Vano Merabishvili, said he was not yet thinking about what his political career might be under the new constitutional system, when PM becomes key figure in the country.
In an interview with the Georgian television station, Imedi, Merabishvili said: "Nothing is ruled out, but I am not dreaming about taking any post."
"I am not thinking about which ministry or direction might be interesting for me; my everyday work does not leave me enough time to think about it... I do not deem it appropriate to think about it now; two years in Georgia is a long period... Things change so fast, developments are so dynamic... and it is impossible to make predictions for two years ahead", he said.
Then the interviewer narrowed down the question - although not further enough to directly ask if he was eying prime ministerial post - and asked if he was "thinking about elections" in 2012.
"No, I do not think about the elections," Merabishvili responded.
Georgia will have new constitutional system starting from late 2013, wherein most of the presidential powers will be transfered to Prime Minister; at the time Prime Minister will be elected by the Parliament, elected in the 2012 elections. Although there are widespread speculation in Georgia that President Saakashvili, whose second and final term in office will expire in late 2013, himself is eying for the prime ministerial post, some have also suggested that Vano Merabishvili might be aiming at the post.
The interview with Imedi TV, which was recorded few days ago and aired on November 13, was the rare one given to the Georgian media by the Interior Minister, regarded to be the most influential figure in President Saakashvili's administration. Opponents say Merabishvili's influence goes far beyond his professional duties as head of the ministry, which in itself is a powerful agency also incorporating security services.
In the interview Merabishvili, on the one hand, tried to downplay widespread notion that he exerts powers on decisions beyond his official competences, but on the other hand, he also said: "Decisions, which may not involve the Interior Ministry, are rare."
Imedi TV's 85-minute long program about Merabishvili incorporated a recorded sit-down interview with him, preceded by journalist's conversation with him in the minister's office and at various locations, including a construction site of one of the police stations in Tbilisi, which like other newly built police stations and like the Interior Ministry's headquarters itself is a glass building demonstrating, as Merabishvili says, transparency of the Georgian police.
'War Can't Be Lost Against Corrupt Country'
One of the locations where the journalist accompanied Merabishvili was at the breakaway South Ossetia's administrative border, close to Akhalgori from where Russian military barracks are seen on the other side of the dividing line.
"That's the base where subversive actions, political and economic destabilization and banditry is being planned against Georgia," Merabishvili said looking in direction of the Russian troops' barracks. "Of course efficiency of thier [efforts] is not very high, because of active work of our police and counter-intelligence - thier major problem, however, is corruption and lack of interest of thier [Russia's] officers to defend Russia's interests; but we still need to work hard to foil plans of, although ineffective but numerous, aggressors and our adversaries."
"It is impossible for the country, where there is freedom and where the police is loved by the people, to lose the war against the force, where there is corruption, no human rights, no free economy... and from where soldiers are fleeing to sought asylum on our side," the Interior Minister said.
'Opened Door for North Caucasian Friends'
Georgia's decision to impose 90-day visa-free travel rules for Russian citizens residing in the North Caucasus has not created any threat to Georgia, Merabishvili said.
"This is a door, opened to Georgia's friends. We have enough resources to foil any attempt of aggression against Georgia. Moreover, this gate [referring to possibility to cross Zemo Larsi-Kazbegi border crossing point without visa] allows us to gather more information and to carry out more surveillance on our adversary; hence, allowing us to prevent thier subversive or other acts [against Georgia]," he said.
'No Intention to Irritate Russia'
Asked whether the Interior Ministry's decision to withhold till November 5 release of first official information about the capture of alleged Russian spies was related to the fact that the Russian military intelligence marks its professional day on that date, Merabishvili responded, that it was also a factor, but not the main reason.
He said it took some time before preparing all the materials in order to provide "good" media coverage of the case. Rustavi 2 television station aired a documentary about the case late on November 5.
Merabishvili said, that major reason behind providing high publicity to the exposure of the spy network was to warn and discourage those Georgian citizens, who still keep links with the Russian intelligence.
"Our goal was not to irritate Russia; vector [of this move] was not at all directed towards Russia," he said.
Computer Game 'Police'
Merabishvili also said that a team of software engineers and programmers, contracted by the Interior Ministry, was developing the first ever Georgian computer game, "Police", in which players will take part in virtual hunt down of criminals and Russian spies. The game will also be available in English for worldwide audience, the Interior Minister said.
He also said that although himself a computer savvy, he did not have a Facebook account and several accounts existing under his name on the social networking site did not belonged to him.
13 Nov. '10 Präsident Saakashvili wiederholt seine Unterstützung für den Gesetzesentwurf zu einem Referendum von Steuererhöhungen
12 Nov. '10 Abgeordnete diskutieren den Budgetentwurf für 2011
12 Nov. '10 Gesetzesentwurf begrenzt für Auslandsfirmen das Eigentum an Fernsehanstalten auf 10%
Kritiker sagen, das Begrenzen sei nicht genüg, ein gänliches Verbot sei erforderlich.
11 Nov. '10 Salome Zourabichvili, Gründerin der Partei "Georgiens Weg", verläßt die Politik
12 Nov. '10 Innenminister: 'Noch mehr russische Agentennetzwerke operieren in Georgien'
Recently uncovered Russian military intelligence's (GRU) spy network is not the only one operating in Georgia and the Georgian counter-intelligence service is keeping a close eye on others too, Vano Merabishvili, Georgia's influential interior minister, said on November 11.
"There are at least three [Russian] secret services working in Georgia: GRU, FSB [Federal Security Service] and SVR [Foreign Intelligence Service - Sluzhba Vneshney Razvedki]," he said in an interview with the Georgian television station Imedi.
He said apart of recently exposed network, GRU still maintains other networks in Georgia, which "under our surveillance".
Imedi TV aired on Thursday evening portions from the interview, full version of which, the broadcaster said, will be shown on Saturday evening followed by live sit-down interview with Merabishvili in TV studio.
Merabishvili also said, that Russia's reaction to the recent spy row was far more moderate than in 2006, when Tbilisi arrested four Russian military officers on espionage charges. At the time Russia cut air, sea, land and railway links, as well as postal communication with Georgia and deported over 2,300 Georgians.
Merabishvili said that at the time Russia regarded Georgia as "kind of fourth grade country" and it was especially insulting for Russia when the country, which it deemed as "nothing", captured four of its spies.
Russia's reaction now was different, he said, because Russia "has gotten used to the fact" that Georgia is capable of uncovering its agents.
"Russia now had an adequate reaction... As I remember when the Russian spy network was uncovered recently in the United States, the Russian President's reaction to that was more aggressive than in case of Georgia," he said
"Believe me the next time we will expose thier agents, Russia may not have any reaction at all," Merabishvili said.
Moscow's immediate reaction to Georgia's announcement that it had arrested alleged spies, including four Russian citizens, was a statement by the Russian Foreign Ministry saying that Tbilisi's "spy story" was "a provocation", aimed at attracting international attention ahead of NATO and OSCE summits. It also said: "The Saakashvili’s regime suffers from chronic spy-mania on the anti-Russian grounds."
11 Nov. '10 Präsident Saakashvili über die Beziehungen mit Russland
"Beziehungen mit Russland sind schon am tiefsten Punkt und können sich nicht verschlechtern."
Relation with Russia is already at its lowest point and it can not get any worse, including by uncovering alleged Russian spy network, President Saakashvili said on November 11.
“Those who are saying that ‘we should not capture spies, because we should not irritate [Russia]’; those who are saying that ‘we should not speak about our dignity, because they [Russia] are being irritated by that’, should understand and should look thoroughly into what is going on around us: absolutely all the post-Soviet republics have problems with them [Russia],” he said while visiting a school in the village of Shamgona at the breakaway Abkhazia’s administrative border.
“The fact that we have most of the problems with them is not a surprising at all, because we are the most independent people among the former [Soviet] republics and on the other hand we have the most beautiful country and their [Russia’s] desire to grab this beauty is natural thing; that’s their instinct – they want to grab access to the sea and this beauty,” he said.
“These [tense relations] are not because they dislike Saakashvili… or our policies; that’s their agenda, they simply say: ‘it should be ours’.”
“When one says that we should not irritate Russia – how can it be further irritated? What else can be damaged in the relations, when we are sitting here in this beautiful school at the occupation line and looking at our occupied lands from this school window?”
“What can be worse than this in relations, when [Russia] is here occupying the best part of your country?.. We are still lectured: ‘do not provoke [Russia]’; they have done all the damage they could have inflicted on us. From this point on, I hope, it will be possible to get things better; although, of course, situation is very difficult today,” he said.
Saakashvili told teachers of the school not to refer to the administrative border line with Abkhazia as “border”.
“This is occupation line. [Russians] want it to be a border… this [border] was born in the differently arranged mind of once KGB major [apparently referring to Russia’s PM Vladimir Putin],” Saakashvili said.
11 Nov. '10 Präsident Saakashvili gegen einen Vorschlag aus dem Paket der Wahlreformen: Change of Majoritarian MP Election Rule
President Saakashvili said on November 11 he was strongly against of changing current rule of electing majoritarian lawmakers from the single-mandate constituencies.
The announcement came a day after the ruling party and the opposition agreed to start regular meetings from November 17 in order to develop new election code.
“There are lots of things on which an agreement is probably possible,” Saakashvili told journalists while visiting village of Shamgona at the breakaway Abkhazia’s administrative border.
“There have been demands to scrap regional representatives [in the Parliament] and to keep only party-lists… to reduce or to abolish regions’ representatives in the Georgian Parliament – I can state it right now, that I will not at all agree on that,” he said.
Saakashvili was most likely referring to one of the points in package of proposals outlined by the group of eight parties early in October, according to which the current rule of electing majoritarian lawmakers should be replaced with so called “regional-proportional system”.
Under the current rule 75 lawmakers in 150-seat Parliament are elected through winner-takes-all system in country’s 75 single-mandate constituencies.
Electing majoritarian MPs through “regional-proportional system”, as eight opposition parties have proposed, means that parties or election blocs will nominate several candidates in each constituency. In this case instead of currently existing single-mandate constituencies, larger multi-mandate constituencies will be introduced and number of seats available in each constituency will depend on the region’s size. Seats in the parliament, under this system, will be allocated proportionally, based on the votes received by parties in a particular constituency. Under this system those parties, which clear 5% electoral threshold in that particular constituency, will be able to endorse majoritarian MPs to the Parliament from that constituency.
This rule, proposed by the eight opposite parties, will increase their chances to take more majoritarian seats in the Parliament. Under the existing system, the ruling National Movement Party managed to win 71 out of 75 majoritarian seats in the May, 2008 elections.
Saakashvili said on November 11, that some opposition parties “have no idea what the problems in the villages are and they want to leave these [villages] without having their representatives in the Parliament.”
“It is possible to negotiate on everything, exempt of an issue that can leave residents of Shamgona village without their representative in the Parliament,” he said.
In his remarks Saakashvili welcomed the launch of the negotiations on election system reform, describing it as “very important process.”
“At last we’ve learnt to sit down and talk with each other. Instead of learning talking on the language of ultimatums and hysteria - ‘all or nothing’, and instead of setting deadlines and [instead] of being oriented towards the past, we’ve learnt civilized talk with each other and listening to each other,” he said.
11 Nov. '10 Außenminister Grigol Vashadze besucht Lettland und Estland
11 Nov. '10 Mehrere Schuldirektoren im Zusammenhang mit den Schülerprotesten zurückgetreten; Erziehungsminister wird strenge Reaktion vorgeworfen
Principals of several public schools in Tbilisi lost their jobs after twelfth grade students from their schools participated in a protest rally on November 9 demanding dropping of newly introduced school-leaving exams.
Education Minister, Dimitri Shashkin, said on November 10 that it was not a dismissal as the ministry was not authorized by the law to dismiss heads of schools and added that principals of eight schools themselves filed for resignation, because as "it seems" they acknowledged their share of "responsibility" for thwarted classes on the day when the protest rally was held on November 9.
Principal of one of the public schools, Maia Giorgadze, however, said on November 10 that she had been summoned by the Education Ministry together with several other colleagues on the evening of November 9 and told to file for resignation because students from their schools were participating in the rally.
“We were told that such principals should not be working in the school, because our students were at the rally,” she told Maestro TV via phone on November 10 and added that she had refused to file for resignation as “my students were not at the rally”.
Education Minister, Dimitri Shashkin, whom President Saakashvili once described as “an important statesman” with a prospect to climb high up career ladder even hinting on presidency, is a frequent target of criticism from those opponents, who say that he is reversing from key principles of education reforms, which were started shortly after the Rose Revolution. One of such aspects, the opponents say, is stopping of decentralization process and tightening grip on public schools, turning school boards into a mere formality.
Another aspect of the case is a motive behind the protest rally, which was held on November 9 outside the Parliament followed by a march to the Education Ministry building.
Few hundred twelfth grade students, who gathered at the Facebook-generated rally, were demanding dropping of plans to carry out school-leaving exams at the end of current school year.
The school-leaving exam program was adopted by the Education Ministry in March, 2010 – five months ahead of schedule in order to, as the ministry said, give students in their final school year more time to prepare. The ministry said CAT-type tests will be held in eight subjects: Georgian language and literature, foreign language, mathematics, history, geography, physics, chemistry and biology. The ministry said tests are easy and a student will require some basic knowledge to pass it.
But those students, who have protested, complain that new exams will not enable them to focus on university entry exams, which they say, is a priority for them. They also acknowledge that it will be difficult for them to pass school-leaving exams in all eight subjects because they have not been learning some of those subjects blaming for that the system itself. Some protesters were saying that they would welcome if the exams were be held in selected subjects chosen by students themselves.
Ghia Nodia, a professor of political science at Tbilisi-based Ilia State University, who was Education Minister in 2008, said the motive behind the protest rally was “ridiculous” for him. He, however, also told Maestro TV on November 10, that the Education Ministry’s reaction to the rally by forcing school principals to resign was not right and described it as “overreaction”. “There is no need to over-dramatize the fact of the protest rally itself,” he added.
President Saakashvili intervened in the matter on November 8, a day before the protest rally was held, and referring to the protesters’ Facebook page, which has generated over 5.300 supporters, said that those students “do not want to learn.” He also said that the protesters thought Education Minister Dimitri Shashkin was weak enough to allow “revolution of bad grade students”.
Both the Education Minister and the President claimed that some opposition parties were encouraging school students to stage protest rallies. On November 9, when some representatives from the opposition Labor Party joined the twelfth grade school students’ rally outside the Parliament, the protesters immediately distanced themselves from the politicians saying that they had nothing to do with the political parties or politics.
10 Nov. '10 Opposition und Regierungspartei einigen sich auf eine Serie von regelmäßigen Treffen, um die Wahlreformen zu besprechen
Opposition and the ruling party agreed on November 9 on some aspects of format in which they will have to negotiate on election system reform and decided to launch series of regular meetings from next week.
Leaders and senior officials from over dozen of opposition parties and senior ruling party lawmakers, including parliamentary speaker, Davit Bakradze, were discussing the issue for over three hours at a meeting in the Parliament on November 9.
After the talks participants overwhelmingly welcomed the launch of the process describing it as one of the most significant political processes which should lead to development of a new election code.
The Central Election Commission (CEC) has been selected as the venue of the talks with the first meeting scheduled for November 17.
The meetings will be moderated by the participating parties based on rotation principle.
Local and international non-governmental organizations working in the field of elections will act as observers, according to the participants of the meeting.
The talks will include all the parties having seats in the Parliament, plus those defined by the election code as ‘qualified’ - the parties which won at least 4% votes in the last parliamentary elections and at least 3% votes in the last local elections.
But one of the key points about the format - how the decisions should be taken, based on consensus or through voting – remains not fully clear yet.
Irakli Alasania, leader of Our Georgia-Free Democratic opposition party, said that “various option of decision-making rule” will be discussed next Wednesday when the negotiators hold the first meeting.
Senior ruling party lawmaker, Pavle Kublashvili, however, said that the decision would be taken based on consensus, but it required further discussions what mechanisms would apply in case of absence of consensus.
“It was difficult, but fruitful meeting," Parliamentary Chairman, Davit Bakradze, said after the November 10 meeting. "I hope, that as a result of this process we will have new election code, which will define renewed and improved electoral environment.”
“It won’t be an easy process; we are at the beginning of lengthy and delicate road of searching for political compromises, but I hope that final result of this process will be as constructive as the meeting held today,” he added.
10 Nov. '10 Opposition und Regierungspartei diskutieren das Format von den Gesprächen zur Wahlreform
10 Nov. '10 Verabschiedung des Gesetzentwurfes über ein Referendum zur Steuererhöhung verspätet sich
9 Nov. '10 Opposition und Regierungspartei starten am Mittwoch mit den Gesprächen zu Wahlreformen
9 Nov. '10 Präsident Saakashvili im Zusammenhang mit der Agentenaffaire: ‘Wir wollen keine Konfrontation mit irgend jemandem; wir verteidigen uns selbst.’
President Saakashvili awarded on November 9 Georgian counter-intelligence officers, who were part of the operation to uncover, as the President put it, “spy network of Georgia’s occupant country” and said that Tbilisi was ready for talks with Moscow if the latter demonstrated “good will”.
“This operation was very important, important because our country is obviously under permanent pressure and threat of permanent destabilization attempts… We defend ourselves, and our counter-intelligence agents are on the forefront of this self-defense,” Saakashvili said at the meeting with the Interior Ministry leadership. "A real monster is in struggle against us."
“I would like to thank you and wish you further success in your attempts to stop the actions and tricks of Georgia's enemy... We’ve managed to create small, but efficient counter-intelligence service.”
“We do not want confrontation with anyone; we defend ourselves. If Russia shows good will and decides to launch negotiations with us, Georgia will always be ready for that. If we are talked to as a sovereign state, which has its democratically elected government, we will be ready for [talks] without any preconditions like we have always been,” he added.
9 Nov. '10 Präsident Saakashvili: spricht über die ‘kulturelle und politische’ Kraft des Fernsehens
Im Vergleich zu anderen post-sowjetischen Ländern habe Russland keinen kulturellen Einfluß mehr auf Georgien.
9 Nov. '10 Gesetzesinitiative zur Transparenz der Medieneigentumsverhältnisse wird in einer Woche eingereicht
8 Nov. '10 Alasania und Bakradze treffen sich über Gespräche zu Wahlreformen
8 Nov. '10 Präsident Saakashvili über die drei Pfeiler der Wirtschaft Georgiens
8 Nov. '10 Diplomaten aus sechs latein-amerikanischen Ländern besuchen Georgien
8 Nov. '10 Präsident Saakashvili über das ‘russische Agentennetzwerk’
8 Nov. '10 Georgien enthüllt Details des Falles von Atomschmuggel
7 Nov. '10 Demonstration erinnert an Jahrestag der Auflösung der Proteste von 2007
6 Nov. '10 Zwischenfall auf der Vaziani-Militärbasis
Mehrere Soldaten leicht verletzt bei einem Faustkampf.
Several soldiers were slightly hurt in a fist-fight that erupted in the military unit based in Vaziani outside Tbilisi, according to the official sources.
This official version of events, which has also been backed by soldiers themselves, who met with Public Defender, was questioned by whistleblowers and soldiers’ rights organization suspecting that soldiers could have been harassed by their commanders.
The news about the incident in the Vaziani-based 42nd battalion of the 4th brigade first broke on the morning of November 5 when Nana Kakabadze of human rights group Former Political Prisoners for Human Rights said she had received an SMS from a soldiers saying that at least 15 servicemen were physically harassed and verbally insulted by the commanders overnight on November 5.
Several hours later the Ministry of Defense confirmed the incident, but said it only involved a scuffle between several corporals, which originated from a verbal argument between them after it was found out that one assault rifle was missing from the unit. It said that the incident had been resolved and the military police was investigating the case.
The Georgian Public Defender, Giorgi Tugushi, informed about the incident by human rights groups, was able to visit the Vaziani military base and to meet with soldiers. After the visit he convened a press conference on the evening of November 5 and said that he had also met those soldiers, whose names were indicated in the message.
Tugushi said several soldiers had minor bodily injures, which were not serious. He said that one of the soldiers had “self-inflicted wounds.” “This soldier said that he himself cut up his hand,” the Public Defender said.
He said in overall the soldiers were not enthusiastic to speak, but what he had learnt from them was in line with the MoD’s official statement made before he met with soldiers. He said the soldiers told him they scuffled between each other because of missing assault rifle.
Irakli Sesiashvili of soldiers’ rights Association Justice and Liberty said the official version was not “convincing”. “Why would a soldier send a message requesting for assistance if there is only a trivial quarrel between the soldiers themselves? It seemed to be a more serious incident,” he told Maestro TV on November 5.
6 Nov. '10 TV-Dokumentation über 'russisches Agentennetzwerk' in Rustavi 2
Georgia's most watched television station, Rustavi 2, aired during prime time on November 5 a documentary about alleged Russian spy network, which the Georgian Interior Ministry said, had operated in Georgia for years until it was uncovered last month.
The first reports about the arrest of individuals suspected of spying for Russia emerged last week. The first official announcement came only a week later on November 5; meantime, Rustavi 2 was airing a trailer of its planned documentary about, what it called, "“total fiasco of the Russian intelligence”.
Rustavi 2 TV, regarded as a pro-governmental nationwide broadcaster, was given an exclusive access not only to case files but was also able to film arrest of some alleged spies in Batumi on October 15.
The 30-minute documentary centers on a double agent with a code name 'Enveri', who, according to the Georgian Interior Ministry, played a key role in obtaining the Russian military intelligence's encryption materials through which, it said, it became possible to expose the alleged spy network.
The double agent, interviewed in dark studio, so that to hide his face, on a background of some Soviet symbols, was speaking in Russian saying that in late 1980s he served for the Soviet military intelligence in Georgia's port town of Poti.
According to the Interior Ministry in 2006, when major spy row erupted between Russia and Georgia after Tbilisi arrested four Russian military officers on espionage charges, number of Georgian citizens turned themselves in admitting having links with the Russian intelligence. At the time the authorities promised amnesty for those who would have voluntarily reported about links with the foreign intelligence.
According to the documentary, the trend showed alarming scales of the Russian intelligence operations in Georgia prompting the Georgian counter-intelligence to find someone who could have been planted inside the network. The former Soviet army officer was selected, according to the documentary.
"I was hesitant initially, but eventually agreed as I have always been in service of my homeland - if at first it was the Soviet Union, then it was Georgia," the double agent with code name 'Enveri' says in the documentary.
He said, that under the pretext of wanting to retrieve his pension as a former Soviet army officer, he contacted his "old acquaintances" in the Russian military intelligence and arranged a meeting in a Russian town close to the Ukrainian border. According to the documentary there he met with three operatives from the Russian military intelligence (GRU - Glavnoye Razvedovatelnoye Upravlenie), including one with name Sergey Akimov. The operatives, he said, trained him in how to use specially developed spy hardware and special software for exchange of encrypted information.
After three days of "extensive training", the double agent, before departure back to Georgia, met with Yuri Zhilin, described in the documentary as chief GRU operative in Russia's Krasnodar region.
After that, according to the documentary, he was regularly exchanging messages with GRU in a form of encrypted texts, image and music files mainly via e-mail. Encoding of such files, according to the documentary, required multiple passwords and software. In the process, according to the documentary, it also became possible to identify dozens of other Georgian citizens working for the Russian intelligence and in addition at least one GRU liaison officer was also identified -  the Russian citizen, Yuri Skrilnikov, according to the Interior Ministry.
According to the documentary Skrilnikov arrived in Georgia in May, 2010 for a meeting with the double agent, but he was detained by the Georgian counter-intelligence. What the documentary does not mention is that Skrilnikov was formally charged with currency forgery; another Russian citizen and one Georgian citizen were also arrested together with him - all of them worked for the Russian military based in Batumi before it was finally closed down in November, 2007.
It was reported in mid-October that court in Batumi found him guilty of currency forgery and sentenced him on October 7 to 18 years in prison. At the time the Russian Foreign Ministry condemned the verdict as "yet another provocation against the Russian citizen" who in the past served in the Russian military base in Batumi. Skrilnikov is among those 13 persons, who, the Georgian Interior Ministry said on November 5, were arrested on spying charges.
The double agent says in the documentary that his Russian minders were "very much interested" in information related to western warships' port calls in Georgia, training courses carried out by Georgia's western partners for the Georgian forces, defense plan of the ports, structure of the Georgian land forces and thier location. He said all the information he was sending to his Russian handlers was approved by the Georgian intelligence.
In the documentary a pilot of the Mi-8 army helicopter, who is among six Georgian military pilots charged with spying, says that during the August, 2008 war he informed his Russian handlers that Georgian helicopters were probably hidden in the Borjomi gorge. He said the wildfire, which erupted in the gorge, destroying over 200 hectares of forest there during the war, was probably a result of the information he provided to the Russian intelligence.
In the end of the documentary narrator says that the operation against the Russian spy networks, "which was unprecedented in our country's history, enters into the new phase." It was then followed with an announcement made by deputy head of the Interior Ministry's counter-intelligence unit reiterating the authorities' promise guaranteeing amnesty for those who will voluntarily report about thier links with the foreign intelligence services.
5 Nov. '10 Russischer Abgeordneter: ‘Moskau wird seine Bürger nicht in Schwierigkeiten lassen’
A senior Russian lawmaker said arrest of four Russian citizens by Georgia on espionage charges was “a provocation” and “a serious situation.”
”This is a very serious situation and those, who have started this provocation in Georgia, should clearly understand and know that Russia will not leave its citizens in trouble. People with no links to the special services have been arrested,” Konstantin Kosachev, chairman of the international affairs committee in the lower house of parliament, State Duma, was quoted by the Russian news agencies.
“I would like to recall words of the President of the Russian Federation, who has said for number of times, that Russia will always protect its citizens everywhere with all the available means,” he added.
Meanwhile, a senior Georgian lawmaker said that uncovering of the Russian spy network was a huge blow for the Russian intelligence and “a burst of a myth about omnipotence of the Russian intelligence.”
“Uncovering of this network also means that we have significantly strengthened our security,” Akaki Minashvili, a ruling party lawmaker, who chairs parliamentary committee on foreign affairs, said.
He said that Georgia could not turn a blind eye on Russia’s such operations in Georgia.
“Priority is to uncover [agents] and to punish them,” he said. “As far as their reaction is concerned of course they will deny [having links to alleged spies].”
“I can imagine in what a condition they might be now – Putin and his intelligence agencies. I am sure they will carry out purge in their special agencies after such important information was exposed,” MP Minashvili said.
5 Nov. '10 Russisches Außenministerium: ‘Georgische Agenten-Manie ist eine Provokation’
Russian Foreign Ministry said that Tbilisi’s “spy story” was “a provocation” aimed at attracting attention ahead of NATO Lisbon and OSCE Astana summits.
Georgia said on November 5 it arrested nine Georgian and four Russian citizens on charges related to espionage for Russian military intelligence.
“The Saakashvili’s regime suffers from chronic spy-mania on the anti-Russian grounds. In the course of recent years, the Georgian leadership has resorted for number of times to fabrication of this kind of scandals with a cynical purpose of gaining internal political and international dividends,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said.
It said that the timing for “provocation” was deliberately selected ahead of number of important international events, including NATO Lisbon summit later this month and OSCE summit in Astana in December.
“Upcoming NATO Lisbon summit is a possibility for the Georgian leadership to attract attention through a scandal,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said, adding that it reminds a similar case in April, when Georgia said at the nuclear security summit in Washington that it had foiled illicit trafficking of highly enriched uranium.
“It is obvious that at the OSCE summit in Astana on December 1-2 Georgia is preparing for voicing yet another dose of confrontational anti-Russian rhetoric, trying to impose on the participants [of the upcoming summit] its vision of situation in the Caucasus,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said and added that Tbilisi’s such approach was meeting more skepticism from the international community recently, especially after EU-funded report on causes of the August, 2008 war was released.
“Another obvious goal [of the arrest of alleged spies] is to use scarecrow of ‘Russian threat’ for maintaining anti-Russian hysteria in the country,” it said and added that such “provocation” could hardly be effective.
5 Nov. '10 Moskau’s erste Reaktion zu Georgiens Verhaftungen eines "Agentenrings": "politische Farce", "besorgt", Beziehung zu NATO-Russland-Gipfel geknüpft
5 Nov. '10 9 Georgier und 4 russische Bürger unter den verhafteten "Agenten"
5 Nov. '10 9.6% Inflation im October
5 Nov. '10 Innenministerium: erste Berichte zu den Agentenfällen am Freitag
4 Nov. '10 Präsident Saakashvili trifft den iranischen Außenminister Mottaki
    * Saakashvili 'concerned' over Sakineh Ashtiani's case;
    * 'Studies of Persian language will deepen in Georgia';
    * 'Iran's support to Georgia's territorial integrity important'
Iran's Foreign Minister, Manouchehr Mottaki, met with President Saakashvili on November 4 before concluding his two-day visit to Georgia.
Saakashvili and Mottaki "discussed bilateral and international issues. The sides emphasized the importance of cooperation in the field of tourism, people-to-people contacts and youth exchanges between the two countries," the Georgian President's administration said in a statement after the meeting.
"It was decided during the meeting that studies of Persian language and Iranian history and culture will deepen in Georgia."
"The President of Georgia stressed the significance of the Iranian government's support to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Georgia."
"President Saakashvili expressed support for further dialogue and official contacts and development of legal instruments between Georgia and Iran," the President's administration said.
It also said that Saakashvili stressed the importance of talks between P5+1 (Britain, China, France, Russia, the U.S. and Germany) and Iran over the latter's nuclear program.
Saakashvili expressed "concern" over the faith of an Iranian woman, who could be stoned to death for adultery. The Iranian Foreign Minister said at a news conference in Tbilisi on November 3, that no final decision had been made yet about Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani's case.
Also on November 4 the Iranian Foreign Minister inaugurated Iran's consular office in Georgia's Black Sea resort of Batumi.
4 Nov. '10 Abgeordnete nehmen die Diskussion um einen Gesetzesentwurf für ein Referendum zu Steuerhöhungen auf
3 Nov. '10 Iranischer Außenminister Mottaki auf ‘historischem’ Besuch in Georgien
# Visa-free travel agreement signed;
# Iran to open consular office in Batumi;
# Mottaki: ‘historic visit’ marked by milestone events;
# Vashadze: ‘there should be zero problems in relations’;
# Vashadze: ‘firm decision is to have bilateral cooperation’;
# Vashadze comments on Iran’s nuclear program
Tbilisi and Tehran have “firmly” decided to have bilateral cooperation, which will be good for the entire region, Georgian  Foreign Minister, Grigol Vashadze, said after meeting with his Iranian counterpart in Tbilisi on November 3.
Iranian Foreign Minister, Manouchehr Mottaki, who started his two-day visit to Georgia on November 3, signed with his Georgian counterpart visa-free travel agreement between the two countries.
Mottaki will travel to Georgia’s Black Sea resort of Batumi on November 4 to formally open Iran’s consular office.
Speaking at a joint news conference with his Georgian counterpart on Wednesday evening, Mottaki described his visit as “historic”, saying that reopening of Iran’s consular office in Batumi, about 80 years after it was closed down there, and signing of visa-free travel agreement were milestone events in the bilateral relations, which will help to boost economic cooperation and “traditional, histories” ties between the two people. The agreement on visa-free travel will go into force after it is ratified by the parliaments of the two countries.
“We had very constructive and fruitful negotiations… We have discussed bilateral relations, as well as regional and international issues,” Mottaki said.
“There is a decision to broaden our economic cooperation and if we look at statistics we will see, that these relations in various spheres have been doubled against previous years,” he said.
Mottaki said that close ties between Iran and Georgia would help “to link the Black Sea with the Persian Gulf”, which would be beneficial for the economies of the both countries.
“I want to stress, that both of the countries firmly believe, that there should be zero problems in relations between the neighboring countries. At the same time I want to note that Georgia-Iran economic relations made a big jump recently,” Grigol Vashadze, the Georgian Foreign Minister, said.
Iran is not in the list of Georgia’s key trading partners. Trade turnover between Georgia and Iran declined by 41.5% y/y in 2009 to USD 36.3 million. The figure reached USD 41.4 million in the first nine months of 2010, according to the Georgian state statistics office.
When asked about the political aspects of bilateral cooperation, the Georgian Foreign Minister responded: “Our firm decision is to have bilateral cooperation and this cooperation is good for Georgia, is good for Iran, is good for region, is good generally for political climate.”
The Iranian Foreign Minister said that developments in the Caucasus “are very important” for Tehran.
“Territorial integrity is one of the principles on which cooperation between the states should be based. We hope that problems in the region will be resolved through peaceful means,” Mottaki said.
“Iran has always been expressing its readiness to play its role in resolving regional problems,” he added.
The Georgian Foreign Minister said that he was “grateful to the Iranian people and the Iranian government for their position about Georgia’s sovereignty and its territorial integrity.”
On Iran’s nuclear program Vashadze said that Iran had a right to have a peaceful nuclear program, but it also had obligations.
“Iran is a member state of the non-proliferation treaty and has all legal rights to have a peaceful nuclear program and while having those rights there are obligations too for each and every member state when it comes to the International Atomic Energy Agency [IAEA] and under those procedures and norms all nuclear facilities, not only in this region, but elsewhere in the world should be under firm control of this Agency,” Vashadze said.
He said Tbilisi was “absolutely happy” about the proposed talks between P5-plus-1 and Iran, because “it will be good for Iran, for the international community, for IAEA and for this region too.”
P5-plus-1 refers to five permanent members of the UN Security Council – Britain, China, France, Russia, the U.S. – plus Germany.
3 Nov. '10 Premierminister Galauri sieht Potential von ausländischen Direktinvestitionen aus China und Indien, 500 Mio. USD in den nächsten drei Jahren
3 Nov. '10 Ukrainischer Verteidigungsminister besucht Georgien
3 Nov. '10 Weltbank gibt 45 Mio. USD für die Finanzierung der öffentlichen Infrastruktur Georgiens
2 Nov. '10 Reguläre Direktflüge Tbilisi-Tehran nach zehn Jahren wieder aufgenommen
2 Nov. '10 TV wird Film ausstrahlen über das ‘Fiasko des russischen Agentennetzwerkes’
Georgia’s nationwide broadcaster, Rustavi 2, aired promotional video of an upcoming documentary about, as it put it, “total fiasco of the Russian intelligence”.
The 40-second promo, first aired on November 1, provides some hints indicating that the documentary will apparently be about reported arrest of a group of Georgian citizens allegedly working for the Russian intelligence.
The promo mentions “18 spies”, although it was initially reported that 20 persons were arrested on suspicion of spying for Russia.
“Rustavi 2 presents documentary film ‘Enveri’; Russian intelligence taken by Georgia’s bait; methods through which the Russian intelligence operates throughout the world; the largest spy network has been exposed; total fiasco of the Russian intelligence; on Rustavi 2 soon”, the promo says.
Rustavi 2 TV, usually used for leaking official information, was non-committal when contacted for comment on the upcoming film.
2 Nov. '10 Partei Our Georgia-Free Democrats (OGFD) ruft das Verfassungsgericht an wegen der Ermächtigung der Polizei, Personen anzuhalten und zu durchsuchen
1 Nov. '10 Einige Details über die berichtete Verhaftung von angeblichen Spionen
With the officials sources remaining tight-lipped over reported arrest of 20 persons suspected of spying for Russia, few details started to emerged in the Georgian media sources.
It was reported that at least three suspects into the case were arrested in Georgia's Black Sea resort of Batumi over two weeks ago. Their defense lawyers are not authorized to speak about the details of the case, as investigation files are classified and remain secret.
"This is confidential information and I have no right to provide you with any information," Nana Tsuladze defense lawyer of two detained suspects told Kavkasia TV on November 1. "I am acting in defense of two detainees; I know some others have also been arrested, but I do not know exact numbers."
She said that her clients - Armen Gevorkian and Ruben Shikoian - were working for a company inspecting oil products with Gevorkian acting as company director and Shikoian as deputy director.
Third person, Ruslan Galogre, was working as a manager in one of the hotels in Batumi. His lawyer, Shalva Lebanidze, told Maestro TV on November 1, that Galogre was charged with the article 311 of the criminal code involving working for foreign intelligence. "He pleaded not guilty and uses his right to silence," the lawyer said.
Lawyers said their clients were in pre-trial detention pending investigation.
News about the arrest of alleged spies in Georgia was reported by Reuters on Friday evening, citing unnamed Georgian security sources. The Georgian Interior Ministry declines to confirm or deny the report and no official comment on the matter is expected until late this week.
The Georgian Foreign Ministry said on November 1 it had no detailed information about the case as it was handled by the Interior Ministry.
”This issue is totally under the Interior Ministry's [competence]... We have no precise information yet about the issue,” Nino Kalandadze, the deputy foreign minister, said.
1 Nov. '10 Iranischer Außenminister besucht Georgien
1 Nov. '10 Opposition möchte das Format von Gesprächen zur Wahlreform aushandeln
31 Oct. '10 Flut tötet Mann bei Zugdidi in der Samegrelo-Region, als sein Auto mit fünf Insassen auf einer Brücke mitgerissen wurde
30 Oct. '10 Russisches Außenministerium: Moskau habe keine Kenntnisse zu Details bezüglich der Verhaftung von ‘Agenten’
Russia is not aware of details of reported arrest by Georgia twenty of its citizens on suspicion of spying for Moscow, Russia’s Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov, said on October 30.
“As far as I know, we are talking about the Georgian citizens. We do not know anything but that,” Lavrov, who is Hanoi, was quoted by the Russian news agencies.
News about the arrest of alleged spies in Georgia was reported by Reuters on Friday evening, citing unnamed Georgian security sources. The Georgian Interior Ministry declines to confirm or deny the report and no official comment on the matter is expected until next week.
The Russian daily, Kommersant, reported quoting a Russian Foreign Ministry representative: “We have seen reports about alleged arrest of spies. But as far as there are no diplomatic relations between the two countries because of Tbilisi’s initiative, it is impossible for us to promptly find out what has happened. What is important and to what we have paid our attention is that the Georgian citizens are mentioned; so one should address the Georgian authorities for clarification.”
According to the Reuter’s report all the detainees are suspected of creating a spy network in Georgia and delivering secret information to Russia. It was reported in the Georgian media sources on October 30, that the detainees are also suspected of gathering sensitive information about procurements by the Interior Ministry and Ministry of Defense.
30 Oct. '10 Georgien zieht in Betracht, einen zehnjährigen Eurobond herauszugeben
29 Oct. '10 Nach Berichten sollen 20 russische Agenten festgenommen worden sein
Reuters reported on Friday evening, citing unnamed Georgian security sources, that 20 people have been arrested on suspicion of spying for Russia.
According to the report detainees, all Georgian citizens, are suspected of creating a spy network and delivering secret information to Russia.
Details remain sketchy and the Interior Ministry representative declined to comment.
“We do not comment on the matter; I can neither confirm nor deny [the report],” Shota Utiashvili, head of the information and analytical department of the Georgian Interior Ministry, told Civil.ge
29 Oct. '10 Abchasisch-russische Kommission zu Eigentumsfragen ist eingeführt
29 Oct. '10 Regierungspartei antwortet den Aufrufen der Opposition nach Gesprächen zu einer Wahlreform
 (The text is updated and adds background and a ruling party MP’s quote on format of possible talks)
Talks on electoral system reform should start from the blank page without any "pre-prepared" proposals, Davit Bakradze, the parliamentary chairman, said on October 28.
The remarks were made in an apparent response to a group of eight opposition parties, which on October 4 put forth a joint package of proposals on election system reform.
The same group of parties, which includes non-parliamentary opposition except of Christian-Democratic Movement (CDM), on October 12 made a written appeal to President Saakashvili and Parliamentary Chairman Bakradze, requesting for launch of talks on the proposals put forth by them a week earlier and also expressing readiness to discuss other election-related proposals, which the authorities might deem necessary.
"I am ready to meet all those political parties, which are ready to come to the Parliament without any preconditions and ultimatums with readiness for compromise. There is readiness for compromise and openness on our part; we welcome any political party with similar stance and we are ready to work with them," Bakradze told journalists on October 28.
"[The process] of improving electoral environment should be based on mutual confidence, negotiations and agreement between the parties and I do not think that ultimatum or pre-prepared documents will contribute to the process," he said.
Although the written appeal made by the eight opposition parties does not contain any tough-worded formulation, in public statements leaders of National Forum party, which was in forefront of calls for election system reform in recent months, were warning that the authorities refusal to agree on the opposition's proposal might become a reason for launching street protest rallies.
Going into negotiations with already prepared package of proposals has been described by the ruling party lawmakers as an ultimatum.
"It's not a cooperation when one comes with already prepared recipes," MP Giorgi Gabashvili of the ruling party said on October 28.
"It seems our opposition, mainly the non-parliamentary one, has not learnt that it should not speak on the language of ultimatum," MP Petre Tsiskarishvili, the leader of parliamentary majority, said on October 28.
Opposition politicians say that after the joint appeal was made the authorities appeared in unfavorable position, because on the one hand, they say, the ruling party was unwilling to improve the election system, but on the other hand it was also realizing that saying openly no to reasonable proposals of the opposition would discredit the authorities.
"They [the ruling party] try to anger us and make us say no to talks. But on behalf of the Republican Party I can say that we will not say no and we are ready for talks," Davit Usupashvili, leader of the Republican Party, which is among the group of eight parties, told Kavkasia TV on October 28.
"They were criticizing us saying that we had no vision, but now when we put concrete proposals they say it is an ultimatum," he added.
The Parliamentary Chairman made his October 28 statement just after a several parties from the parliamentary minority group called for talks on the election system reform. Statements made by them were much in line with those of the ruling party. Leader of National-Democratic Party, which has one seat in the Parliament, said the legislative body should be in the center of such talks and negotiations should be held without "any preconditions and ultimatums."
MP Giorgi Targamadze, leader of parliamentary minority and of Christian-Democratic Movement (CDM), said that the initiative coming from the parliamentary minority was not not in any way overlapping the one made by the eight opposition parties to which CDM was also part.
On July 21, 2010 Parliamentary Chairman, Davit Bakradze, called on the opposition for resumption of an inter-party working group on electoral reform “to further improve the electoral environment” before 2012 parliamentary elections. He was referring to the inter-party group, which was holding talks hosted by the U.S. National Democratic Institute (NDI) ahead of the May, 2010 local elections. Although the group developed amendments to the election code, it became deadlocked on some key aspects and eventual agreement failed within that group.
A group of seven opposition parties said in a joint statement on July 29, 2010 that “fair” format of talks were needed for resumption of election-related talks. The ruling party lawmakers say that the opposition’s reluctance to engage in the same format which was working ahead of local elections became a reason for delaying the process.
“We are ready to meet the opposition and jointly agree on a possible format of talks,” Akaki Minashvili, a senior lawmaker from the ruling party told Civil.ge on October 29.
28 Oct. '10 Abgeordnete verabschieden ‘Liberty Charter’ in erster Lesung
28 Oct. '10 Tbilisi, Tskhinvali nehmen Treffen im Rahmen des "Incident Prevention and Response Mechanism" auf
Officials from Tbilisi and Tskhinvali, as well as representatives of the Russian armed forces in breakaway South Ossetia resumed on October 28 series of meetings in frames of Incident Prevention and Response Mechanism (IPRM) to address routine security concerns and developments on the ground.
The meeting, facilitated by EU Monitoring Mission (EUMM) and OSCE, was held in the village of Ergneti on the administrative border and was the first after an interruption of IPRM meetings over one year ago. IPRM meetings are regularly held on the Abkhaz direction.
EUMM said after the meeting that the agenda covered a number of issues, most of them concerning the daily lives of the civilian population along the administrative boundary line.
“An overview of the incidents since the beginning of 2010 indicates a decrease of the general tension in the region. The meeting passed in a businesslike and constructive atmosphere,” EUMM said.
The next, eighth meeting in frames of the IPRM, is scheduled for December 10.
28 Oct. '10 Abgeordneter Tamaz Diasamidze aus der Regierungspartei ausgeschlossen wegen Meinungsverschiedenheiten in Schlüsselfragen
28 Oct. '10 Führende parlamentarische Kommittees befürworten ‘Liberty Charter’
Parliament passed with 75 votes to 1 package of proposals known under the name Liberty Charter with its first reading on October 28.
The package, sponsored by MP Gia Tortladze and supported by the ruling party, includes measures to restrict public display of Soviet and Nazi symbols and restrictions on former Soviet functionaries to hold public office.
The draft also envisages, what the author calls, boosting “security and anti-terrorism measures”, including through video surveillance systems, which should cover all “the strategic facilities” – the measure, which the Interior Ministry has already started to use.
Commercial banks will have “to immediately submit information” to the Interior Ministry in case of transfer of at least GEL 25,000 (instead of GEL 10,000 as it was envisaged by initial draft) from abroad on accounts of organizations or individual persons in Georgia, according to the draft passed with the first reading.
In respect of restriction of public display of Soviet and Nazi symbols the bill proposes to establish a state commission, which will “gather information” about existence of symbols, monuments, statues, inscriptions, names of streets or squares, which may reflect or contain “elements of communist or fascist ideology and propaganda.”
The state commission, composed by the President from members nominated by each parliamentary faction, will then take decision on applying ban in each individual case.
The same commission will be in charge of implementing measures known as lustration - excluding former Communist Party functionaries and officers of and collaborators with the ex-Soviet secret service KGB from serving in the state structures.
The package, however, envisaged a limited lustration, meaning that the measure would not make the entire list of former KGB agents publicly available. It should only be available for the state commission, which will be in charge of preventing such persons from taking senior or mid-level posts in the government. The restriction will also apply to such positions like judges, members of the communications and electricity regulatory commissions, employees of interior and defense ministries with the rank of vice-colonel or above, as well as rectors of and holders of other senior posts in the state universities.
Lawmaker from the ruling party, Pavle Kublashvili, who chairs parliamentary committee for legal affairs, said that the draft would require improvements and some of its provisions might be amended before its adoption with the second reading.
MP Gia Arsenishvili, the chairman of the parliamentary committee for human rights, described the draft law as “important,” though added that “some time” would be required in order to further improve the draft before its discussion with the second reading.
28 Oct. '10 Gruppe schiebt ihr Paket eines Gesetzesentwurfes zu Medien an
Zu dieser Gruppe gehören unter anderen Lasha Tugushi, Herausgeber der Tageszeitung "Rezonansi"; Medienforscherin Nino Danelia, Gesetzesexperte Giorgi Chkheidze and Vakhtang Khmaladze.
A group of media and legal experts launched a campaign to push forward package of media-related bill, which they have elaborated in order to, as they say, improve media environment in the country.
The package, which includes eight drafts of legislative amendments, among other issues, also addresses need for full transparency of media ownership and finances of media organizations.
The group started developing the package of proposals long before announcement by Parliamentary Chairman, Davit Bakradze, who said on October 26 that the new law would be passed, which would secure transparency of media ownership and finances. He said the draft law would be elaborated within next two weeks.
The initiative was overwhelmingly praised, but those who have long advocated for such measures also say that they have yet to see what the actual wording of the draft proposed by the authorities will be; media activists also say that this measure will not be enough and additional steps are required to improve media environment in the country and to fill legislative loopholes in this regard.
The group, involving among others Lasha Tugushi, an editor-in-chief of the Georgian daily Rezonansi; media researcher Nino Danelia, as well as legal experts Giorgi Chkheidze and Vakhtang Khmaladze, elaborated the package of proposals, which also addresses such issues like easing access to public information – the problem over which many journalists are increasingly complaining recently.
The proposal also offers measures for reducing timeframe of lengthy practice of court deliberations into the cases involving denial by the state structures access to public information and waiving court fees for such cases. It also addresses broadcasters’ licensing issues, as well as problems related with conflict of interest in the broadcast media and clear-cut regulations for media advertisement. The group said it planned series of meeting with senior lawmakers to lobby for the bill.
Georgian Public Defender, Giorgi Tugushi, to whom the package was presented on October 27, praised the proposal as “perfect”. He said that even his office encounters problems while trying to receive public information from number of the state structures.
28 Oct. '10 Präsident Saakashvili 'optimistisch' über Wachstum bei den ausländischen Direktinvestitionen
27 Oct. '10 Tbilisi standfest in den Bedingungen zum russischen WTO-Beitritt
Georgia will not back down from its position over Russia's WTO entry terms, President Saakashvili said in an interview with Reuters on October 27.
"We will stick to our principles for as long as it takes," Saakashvili said.
The Georgian president was speaking with Reuters on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum on the Middle East and North Africa in the Moroccan city of Marrakesh.
Georgia says that it is not against of Russia's WTO entry, but under the condition that Moscow makes border crossing points in breakaway Abkhazia and South Ossetia "transparent".
"We still do not see much will from Russia to reach out to us," Saakashvili said. "We are ready for serious, meaningful talks about the issues but we have certain issues that cannot be overlooked and cannot be overcome by neglect."
27 Oct. '10 Neue Partei reklamiert politische Motive hinter der Verhaftung des Bruders des Ex-Verteidigers der Bürgerrechte Sozar Subari
27 Oct. '10 Zentralbank errhöht den Leitzins auf 7.5%
27 Oct. '10 Flüchtling aus Abchasien versucht sich selbst zu verbrennen vor dem Ministerium für intern Vertriebene
Die 46-jährige Nana Pipia, die bis 2000 in Zugdidi lebte und dann nach Tbilisi kam, soll nach dem Ministerium die angebotene Unterkunft in einer provinziellen Region abgelehnt haben. Sie gehörte nicht zu einer Gruppe von Demonstranten, die seit Tagen vor dem Ministerium kampiert und Unterkünfte in Tbilisi fordert. Vielmehr soll Nana Pipia vor der Tat zu den Demonstranten gesagt haben, dass sie das gleiche Problem habe und sich selbst "opfern" wolle, um das Problem zu lösen.
A 46-year-old woman set herself on fire outside the ministry in charge of displaced persons on October 27, media sources and witnesses said.
Nana Pipia, who is an internally displaced person from Abkhazia, was hospitalized with burns to 32 percent of her body and her condition is “grave”, a doctor said.
Witnesses said Pipia poured petrol on herself and set herself ablaze in protest against the authorities’ refusal to provide dwelling in the capital city.
A group of IDPs are camped outside the Ministry of Internally Displaced Persons from the Occupied Territories, Accommodation and Refugees, demanding to provide them with dwelling space in Tbilisi, instead of provincial regions. Several IDPs protesting outside the ministry said although Nana Pipia was not protesting with them throughout these days, she came and told them that she had the similar problem and would “sacrifice” herself to resolving this problem.
After the self-immolation incident, a representative from of the Ministry of Internally Displaced Persons from the Occupied Territories, Accommodation and Refugees said it was impossible to resolve the problem through such “extreme measures.”
“It is impossible to provide everyone with a dwelling in Tbilisi. We are offering living space in ownership [to IDPs] in the provinces and those who are willing to accept should use this opportunity. The problem can not be resolved through this kind of extreme measures [referring to self-immolation],” a spokesperson of the ministry told journalists.
According to the ministry after fleeing Abkhazia in early 90s, Nana Pipia lived in Zugdidi before moving to Tbilisi in 2000. The ministry said that it had offered a dwelling to her in the provincial region, but she refused.
27 Oct. '10 "Georgische Post" steht zur Privatisierung bis 1.12. ausgeschrieben
26 Oct. '10 Abgeordnete verabschieden den Vorschlag zur ‘Kobuleti Free Tourism Zone’
26 Oct. '10 Visa-Erleichterungen und Neuzulassungsabkommen zwischen der EU und Georgien sind bei dem Komitee für Bürgerrechte des Europaparlaments bestätigt worden und stehen im November zur Abstimmung an
EU-Georgia visa facilitation and readmission treaties will be put to the vote at the plenary session of the European Parliament in November.
Meanwhile, the treaties were endorsed by the European Parliament’s Civil Liberties Committee on October 26, according to the European Parliament’s press service.
The visa facilitation, signed by Georgia and EU in June, will include, among other things, issuing multiple-entry visas with a long period of validity to certain categories of applicants including businesspeople, journalists and family members of Georgian citizens residing in the EU. The agreement cuts the current EUR 60 visa fee to EUR 35 and also envisages waiving fees for specific categories such as children, family members of Georgian citizens residing in the EU, representatives of civil society organisations. The agreement will exempt holders of diplomatic passports from the visa obligation.
The visa facilitation agreement applies to all EU-member states, except of the UK and Denmark, according to the Georgian Foreign Ministry. The readmission treaty applies to the EU, with the exclusion of Ireland and Denmark, whereas the UK has expressed its wish to be a party to the agreement, according to the European Parliament’s Committee on Foreign Affairs.სიგნ
Readmission agreements lays out obligations and procedures for the authorities of EU member states and the third countries with whom the treaty is signed as to when and how to take back people who are illegally residing on the territories of the parties.
The agreement on visa facilitation will go into force together with readmission treaty a month after these two are ratified by both the European Parliament and the Georgian legislative body.
26 Oct. '10 Abgeordnete werden ein Paket von Vorschlägen, von seinem Gia Tortladze ‘Liberty Charter’ genannt, besprechen
Es geht um Maßnahmen, die das Zeigen von Sowjet- und Nazi-Symbolen in der Öffentlichkeit beschränken sollen, ebenso um Beschränkungen von früheren Sowjet-Funktionären beim Führen öffentlicher Büros und auch um einen Vorschlag, Sicherheitsmaßnahmen anzukurbeln.
Lawmakers from leading parliamentary committees will discuss this week a package of proposals involving measures to restrict public display of Soviet and Nazi symbols, restrictions on former Soviet functionaries to hold public office, as well as proposal to boost security measures.
The bill, dubbed by its sponsor MP Gia Tortladze as Liberty Charter, calls for boosting video surveillance systems to cover all “the strategic facilities” – the measure, which the Interior Ministry has already started to use.
Commercial banks will have “to immediately submit information” to the Interior Ministry in case of transfer of at least GEL 10,000 from abroad on accounts of organizations or individual persons in Georgia, according to the proposal.
In respect of restriction of public display of Soviet and Nazi symbols the bill proposes to establish a state commission, which will “gather information” about existence of symbols, monuments, statues, inscriptions, names of streets or squares, which may reflect or contain “elements of communist or fascist ideology and propaganda.”
The state commission, composed by the President from members nominated by each parliamentary faction, will then take decision on applying ban in each individual case.
The same commission will be in charge of implementing measures known as lustration - excluding former Communist Party functionaries and officers of and collaborators with the ex-Soviet secret service KGB from serving in the state structures.
According to the proposal, persons who served for the Soviet secret and security services, or held official posts in the Communist Party will be banned from holding senior or mid-level posts in the government; the restriction will also apply to judges, members of the communications and electricity regulatory commissions, employees of interior and defense ministries with the rank of vice-colonel or above, as well as rectors of and holders of other senior posts in the state universities.
A person, who cooperated with Soviet secret services or was a Communist Party functionary, will be able to run for an elective post, but in that case the person will have to publicize a full record of his or her past links with the Soviet authorities, according to the proposal.
Draft law on lustration was tabled in the previous Parliament by the opposition, but it was voted down by the ruling party in February, 2007. Even if adopted this time, the law may have limited effect in practice, as many of the archive materials necessary for identifying former KGB agents is kept in Moscow and is unlikely to become available for Georgia.
The Liberty Charter was discussed by the parliamentary committee for legal affairs in March, 2010, but the bill was shelved since then. MP Tortladze, who chairs Democratic Party of Georgia, has modified the bill by including measures on restricting public display of Soviet and Nazi symbols. The bill will be discussed at a joint hearing of parliamentary committees on legal affairs, human rights and defense and security to decide whether to proceed with its consideration further at the parliamentary session.
26 Oct. '10 Georgien nur um zwei Plätze verschlechtert beim "Transparency International Corruption Index"
Georgia has fallen from 66th place to 68th out of 178 countries on the Transparency International’s (TI) 2010 Corruption Perceptions Index released on October 26.
The index gave Georgia score of 3.8, against 4.1 in 2009 and 3.9 in 2008.
The index scores countries on a scale from 0 - perceived to be highly corrupt to 10 - perceived to have low levels of corruption.
Transparency International Georgia said the decline in Georgia’s score was “not substantial” and added that areas of concern remain “the urgent need for judicial reform, protection of property rights, a lack of transparency in public spending (including the Reserve Funds for the President, the Mayor of Tbilisi and the Government), grand corruption among top-level officials, opaque media ownership and financing, as well as a general low level of civil society involvement in the planning and execution of public policy.”
"Georgia’s score shows that corruption has not been eradicated and continues to be an issue that needs to be addressed", Mathias Huter, acting director of TI Georgia said.
Georgia is ranked between Italy (67) and Brazil (69) and is ahead of other former Soviet states, except of the Baltic States, as well as ahead of EU-member Romania, Bulgaria and Greece.
26 Oct. '10 Parlamentspräsident Davit Bakradze: Georgien möchte die Eigentumsverhältnisse von Mediengesellschaften ‘völlig transparent’ machen
25 Oct. '10 Außenhandel von Jan-Sept um 17% angestiegen gegenüber dem Vorjahr
25 Oct. '10 Außenminister Grigol Vashadze trifft neben dem EU-Außenministertreffen in Luxemburg die Minister, die sich zu einer neuen Gruppe zusammengefunden haben, bekannt als "New Group of Friends of Georgia"
   * Vashadze: ‘Talks with Russia inevitable; but difficult to say when’
Georgian Foreign Minister, Grigol Vashadze, met with counterparts from the Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Estonia, Lithuania and Hungary, as well as Romanian, Latvian, Polish, Danish, Swedish and Finnish diplomats on sideline of EU foreign ministers’ meeting in Luxembourg on October 25.
These EU-member countries represent a grouping known as New Group of Friends of Georgia and the meeting took place just before the EU foreign ministers’ meeting, agenda of which, among other issues, also includes situation in Georgia.
According to a press release issued by EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton’s office, she was due to brief ministers about her recent visit to Georgia in mid-July, when Georgia and EU launched Association Agreement talks.
“Ministers will look at the situation in Georgia and its relations with its neighbors as well as with the EU,” according to the press release.
In an interview with the Russian newspaper, Vremya Novostei, published on October 25, the Georgian Foreign Minister reiterated that Tbilisi was ready to talks with Moscow “without pre-conditions at any time and any place.”
He, however, said it would be “an illusion” to think that Georgia would talk with Russia on resumption of export of Georgian products on the Russian market.
“Talks will be about withdrawal of Russian troops from Georgia, restoration of territorial integrity of our country, as well as about voluntary return of refugees [to Abkhazia and South Ossetia] in safety and dignity. These are the foundations on which our relations with Russia can be normalized. We, of course, understand that Russia’s interests should also be taken into consideration in these talks,” Vashadze said.
“Talks with Russia are inevitable; they will definitely be held, but it’s difficult to say when,” he added.
On Russia’s WTO entry terms, Vashadze said Tbilisi was not thinking much on the issue. “Let Moscow itself think about it. WTO has clear-cut rules and procedures, which Russia is violating by its actions on border with Georgia,” he said.
25 Oct. '10 Premierminister Nika Gilauri zu Arbeitsbesuch in China und dann in Indien
24 Oct. '10 Präsident Saakashvili auf dem frankophonen Gipfel in Montreux, Schweiz
Eine der neuen Resolutionen, die von den Gipfelteilnehmern verabschiedet wurden, befaßte sich mit der territorialen Integrität Georgiens und bezog sich auch auft die letzte UN-Resolution zu den intern Vertriebenen aus Abchasien und Südossetien.
President Saakashvili participated in the Francophone Summit in Montreux, Switzerland, the Georgian President’s administration said on Sunday.
Among nine resolutions, adopted by the participants of the summit, one deals with conflicts, which reaffirms supports for Georgia’s territorial integrity and call for full implementation of the August 12, 2008 ceasefire agreement, as well as by referring to UN General Assembly’s recent resolution, calls for return of refugees and displaced persons to their homes in Abkhazia and South Ossetia in safety and dignity.
23 Oct. '10 Gerichtshof von Tbilisi ordnet Untersuchungshaft für den Aktivisten Zaza Chakvetadze vom oppositionellen "National Forum" an wegen Widerstands gegen die Polizei
The Tbilisi City Court on October 23 sent an activist from the opposition National Forum party, who is charged with resisting police, to pre-trial detention pending investigation.
Police arrested Zaza Chakvetadze on October 21, during the incident outside the Lilo outdoor market in Tbilisi outskirts, when a group of vendors and National Forum party activists scuffled with the market security guard.
Chakvetadze denies charges. Gubaz Sanikidze, one of the leaders of the National Forum party, said after the court order was announced, that Chakvetadze was “a political prisoner.”
Chakvetadze faces either fine or up to five years in prison if convicted.
22 Oct. '10 Tschetschenischer Pro-Kreml-Führer Ramzan Kadyrov wirft Tbilisi die Unterstützung von Militanten in Tschetschenien vor
Chechnya's Kremlin-backed President, Ramzan Kadyrov, said that Georgia remained "almost the only" external force helping militants in Chechnya. "There are few remaining sources of serious support - moral and financial - to the militants. Previously they had been receiving financial assistance and weapons via the Georgian territory; whole groups of gangs were sent to Chechnya through Georgia. Even today it can be said, that almost the only source from where the militants are assisted, where the militants are trained, is Georgia," Kadyrov was quoted by the Russian news agencies as saying in Grozny on October 22.
22 Oct. '10 Berufungsgericht hält Gerichtsurteil im Mukhrovani-Fall weitgehend aufrecht
The Court of Appeals has largely upheld a verdict of lower court into the case known as Mukhrovani mutiny, which took place in a tank battalion outside Tbilisi on May 5, 2009.
On October 21 the three-judge panel upheld prison sentence for all 17 defendants, some of them former military commanders convicted to a lengthy jail terms, who have appealed the January 11 verdict of the Tbilisi City Court.
The Court of Appeals has also refused to accept prosecution’s appeal requesting to re-qualify charges of seven civilian defendants into mutiny to overthrow the government; this was the charge for which they were brought before the lower court by the prosecution, but the Tbilisi City Court ruled that the crime committed by these seven civilians’ should instead be qualified as providing assistance to disobedience and not as a mutiny to overthrow the government.
The three-judge panel, chaired by Tamar Alania, announced the verdict just 50 minutes after hearing final arguments of most of the defense lawyers and closing statements by the defendants themselves at a hearing on October 21.
In their closing statements two former military commanders, convicted for mutiny to overthrow the government,  Shota Gorgiashvili and Levan Amiridze, reiterated their position that developments in Mukhrovani military unit on May 5, 2009 was an expression of their protest against the military command and a military parade, which was planned at the time, and that they had never intended to stage a coup. The verdict can be appealed to Supreme Court within a month.
21 Oct. '10 Händler protestieren wegen 'empfindlicher Steuerstrafen'
Georgia's one of the largest outdoor markets in Tbilisi outskirts was stalled on October 20, when part of vendors there went on a brief strike complaining against, what they call, complicated tax regulation and strict tax enforcement resulting in severe penalties.
Traders at Lilo bazaar complained that dozens of shops were closed down by the tax authorities after finding alleged violations and for the purpose of further inspection of financial papers.  
The rally outside the market was joined by a group of opposition politicians from the National Forum party, whose leaders, present there, said they had arrived after they were informed by traders about thier problems. When the opposition politicians and traders, accompanied by journalists, decided to enter inside the market to see closed shops, the personnel from the market security service barred them from entry, leading to a scuffle. During the incident police, which intervened later, arrested one activist from the National Forum.
The tax authorities have denied that shops were closed in the market and said that it was a routine tax inspection to reveal cases of tax evasion through violation of accounting rules.
Earlier in October dozens of vendors were rounded up at another market in Tbilisi in connection to, what the authorities said was, a fake importation document scheme. Twenty nine traders were released on bail and five of them sent to a pre-trial detention.
21 Oct. '10 Nino Burjanadze: Präsident Saakashvili provoziere Russland in der Nordkaukasus-Frage
Nino Burjanadze, ex-parliamentary speaker and leader of opposition Democratic Movement-United Georgia, said President Saakashvili was playing “a dangerous game” by “poking” Russia over its troubled North Caucasus region.
“Everyone is well aware of how painful and difficult this issue is for Russia. What [happens] if you are get one more hit from bear's paw as a result of permanently provoking Russia on this issue? No one will blame [Russia] and we have already seen that no one came here with their tanks to stop Russian tanks,” Burjanadze told journalists on October 21.
21 Oct. '10 Tskhinvali sagt, der Abzug aus dem Dorf Perevi sei 'voreilig'
It was "premature" to remove the Russian checkpoint from the village of Perevi, as construction of alternative road linking nearby South Ossetian village with the rest of region is not yet completed, an official from the breakaway region said.
"Although Perevi is outside the border of former Autonomous District of South Ossetia, removal of [Russian] outpost from there was premature," Boris Chochiev, the breakaway region's envoy for post-conflict issues, said.
Russia, which pulled its small military unit from Perevi on October 18, was controlling in the village a small local road linking village of Karzmani within the administrative borders of former Autonomous District of South Ossetia with rest of the breakaway region. The Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement on October 19, which was released in connection to withdrawal from Perevi, that "a 10-plus km bypass road had been built in difficult mountain terrain to connect the Karzmanskoye gorge to the rest of South Ossetia."
But in remarks posted on a website of the breakaway region's authorities on October 20, Boris Chochiev said that the new road was not yet completed.
"Construction of the road, linking the South Ossetian village of Sinagur with Karzman, should have been completed in 2008. We have been assured that residents of Karzman would have been under the South Ossetian authorities' control, but the road is not yet built. I was categorically against of this move [removal of Russian checkpoint from Perevi]. Those structures are to be blamed, which were in charge of construction of the road. They have misinformed Moscow, as well as us," Chochiev said.
20 Oct. '10 Georgien im Index der Pressefreihet RSF von den "Reportern ohne Grenzen" auf Platz 99 zurückgefallen
Georgia has declined in an annual press freedom index released by the Paris-based media rights group, Reporters Without Borders (RSF), on October 20.
Georgia is ranked 99th in the table of 178 countries with 27 points in the survey covering the period between September 2009 and September 2010. Georgia was ranked  81st with  18.83 points in last year's similar survey. More points indicate on the worse media situation.
RSF compiles its annual survey based on 43 criteria measuring, among other violations, attacks and violence against journalists, as well as censorship and impunity enjoyed by those responsible for press freedom violation. RSF says that assessments based on these criteria are made through questionnaire sent to its partner organizations, or other independent sources in the countries which are surveyed.
20 Oct. '10 Moskau in der Frage um die WTO-Mitgliedschaft: "sozusagen eine kreative Lösung" müsse zum Einsatz kommen, um Georgiens Einwände zu beseitigen
USA führen Gespräche mit Russland: Russland's Bewerbung um die Mitgliedschaft könne noch in diesem Jahr erfolgreich abgearbeitet werden. Die georgische Position in dieser Sache sei während der "enorm konstruktiven" Gespräche angesprochen worden.
Moscow recognizes that “some sort of creative solution” needs to be applied to remove Georgia’s objection to Russia’s WTO membership, an economic adviser to U.S. President Barack Obama said on October 20, without elaborating how the issue can be resolved.
Lawrence Summers, an outgoing director of President Obama’s National Economic Council, who held talks with Russian officials in Moscow, said that Russia’s bid to join WTO may be successfully completed within a year.
He also said that Georgia’s position on the matter was raised during his “enormously constructive” talks with Russia’s First Deputy Prime Minister, Igor Shuvalov, Reuters reported.
Georgian senior officials, including PM Nika Gilauri, have reiterated for number of times recently, that Georgia supports Russia’s WTO accession, but with one condition – Russia should follow WTO rules, they said.
In particular, the Georgian officials say that they want Russia to make customs checkpoints located in Abkhazia and South Ossetia, two breakaway regions which Russia has recognized as independent states, "transparent".
Georgian State Minister for Reintegration, Temur Iakobashvili, told journalists on October 20, that Georgia was ready to consider any proposal on how to resolve dispute on Russia’s WTO entry, provided that “the principles are observed.”
“Georgia has reasonable position. We demand from Russia to follow the rules of the organization, which it wants to join. We are ready to discuss any proposals, which Russia or the United States may offer. The important thing here is that the principle should be observed,” he said.
The White House announced earlier this month that the U.S. and Russia made the "substantial progress" in resolving bilateral issues and that Russia had taken "significant steps" toward joining WTO.
"President Obama pledged to support Russia's efforts to complete remaining steps in multilateral negotiations so that Russia could join the WTO as soon as possible," the White House said in a statement after a phone conversation between the Russian and U.S. Presidents on October 1.
20 Oct. '10 Georgien verurteilt Moskau's "zynische" Haltung zum Sechs-Punkte-Abkommen
    * Sarkozy calls for non-use of force commitment;
Russia said that with removal of its outpost from the village of Perevi the issue of "alleged non-compliance" with EU-mediated ceasefire agreement by Moscow had been "definitively closed."
“We hope that this move of the Russian side, aimed at reducing tensions on the borders of Georgia and South Ossetia, will receive adequate and constructive response from the Georgian side and the international community,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement on October 19.
Tbilisi said Russia’s statement was “yet another cynical attempt” to avoid full implementation of its commitments under the August 12, 2008 six-point ceasefire agreement, which, among other issues, envisages pull back of the Russian troops on the pre-August war positions.
Georgia says that withdrawal from Perevi is only a tiny part of Russia’s commitments and, as Georgian Deputy Foreign Minister, Giga Bokeria put it, Perevi was only less than 1% of Georgia’s occupied territories.
Russia’s attempt to portray withdrawal from Perevi as a full implementation of its commitments “is doom for a failure,” the Georgian Foreign Ministry said and added that the international community had already made it clear that Russia should fully comply with the agreement.
EU foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton, welcomed Russia’s withdrawal from Perevi and said in a statement on October 18: “I look forward to further progress towards the full implementation of the EU-brokered Six Point Agreement of 12 August 2008 and its Implementing Measures of 8 September 2008.”
French President, Nicolas Sarkozy, thanked his Russia counterpart, Dmitry Medvedev, at a meeting in French seaside town of Deauville on October 19 for withdrawal from the village of Perevi and said it was “a significant step” and “a significant progress.”
Speaking at a joint news conference with the Russian President and German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, in Deauville, Sarkozy also said that it would be good if Russia agreed on allowing international monitors to enter Abkhazia and South Ossetia.
At the same news conference Sarkozy, who mediated the August 12 six-point accord and its follow-up September 8, 2008 agreement, called on Georgia to undertake non-use of force commitment. The French President did not elaborate further on the issue.
Russia has long been insisting that Tbilisi should sign non-use of treaties with Sokhumi and Tskhinvali, or at least should make unilateral written declaration on non-use of force. Georgia says that such commitment has already been undertaken under the six-point ceasefire agreement and there is no need for a separate treaty. Tbilisi is also against of signing such treaty with Tskhinvali and Sokhumi and says that even if such agreement is signed Russia should be part of the treaty and not, as Tbilisi puts it, “Russia’s proxy regimes” in Tskhinvali and Sokhumi. Tbilisi also insists that such treaty with Moscow should also envisage establishment of new international security arrangement in Abkhazia and South Ossetia, which eventually should lead to “complete de-occupation” of these two regions.
The issue is part of and one of the most contentious points in the Geneva talks.
The U.S. delegation in the Geneva talks mainly shares Tbilisi’s position saying that the six-point ceasefire agreement already “establishes the sides’ commitment to the non-use of force", which makes an additional, separate agreement “unnecessary”. According to the U.S. position on the matter, voiced after the eleventh round of Geneva talks in June 2010, another non-use of force agreement has to be “among the relevant parties, including the Russian Federation” and it should reflect concerns of all parties.
19 Oct. '10 Diplomaten aus Georgien und Iran treffen sich, um einen Besuch der Außenminister abzusprechen
19 Oct. '10 Israel's Präsident ruft Präsident Saakashvili an bezüglich eines verhafteten Geschäftsmannes
19 Oct. '10 EU begrüßt den russischen Abzug aus dem Dorf Perevi
EU foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton, welcomed removal of Russian checkpoint from the village of Perevi just outside breakaway South Ossetia as “a positive development on the ground.”
“I look forward to further progress towards the full implementation of the EU-brokered Six Point Agreement of 12 August 2008 and its Implementing Measures of 8 September 2008,” Ashton said in a statement on October 18.
She said that EU Monitoring Mission in Georgia (EUMM) was in contact with the Russian and Georgian authorities “to ensure that the withdrawal is carried out in an orderly and peaceful manner.”
“I call on all parties to make real efforts towards further normalisation on the ground and to continue engaging in dialogue as the only means to address the consequences of the conflict, including the humanitarian situation," Ashton said.
18 Oct. '10 Russische Soldaten ziehen aus dem Dorf Perevi bei Südossetien ab
Georgien sagt, dass sei "ein Schritt in die richtige Richtung".
Russian troops pulled back from a small village of Perevi at the western part of administrative border of breakaway South Ossetian on Monday evening.
Georgia said the withdrawal was "a step made in the right direction."
"The de-occupation of each village is of outmost importance for Georgia and especially for the population residing in those villages," the Georgian Foreign Ministry said in a statement on October 18.
"However, it should be emphasized that the withdrawal of Russian occupational forces from Perevi is just a miniscule step in comparison with commitments envisaged by the ceasefire agreement of 12 August 2008 which Russia still has to comply with," it said.
Russian forces in the village were controlling a small local road, which was linking a nearby South Ossetian village to the rest of the breakaway region. Russian Deputy Foreign Minister, Grigory Karasin, said on October 14, when the announcement about the intention to pull out from Perevi was made, that Russian border guard troops, had built a new route alternative to the one running through Perevi and Russian forces were ready to withdraw.
The village of Perevi administratively falls under the Sachkhere district and was the only area outside the administrative borders of breakaway South Ossetia, which remained under the Russian control following the August, 2008 war. In December, 2008 Russian troops briefly pulled back from the village, but re-entered and re-installed checkpoints there only hours after the withdrawal. Russia cited a prompt deployment of the Georgian Interior Ministry forces in Perevi as a reason behind the decision to retake control over the village.
18 Oct. '10 Stellvertretende Außenministerin Nino Kalandadze: Tbilisi ist bereit für visafreie Regelungen mit dem Iran
18 Oct. '10 Venedig-Kommission veröffentlicht abschließende Meinung zur neuen Verfassung
Die abschließende Meinung ist in der Linie der zweiten Vorabempfehlungen: mehrere wichtige Verbesserungen und signifikante Schritte in die richtige Richtung, wobei eine weitere Stärkung des Parlaments nochmals betrachtet werden sollte
Council of Europe’s advisory body for legal affairs, Venice Commission, released on October 18, it final opinion on Georgia’s constitutional reform adopted by the Commission at its session on October 15-16.
The final opinion is in line with the Commission’s second preliminary recommendations, released on October 8, a week before the Georgian Parliament passed the draft of constitutional amendments with its third and final reading.
The Commission reiterates in its final opinion that the new constitution system in Georgia, which will go into force upon the inauguration of next president, elected in October 2013, “provide for several important improvements and significant steps in the right direction, which the Venice Commission welcomes.”
“The Commission considers nevertheless that it would be desirable to further strengthen the powers of parliament. In this respect, the provisions on the formation of the government and especially those on the motion of non-confidence, as well as those about the parliament’s powers in budget matters, should be reconsidered,” the Venice Commission said.
18 Oct. '10 Untersuchung des Angriffs bei einer abchasischen Moschee in Gudauta ‘nahe dem Ende’
17 Oct. '10 Merabishvili zur Visafreiheit für Nordkaukasier:  dies werde der Integration Georgiens und dieser Region helfen, die unter dem Terror der russischen Streitkräfte leide
Georgia's decision to introduce 90-day visa-free entry rules for Russian citizens residing in North Caucasus will help integration between Georgia and in this region, suffering from the Russian federal forces' "terror", Vano Merabishvili, the Georgian interior minister, said.
"Those living in the North Caucasus are under the [Russian] federal power-wielding structures' terror," Merabishvili said in an interview with the Rustavi 2 TV aired late on October 16.
"It is beneficial for us from the political, economic, as well as humanitarian point of view to have more integration with the North Caucasus people and to give them possibility [residents of the region] to be connected with the western world via Georgia and what is also important I think the number of tourists will increase; they will arrive here for business, holiday, medical treatment," Merabishvili said.
The Russian Foreign Ministry said on October 14, that Georgia’s unilateral decision to introduce visa-free rules for residents in seven North Caucasus republics was “a provocation” and an attempt “to destabilize” situation in the region. The decision was came under the opposition's criticism in Georgia.
Extracts from Merabishvili's interview were used in a story, which Georgia's most popular television station Rustavi 2's weekly program Kurieri P.S. dedicated to defending Georgia's decision.
"By the fact that Russia got angry one can guess that Georgia has done right thing," a journalist said in his report.
16 Oct. '10 Paris begrüßt Moskau's Perevi-Rückzugserklärung
16 Oct. '10 Zwei israelische Geschäftsmänner wurden festgehalten wegen Bestechung
An Israeli businessman having a long-standing multi-million dispute with Georgia was arrested together with an associate on charges related to an attempted bribery of a senior Georgian official.
Ron Fuchs and his associate, also an Israeli citizen Zeev Frenkiel, were arrested by the Georgian law enforcement officers in Georgia’s Black Sea town of Batumi on October 14, while meeting with Georgian Deputy Finance Minister Avtandil Kharadze, whom the two men were offering USD 7 million in bribe, the Georgian Prosecutor’s Office said.
Tbilisi City Court on October 16 denied bail to both Israeli citizens and kept them in pre-trial detention. The same ruling applied in absentia to Fuchs’ Greek partner, Ioannis Kardassopoulos, who is now wanted by the Georgian law enforcement in connection to the same case, according to the Georgian authorities.
According to the written statement released by the Georgian chief prosecutor’s office, Ron Fuchs and his partner from company, Tramex, Ioannis Kardassopoulos, with the assistance of Zeev Frenkiel were trying to bribe Georgian Deputy Finance Minister, Avtandil Kharadze, offering him USD 7 million in exchange for “convincing the Georgian government” not to challenge a decision of an international arbitration, which awarded Fuchs and Kardassopoulos to total of about USD 98.1 million to be paid by the Georgian state.
The case with its subsequent long-running arbitration proceedings originates back in 1991, when Tramex, represented with its two shareholders Fuchs and Kardassopoulos, started looking for investment opportunities in Georgia’s energy sector. In 1992 Tramex established a joint venture with the Georgian state oil company and obtained concession on oil pipeline network development, which was revoked in 1996 when the Georgian government established Georgian International Oil Corporation, which eventually contracted with a major international consortium on construction of east-west oil pipeline to transport Azerbaijani oil to the western market via Georgia and Turkey.
After that Tramex and the Georgian authorities were for years trying in vain to settle dispute, involving possible compensation for the company.
In November, 2004 Fuchs and Kardassopoulos were notified by the Georgian government that their claims were groundless, which led the two business partners to file two separate, but related suits against Georgia in the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID), an institution of the World Bank group.
On March 3, 2010 London-based tribunal ruled that Georgia violated multilateral Energy Charter Treaty and unlawfully expropriated investments made by Kardassopoulos in Georgia and in respect of Fuchs, the tribunal ruled that Georgia violated bilateral investment protection treaty between Israel and Georgia.
According to the decision each investor should receive USD 15.1 million compensation for losses, plus interest totaling to USD 30 million for each investor – interest period covers from the start of dispute in 1996 until the arbitration ruling in 2010. Georgia was also ordered to cover the two investors’ arbitration cost of USD 7.9 million.
Iareporter.com, a news website tracking international investment disputes, reported that Georgia in July signaled that it planned to challenge the ruling through post-arbitration review permitted in ICSID cases. According to this report a hearing is scheduled on Monday when a three-member panel will hear arguments as to whether temporary stay of enforcement should remain in place while the post-arbitration review is underway. The claimants are asking arbitrators to order Georgia to post some financial security in case the award is not annulled and the claimants encounter difficulties in collecting on the award, according to the Iareporter.com.
The Georgian authorities through local television stations released portions of covertly recorded footage showing a meeting between Fuchs and the Georgian Deputy Finance Minister in Istanbul in September. The meeting, according to the Georgian authorities, was one among others, which aimed at finding settlement between the sides and in which the Deputy Finance Minister was authorized to represent the government. In the released footage, the man, said to be Fuchs, tells the Georgian official that he wants to receive USD 80 million and that he can kickback the sum on top of USD 80 million.
Fuchs and his associate deny the charges against him.
“Mr. Fuchs, together with another person, won the USD 100 million worth case against Georgia at the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes. We believe that his arrest is a persecution with a goal to make him say no on the amount he has won against Georgia,” Irakli Kbilashvili, a defense lawyer of Fuchs, said after the Tbilisi City Court denied bail to his client on October 16. "Mr. Fuchs was not arriving in Georgia. He arrived here only after receiving an official invitation from the Georgian PM [Nika Gilauri]."
16 Oct. '10 Präsident Saakashvili begrüßt die Verabschiedung der neuen Verfassung
President Saakashvili welcomed revamp of constitution by the Parliament on October 15 and said the authorities had taken into consideration "actually all the recommendations" put forth by the Council of Europe's advisory body for legal affairs Venice Commission.
Speaking with reporters shortly after the amendments were voted by lawmakers, Saakashvili hailed the Parliament for passing the draft after, as he put it, "final conclusions" of the Venice Commission were tabled; he said that by doing so, the Parliament deprived opponents possibility to criticize authorities for not waiting for the European experts' final recommendations.
"I want to say that actually all the recommendations of the conclusion has been taken into consideration, except of one minor element - according to the conclusion the Parliament should have further reduced the presidential powers [in the new system], but the Parliament said that in the current situation, when the country faces so many challenges, it is ruled out to totally level the president's role," Saakashvili said.
On October 8 the Venice Commission released its second preliminary opinion on the draft of constitutional amendment calling on the Georgian Parliament to wait for its final recommendations before adoption of the new constitution. The Parliament, which originally planned to pass the constitutional with final reading on October 12, postponed the voting for October 15. The Venice Commission discussed Georgia's constitutional reform at its session on October 15; however, the text of its final opinion is not yet available on the Commission's website. Text of opinions are public after the adoption and are available on the Venice Commission’s website after the session. The session ends on October 16.
During his remarks with reporters, President Saakashvili said that he had "just received an SMS on my mobile phone and I will translate it to you." Looking on his mobile phone he then continued: "The Venice Commission's secretary [Thomas] Markert said that after thorough analysis the Commission is ready to state that the constitution is fully - and I emphasize on 'fully' - in line with the European tradition'; that's the conclusion; now others can speak whatever they want," Saakashvili said.
The new constitution, which will go into force upon the inauguration of new president, elected in October, 2013, will significantly reduce the presidential powers at the expense of PM and the government. The President, however, will retain an important role in case of non-confidence vote to the government having the right to veto prime ministerial nomination by the Parliament.
15 Oct. '10 Schlüsselpunkte der neu verabschiedeten Verfassung
Parliament passed on October 15 amendments to the constitution with its third and final reading, which will significantly reduce powers of next president in favor of PM and the government.
The new constitution will go into force upon the inauguration of the next president, who is scheduled to be elected in October, 2013.
As soon as the new constitution goes into force in 2013, the government existing at the time will resign to give way to the Parliament, elected in 2012, to compose the new government.
Below are key points of Georgia's new constitution:
PM/Government
    * The government becomes the supreme body of the executive branch, which directs and executes the country’s foreign and domestic policy and which is accountable before the Parliament;
    * Prime Minister has the right to appoint and dismisses other members of the government, including defense and interior ministers (under the current constitution dismissal of these two ministers is an exclusive right of President). PM's resignation will automatically lead to the resignation of the government;
    * Government’s powers are suspended as soon the mandate of newly-elected Parliament is approved, and not upon electing a new President, as it is envisaged by the current constitution;
    * PM's candidacy is named by a political party, which will garner most of the votes in parliamentary elections;
    * Government members are named by PM-designate;
    * Government needs support of majority of MPs to win confidence vote;
    * If government's powers are suspended for reasons other than parliamentary elections, President nominates PM's candidate proposed by a parliamentary majority. In case of absence of parliamentary majority, a candidate should be proposed by a largest parliamentary faction;
    * If Parliament fails to give confidence vote to government twice, President will nominate PM's candidacy named by two-fifth of lawmakers; but if even in that case the Parliament fails to give confidence vote, President will have the right to dissolve Parliament and call early elections;
    * It is only up to government to submit state budget to Parliament for consideration making these two responsible for entire budgetary matters, leaving out President; government will have a lead role and the Parliament's role will be limited in the budgetary matters;
    * Gov't has right to request the Parliament ratification or denunciation of int'l treaties; President also enjoys with this right in some cases, but with the government's consent;
    * President will not have the right to appoint or dismiss ambassadors without government's approval (it will no longer be up to the Parliament to approve ambassadorial nominations);
    * The government (and not PM unilaterally, as it was envisaged by the initial draft) appoints and dismisses provincial governors, instead of the President as it is under the current constitution;
    * PM will have the right of “counterassignation” of presidential decrees, which means that most of the presidential decrees will require confirmation by PM's signature. However, this right of PM will not apply to presidential acts issued during war; as well as acts concerning a decision to dissolve the Parliament; calling elections; signing drafts into law; appointing judges; in the initial draft no PM's counterassignation was required for the presidential acts on appointment of top military brass, but in the final text PM and the government will have a say in this process too;
    * Gov't will have the right to request President to call for a referendum;
    * President requires government's consent on holding international talks or in case of signing international treaties.
Non-Confidence Vote
    * No less than 2/5 of the total members of the Parliament, e.i. at least 60 lawmakers will have the right to request for launching of non-confidence vote;
    * The process will be deemed as started if more than half of MPs support it; this vote can only take place not earlier than 20 days and no later than 25 days;
    * If as a result of this vote the process is endorsed, the Parliament shall, not earlier than 20 days and no later than 25 days, hold a separate vote on a nomination of new prime ministerial candidate, selected by at least 2/5 of MPs;
    * If a new candidate is supported, then the President comes into play;
    * The President should, within 5 days, either endorse the nomination or reject;
    * In case of presidential veto on a new prime ministerial candidate, the Parliament will have the right to vote for nomination of a same candidate no earlier than 15 and no later than 20 days;
    * But to override the presidential veto, the Parliament will need at least three-fifth of its members’ support, which is 90 MPs; while in other cases, such as vetoed laws (except of constitutional amendments), the Parliament will need only absolute majority (76 votes);
    * If the Parliament fails to override the veto, president will have the right, within three days, to dissolve the legislative body and call for early elections.
President
    * President will remain the head of state, a commander-in-chief and will represent the country (and not be a supreme representative as it is under the current constitution) in foreign relations;
    * President will no longer direct and exercise domestic and foreign policy of the state - as the current constitution says. This authority will be delegated to PM and the government;
    * A citizen of Georgia (and not natural born citizen as it was initially envisaged), who is at least 35 years old and has lived in Georgia for at least 5 years (instead of initial version of 15 years) and lived permanently in Georgia for last three years at the time of elections will be eligible to run for presidency;
    * President will have no right to hold a decision-making post in a political party, although will retain the right to be a member of a party;
    * President will have the right to appoint or dismiss chief of staff of the armed forces and other top military commanders only with agreement of the government;
    * President will not have the right to initiate draft laws;
    * President will not have the right to convene an emergency session of the Parliament;
    * President will not have the right to call for a referendum;
    * President will have the right to nominate members of telecommunications and energy regulatory commissions but only with an agreement of gov't;
    * President will have the right to nominate head of government of Adjara Autonomous Republic, but only after consultations with political parties and with an agreement of central gov't;
    * Issue of President's impeachment can be initiated by at least 1/3 of lawmakers. The issue will then be passed to the Constitutional Court. If the latter concludes that President's action contained signs of crime or violation of constitution, Parliament will have to vote whether to impeach or not President within 15 days. Votes of at least 2/3 of lawmakers will be required to impeach President.
Parliament
    * PM will have the right to raise before the Parliament the question of confidence of gov't in relation to initiated draft law; the Parliament has to vote on the draft law within 14 days with one hearing (and not with three hearing as usually) or vote non-confidence to gov't;
    * If the Parliament fails with vote of non-confidence it will not result into dissolving of the legislative body; it will mean that the draft law is adopted;
    * Although the Parliament will have the right to raise a question of responsibility of an individual cabinet member, the constitution does not specify what follows next and what might be the result of such demand by the Parliament;
    * Appointment of ambassadors will no longer require parliamentary approval;
    * One fifth of lawmakers, instead of current one fourth, will be able to initiate setting up of parliamentary investigative commission or other type of ad hoc commission; but setting up of such commission will still require Parliament's resolution, which has to be passed with majority vote of lawmakers present at a session;
    * Parliament will be able to overrule a presidential veto with majority vote of lawmakers, instead of currently needed support of two-third of Parliament members. However, this provision will not apply constitutional draft laws, when support of two-third of lawmakers will be required;
    * Parliament's role in respect of budgetary issues becomes limited;
    * Parliament will have the right to monitor budgetary spending through Chamber of Control - the main state audit agency; under the current constitution the legislative body can monitor state spending directly and in case of violations can demand suspension of such spending; the Parliament will be deprived of this right under the new constitution;
Other Provisions
    * President, PM and Parliamentary Chairperson's post can not be held by a person with double citizenship (in the initial draft, the provision also applied to all senior governmental posts);
    * Age requirement of judges will increase from current 28 to 30;
    * Term in office of judges of lower courts will expire after reaching a retirement age; the provision does not apply to judges of Supreme Court;
    * A probationary period of not more than 3 years will be introduced for judges;
    * Revision of the constitution will become more complicated as a proposed amendment will have to be adopted by two-third of all MPs in two subsequent sessions with a three-month interval.
15 Oct. '10 Neue Verfassung wurde verabschiedet
Parliament passed on October 15 with 112 votes to five amendments to the constitution with its third and final reading, which will significantly reduce powers of next president in favor of PM and the government.
This is the second time in last six years when the constitutional system has been revamped; the existing system, which was introduced in 2004, concentrated most of the powers in the hands of the President.
The new constitution will go into force upon the inauguration of the next president, who will be elected in the elections in October, 2013. The initial draft envisaged new constitution's enforcement from December 1, 2013, but the provision was amended and it now says that the new system will go into force as soon as the new president is sworn.
The final version of the text, passed on October 15, includes some other important amendments as well.
One involves provision dealing with eligibility for presidential candidacy. According to the adopted text a citizen of Georgia - and not natural born citizen as it was initially envisaged in the text adopted with second reading - who is at least 35 years old and has lived in Georgia for at least 5 years - instead of initial version of 15 years - and lived permanently in Georgia for last three years at the time of elections will be eligible to run for presidency.
Another change involves reducing by 5 days timeframe of last stage of non-confidence vote – the stage which comes in case of the presidential veto on prime ministerial nomination. The process of non-confidence may take 45 or 55 days, or in case of the presidential veto on prime ministerial nominee 77 days or it even take maximum 92 days. In the very initial draft this process could have taken maximum of 127 days.
Lawmakers from the Christian-Democratic Movement, which is a leading party in the parliamentary minority group, voted in favor of the new constitution. A handful of remaining opposition lawmakers, who are not members of any parliamentary group, was against.
15 Oct. '10 Außenminister Grigol Vashadze zur Visafreiheit für Nordkaukasier
Die Entscheidung rühre von den humanitären Nöten dieser Bevölkerung her und sei Georgiens Versuch, Moskaus anti-georgische Propaganda anzufechten. Er führte weitere Gründe an und verwies auch auf die unilateralen Visaregelungen Moskaus für Georgier.
    * Georgia says it will be “a bridge connecting the North Caucasus with the civilized world”
Georgian Foreign Minister, Grigol Vashadze, said on October 15, that Georgia’s decision to introduce 90-day visa free entry for the Russian citizens residing in the North Caucasus “is deriving from the humanitarian needs of this population” and also is Tbilisi’s attempt to challenge Moscow’s anti-Georgian propaganda.
“They [the residents of North Caucasus] are in the position when the Kremlin regime is dictating to them where to go, what to do, how to act, with whom to be friends and with whom not to be friends; they [the Russian authorities] are trying to make propaganda image of Georgia as a failed state, as a state where nothing is going on and as a state, which is constantly threatening neighbors,” Vashadze said.
“So when we are opening borders, we want these people to come to Georgia and to see themselves what our achievements are,” he said while responding a question asked during his joint news conference with visiting Azerbaijani counterpart Elmar Mamedyarov.
“Second – we have ethnic Georgians residing, for example in Vladikavkaz [Russia’s North Ossetian Republic]; we have 100,000 Georgian citizens of Ossetian origin residing in Georgia and they have relatives in the North Caucasus, of course they need to see each other,” Vashadze said.
“The third point – nobody [in North Caucasus] can afford sending their children to Moscow institutes and universities and here [in Georgia] we have world-class, European-class universities, why not to send them to Georgia? We have been receiving letters from the North Caucasus residents asking the question how they can send their kids to the Georgian universities,” he said and added that these arguments were “quite enough” in favor of Tbilisi’s decision.
Responding to the Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s remarks that decision of this kind should be taken based on bilateral agreements and not unilaterally, Vashadze said that when Russia “unilaterally introduced visa regime for the Georgian citizens, we have not been consulted.”
“So never ask for something, which you are not ready to provide,” Vashadze added.
Russia introduced visa rules with Georgia in December, 2000; the decision, however, did not apply to residents of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, which at the time were formally recognized by Moscow as part of Georgia.
In December, 2003, Russia unilaterally simplified visa rules for only residents of Georgia’s Adjara Autonomous Republic, a move described by Moscow at the time as “a temporary measure,” which triggered protest in Tbilisi.
In a written statement released on October 12, the Georgian Interior Ministry said that the visa-free entry decision aimed “at supporting the restoration of traditional brotherly relations between Georgian and North Caucasian peoples.”
It also said that by this decision the residents of the North Caucasus would be able “to take advantage of all the benefits that Georgian citizens and visitors of our country enjoy in the result of the reforms and the achievements accomplished in recent years.”
“The residents of the North Caucasus will have the opportunity to travel to Georgia, to do business, to receive education, to rest and to enjoy all the privileges, which they lack under the corrupted and repressive federal regime in their home country. Georgia will be a bridge connecting the North Caucasus with the civilized world,” the Georgian Interior Ministry said.
15 Oct. '10 Russ. Außenministerium: Russische Truppen werden aus dem Dorf Perevi in ‘naher Zukunft’ abzuiehen
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister, Grigory Karasin, said after thirteenth round of Geneva talks on October 14 that Russia would withdraw its troops from the village of Perevi in the “nearest future” as “an act of good will.
“The Russian Federation has prepared and will withdraw the Russian border guard troops in the nearest future from the village of Perevi, which is located on geographically disputed territory,” Itar-Tass news agency reported quoting Karasin said.
The village of Perevi administratively falls under the Sachkhere district and is the only area outside the administrative borders of breakaway South Ossetia, which remains under the Russian control following the August, 2008 war. In December, 2008 Russian troops briefly pulled back from the village, but re-entered and re-installed checkpoints there only hours after the withdrawal. Russia cited a prompt deployment of the Georgian Interior Ministry forces in Perevi as a reason behind the decision to retake control over the village.
“This is an act of responsibility, an act of good will and at the same time a test for our Georgian partners in restraint,” he said.
“When our border guard troops pull back, the territory of South Ossetia will be fully defined and borders of the republic will be fully under the Russian border guard troops’ control on the basis of bilateral agreement [between Tskhinvali and Moscow] and at the same time no one will be able to reprove border guard troops for presence somewhere on the Georgian territory,” Karasin said.
Georgian Deputy Foreign Minister, Giga Bokeria, who leads the Georgian delegation in Geneva talks, said “de-occupation of any territory or a village is a positive development,” but he also indicated that Russia’s announcement should not be overestimated.
"They [Russia] will try to ‘sell’ this move as a constructive step, but I want to emphasis, that it is only a slightest part of those commitments, which they have undertaken" under the August 12, 2008 ceasefire agreement, Bokeria said.
He said that this move by Russia should be viewed "in a right context" and possible withdrawal from Perevi should not lead to easing international pressure on Russia over its unfulfilled commitments. "And it won't happen," Bokeria added.
15 Oct. '10 Mediatoren sagen, Russland habe versprochen, aus dem Dorf Perevi abzuziehen
Russia will pull its troops out of Perevi, a small village outside breakaway South Ossetia's administrative borders, it emerged after thirteenth round of talks in Geneva on October 14.
"The co-chairs welcomed today’s announcement in the session of the imminent removal of the Russian checkpoint in Perevi as a positive development on the ground," co-mediators of the Geneva talks from EU, OSCE and UN said in a joint statement after the talks.
Members of the Georgian delegation said that the announcement on the matter was made during the talks by Deputy Foreign Minister, Girgory Karasin, who leads the Russian delegation at the Geneva talks.
The village of Perevi administratively falls under the Sachkhere district and is the only area outside the administrative borders of breakaway South Ossetia, which remains under the Russian control following the August, 2008 war. In December, 2008 Russian troops briefly pulled back from the village, but re-entered and re-installed checkpoints there only hours after the withdrawal. Russia cited a prompt deployment of the Georgian Interior Ministry forces in Perevi as a reason behind the decision to retake control over the village.
"De-occupation of any territory or a village is a positive development," First Deputy Foreign Minister, Giga Bokeria, who leads the Georgian delegation at the Geneva talks, said.
He, however, also indicated that the Russian delegation's announcement should not be overestimated.
"There were statements of this kind in the past as well; we hope that this time it will not be only a statement and real de-occupation of the village will occur," Bokeria said in a phone interview with RFE/RL Georgian service after the talks.
"They [Russia] will try to sell this move as a constructive step, but I want to emphasis, that it is only a slightest part of those commitments, which they have undertaken" under the August 12, 2008 ceasefire agreement, Bokeria said.
He said that this move by Russia should be viewed "in a right context" and possible withdrawal from Perevi should not lead to easing international pressure on Russia over its unfulfilled commitments. "And it won't happen," Bokeria added.
Speaking on the Geneva talks in overall and particularly on its thirteenth round, Bokeria said, that despite co-mediators' efforts there had not been any significant progress on "fundamental issues", involving withdrawal of Russian troops, new international security arrangement in Abkhazia and South Ossetia and return of displaced persons.
"It will be premature, to say the least, to speak about any progress on fundamental issues. It, however, does not mean that the Geneva talks should not continue. We will spare no efforts to maintain this process," he said.
Participants from Georgia, Russia and the United States, as well as from breakaway Abkhazia and South Ossetia gathered in Geneva for thirteenth round of talks on October 14 in frames of the format launched after the August war in October, 2008.
"The overall situation was assessed as relatively calm, but fragile," three co-chairs of the talks, Pierre Morel of the EU, Bolat Nurgaliyev of the OSCE and Antti Turunen of the UN, said in the joint statement after the talks.
They said that a report on monitoring of investigations into cases of missing persons by the Council of Europe's Commissioner for Human Rights, Thomas Hammarberg, "received particular attention" of the participants.
"The need for all involved participants to comply with all its [the report's] recommendations was emphasized by the co-chairs, as well as the need to pursue the work on detained persons," the statement reads.
Unresolved issue of missing persons was among the reasons cited by Tskhinvali behind its refusal to participate in meetings of Incident Prevention and Response Mechanism (IPRM) - a framework established by the Geneva talks to address routine security issues on the ground. Only several such meetings were held with participation of officials from Tbilisi and Tskhinvali, as well as representatives of the Russian troops in South Ossetia, in presence of EU monitors.
The co-chairs said after the thirteenth round of the talks that they had "registered the agreement on the resumption" IPRM meetings by the end of October. IPRM meetings are regularly held in respect of Abkhazia.
Co-chairs noted with "regret" a decision of representatives from Tskhinvali not to attend a meeting of the second working group, which deals with humanitarian issues and return of displaced persons and refugees. Tskhinvali was protesting against discussion of UN General Assembly resolution, which calls for return of IDPs and refugees to South Ossetia and Abkhazia.
"Full contribution by all participants and resumption of usual format of Working Group II is essential for confidence building and resolution of immediate humanitarian problems," the co-chairs said.
Another working group in frames of the Geneva talks deals with security issues. Non-use of force treaty, one of the most contentious issues, and international security arrangement was again discussed in this working group, but no progress was reported.
Bolat Nurgaliyev, the special envoy of the Kazakh OSCE chairmanship, said after the talks that OSCE was ready to start working on repairing the Zonkari dam in breakaway South Ossetia, which will be funded by EU. He said that repair of this dam would improve its safety and restore its potential to provide irrigation water.
Participants agreed to hold the next round of talks on December 16.
14 Oct. '10 Russisches Außenministerium nennt Georgien`s Visafreiheit für Nordkaukasier eine ‘Provokation’
Georgia’s unilateral decision to introduce visa-free rules for Russian citizens residing in seven North Caucasus republics is “a provocation” and an attempt “to destabilize” situation in the region, the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement on October 14.
President Saakashvili’s decree, according to which residents of North Caucasus republics can enter into Georgia and stay in the country without visa for 90 days, went into force from October 13.
“An attempt to divide population of Russia on various categories contradicts norms of civilized inter-state communication. It is also clearly visible a link [of this decision] to Tbilisi’s drive to destabilize situation in North Caucasus and to distract attention from destructive policy of the Georgian leadership towards South Ossetia and Abkhazia,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said.
“Russia is consistently advocating for friendly relations in the Caucasus, for securing normal, calm life, which Saakashvili tried to undermine by waging war in August, 2008. He cut diplomatic relations between Georgia and the Russian Federation and by doing so created obstacles in communication between our citizens. It was the Georgian side which was dragging out reopening of Kazbegi-Zemo Larsi border crossing point. And now, when it is reopened, the Georgian leadership has decided to find means to use this channel of communication for its unscrupulous goals.”
Georgia said that visa-free entry rules for North Caucasus residents was part of its policy of “united Caucasus”, outlined by President Saakashvili in his UN speech in September. Officials in Tbilisi also say that the decision is motivated by purely humanitarian purposes and aims at easing residents of the North Caucasus to easily access Georgia through Kazbegi-Zemo Larsi border crossing point, which was reopened in March but Georgian visas are not issued there. Visas are only available either in the Georgian interest section at the Swiss embassy in Moscow or upon arrival in Tbilisi airport.
“Russia has no problems with Georgia, with the Georgian people,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said in the same statement. “We have problems with Saakashvili’s regime, which fails to calm down.”
“It is clear that these convulsive actions [of Tbilisi] are aimed at searching new and new irritants, which are not in the interests of the Georgian people and which may only lead to additional problems for the Georgian people,” it said.
14 Oct. '10 Annahme der neuen Verfassung für Freitag geplant
13 Oct. '10 Bagapsh: Russlands Öl-Gigant Rosneft wird bald mit der Erkundung der abchasischenSchwarzmeerküste beginnen
Im September 2008 hatte US-Außenministerin Condoleezza Rice Russland aufgerufen, nicht mit der Erkundung von Ressourcen in Abchasien zu beginnen.
Rosneft, Russia's state oil giant, will soon launch oil exploration works off Abkhazia's Black Sea coast, Abkhaz leader, Sergey Bagapsh, said.
“They are actually already starting it,” Bagapsh said in an interview with the Russian daily, Kommersant, published on October 13, adding that Russia's largest oil producer was now delivering equipment necessary for the works.
Rosneft and Sokhumi signed an agreement in 2009 according to which the Russian state company obtained the rights for offshore explorations and for development of oil and gas fields there.
At the time the deal was condemned by Tbilisi as “a clear and gross violation of the norms of the international law as well as the Georgian legislation.”
Abkhaz opposition was criticizing the plans, citing environmental concerns. Bagapsh, however, said in the interview with the Kommersant that all the Black Sea countries were working on exploration of their offshore areas and Abkhazia would not be an exception.
He said that according to Soviet-old exploration data offshore oil deposits were mainly located in area between Sokhumi and Gagra.
In September, 2008, then U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice called on Russia not to “start exploring for resources” in Abkhazia.
13 Oct. '10 Opposition ruft zu Gesprächen über die Reform des Wahlsystems auf
12 Oct. '10 Neue Oppositionspartei gegründet: Georgische Partei
Mitbegründer sind Sozar Subari, Irakli Okruashvili, Levan Gachechiladze und Erosi Kitsmarishvili.
A new political party was launched on October 12 - a result of recent regrouping on the opposition front, which led to teaming up of several high-profile opposition figures.
The Georgian Party was founded by former public defender Sozar Subari; exiled ex-defense minister Irakli Okruashvili; Levan Gachechiladze, an opposition presidential candidate in 2008 elections and Erosi Kitsmarishvili, Georgia’s former ambassador to Russia and founder of Maestro TV’s managing company.
Founders of the party laid out their priorities at a presentation on October 12. Irakli Okruashvili was absent for obvious reasons; Okruashvili, who was granted asylum by France, was sentenced to 11-year prison term in Georgia in absentia in March, 2008.
“Georgia is in deep crisis,” Erosi Kitsmarishvili said. “Instead of tackling the crisis, the government is guided with only goal to maintain power.”
“These people [who established the new party] and which have different background and some of them even were in conflict with each other in the past, have realized that establishment of a well-organized political movement is required to help overcome this crisis,” he added.
Unlike other founders of the new party, Kitsmarishvili, with track record of political insider, has not been formally a member of any political party before. Kitsmarishvili, described at the presentation of the party by Levan Gachechiladze as an important figure and experienced communications specialist, served as Georgia’s ambassador to Russia for less than six months in 2008. He was President Saakashvili’s one of the strategists ahead of the January, 2008 early presidential election, but broke ranks with him, accusing the President of causing the August war. In November, 2009 owners of the Tbilisi-based Maestro TV handed over management rights to Erosi Kitsmarishvili; later he appointed a new director in charge of day-to-day management of the TV station and Kitsmarishvili now says that he has nothing to do with the Maestro TV any more.
The new party said in a written statement that among its foreign policy priority would be Georgia’s EU integration and normalization of relations with Russia.
“We should face the bitter truth – Georgia will not be successful without normalization of relations with Russia,” the statement reads. “The main foreign policy priority will be integration into European institutions.”
On NATO, the statement says that because of the Georgian authorities “reckless and unpredictable policies, the NATO at this stage has not become guarantor of Georgia’s security and territorial integrity.”
In his speech at the presentation Levan Gachechiladze said on the matter: “I do not believe, that the key for security is in any military alliance.”
Gachechiladze also said that the new party “will take responsibility for change of this regime and for the future of the country.”
Sozar Subari said that the party’s main goal would be “to stop ongoing process of collapse of the country.”
In September, 2009, after his term in office of public defender expired, Sozar Subari joined now collapsed opposition Alliance for Georgia, at the time uniting New Rights, Republican and Irakli Alasania’s Our Georgia-Free Democrats parties. He, however, quit the alliance after the May, 2010 local elections.
Among the founders of the new party is Koka Guntsadze, who was most recently member of the Our Georgia-Free Democrats party, which he quit after the local elections. In the past he was also a member of former defense minister Irakli Okruashvili’s party Movement for United Georgia. Okruashvili himself quit the Movement for United Georgia, which he founded in 2007, few days before the establishment of the new Georgian Party.
The new party plans its inaugural congress in late November during which its leader and governing body will be elected.
12 Oct. '10 Russischer Außenminister: Tbilisi’s Zug der Visafreiheit für Nordkaukasier sei ‘Propaganda’
12 Oct. '10 Annahme der neuen Verfassung aufgeschoben
12 Oct. '10 ‘Auswärtige Kräfte möglicherweise verbunden mit dem Angriff bei einer abchasischen Moschee’
Investigation into Gudauta mosque attack in breakaway Abkhazia is pursuing several potential lines of inquiry, including possible involvement of foreign radical Islamist groups or foreign intelligence services, prosecutor's office of the breakaway region said on October 11.
One man was killed and two others wounded when a group of prayers was attacked by unknown gunmen outside house-turned-mosque in the center of the town of Gudauta, less than 40km northwest to Sokhumi on October 8.
The attack came less than three months after a member of the Spiritual Board of Muslims of Abkhazia, Emik Chakmach-Ogly, was killed in his house in the town of Gagra. Also in July imam at the mosque in Sokhumi claimed that he survived an assassination attempt after he had found an explosive device placed in his vehicle.
Among the possible motives behind all these cases, the investigation is considering "involvement of radical representatives of Islam from foreign states, who failed to find support on the ground in spreading radical Islam in Abkhazia," Abkhaz news agency, Apsnipress, reported quoting the prosecutor's office statement.
"The investigation is also considering possibility of involvement of special services of foreign states, which aim at triggering inter-confessional conflict in Abkhazia and at destabilizing friendly relations with the Russian Federation," it said without elaborating further details.
The statement was released after the Spiritual Board of Muslims of Abkhazia issued a statement on October 11 calling on the authorities to disclose details of investigation into recent cases of attacks.
It said that the Board considered these attacks as an attempt "to intimidate" the Muslin community of Abkhazia.
"We strongly condemn any act of violence... In case of absence of adequate security guarantees, we reserve the right to protect ourselves and our families with all the available means without going beyond limits of law," Apsnipress reported quoting the statement of the Spiritual Board of Muslims of Abkhazia.
In August, 2007 an imam at the Gudauta mosque, Khamzat Gitsba, was shot dead in Gudauta. Two men - Rustam and Raul Gitsba - who were wounded in October 8 shooting in Gudauta, are brothers of murdered Khamzat Gitsba, a former militant, who turned into Muslim cleric after serving four years in the Turkish jail for seizing ferry, Avrasya, in Turkey’s Black Sea port of Trabzon in 1996 in a move to express support for Chechen rebels.
11 Oct. '10 Georgien hat eine neue Regelung für visafreie Einreise für Nordkaukasier eingeführt
Russian citizens registered as residents of Russia’s republics in the North Caucasus will be able to enter into Georgia and stay in the country without visa for 90 days starting from October 13.
President Saakashvili signed a relevant decree on October 11.
The rule will apply to residents of Chechnya; Ingushetia; North Ossetia; Dagestan; Kabardino-Balkaria; Karachay-Cherkessia and Republic of Adygea, the Georgian Interior Ministry said on October 11.
Georgian Deputy Foreign Minister, Nino Kalandadze, said on October 11, that the reason behind the decision was to make travel of residents of those republics into Georgia easer through the only legally operating land border between Georgia and Russia.
Kazbegi-Zemo Larsi border crossing point was reopened in March, 2010, but no Georgian visas are being issued at the checkpoint there; the border reopening was mainly aimed at Armenia to give the country land access to the Russian Federation via Georgia.
Georgia has unilaterally simplified visa rules for all the Russian citizens, meaning that they can obtain entry visas upon arrival in the airport.
“It is our desire to restore our traditional relations with our neighboring peoples,” Nino Kalandadze said. “At the same time we know that there are many people having interest to travel into Georgia for commercial purposes, as well as there are interest of enrolling into Georgian high education institutions; so it would have been inappropriate to have some additional barriers in this regard.”
11 Oct. '10 Aserbaidschanischer Außenminister Elmar Mamedyarov besucht Georgien
11 Oct. '10 Präsident Saakashvili gibt der Regierung vor, den kriegsgeschädigten Dörfern zu helfen
11 Oct. '10 Abgeordnete diskutieren den Zeitrahmen des Mißtrauensvotum in der neuen Verfassung
11 Oct. '10 Ex-Premierminister Nogaideli besucht Moskau
9 Oct. '10 Venedig-Kommission über die überarbeitete Verfassungsänderung
Die Kommission ruft die georg. Behörden auf, die abschließenden Empfehlungen abzuwarten und diese sorgfältig in Betracht zu ziehen, bevor die Verfassungsänderungen beschlossen werden.
    * ‘Wait for final recommendations before approval’;
    * ‘Reduced timeframe of non-confidence vote insufficient’;
    * Commission welcomes some changes in the draft;
    * Concerns remain over president/gov’t foreign policy roles;
    * ‘Further strengthening of Parliament’s role desirable’
Council of Europe’s advisory body for legal affairs, Venice Commission, has called on the Georgian authorities to wait for its final recommendations and to take them “into careful consideration” before finalizing adoption of constitutional amendments.
The Parliament is scheduled to vote with third and final reading the draft amendment, which will significantly cut next president’s powers in favor of PM and government, at a session on October 12 – just few days before the Venice Commission is expected to adopt its final opinion on the draft.
Meanwhile, the commission released its second preliminary opinion (the first one was released on the very initial draft of constitutional amendments in July) on the draft on October 8, which is based on changes the draft underwent when it was approved by the Parliament with its second reading on October 1.
“Although several preliminary recommendations made by Venice Commission have been taken into account by the Georgian authorities, the Georgian parliament should await the final opinion of the Venice Commission and take it into careful consideration before proceeding with the final adoption of the constitutional amendments under consideration,” the Venice Commission said in its second preliminary opinion.
It welcomed some of those changes, which were made during the second reading, including stripping the president of the right of legislative initiative, need for PM’s agreement on appointment of chief of staff of the armed forces and other military commanders by president, as well as in cases of declaring or revocation of the state of emergency. The Commission also welcomed the change through which president will lose the power to call for a referendum on his own initiative.
One of the changes, made during the second reading, involved a provision under which president will require the government’s consent to hold international talks and to conclude international agreements. This amendment was made by the lawmakers in an attempt to further reduce the presidential powers in the foreign policy affairs so that to avoid conflict between president and the government. The Venice Commission said in its first preliminary opinion that such risk existed under the initial draft.
In its second preliminary opinion the commission said that this amendment, made during the second reading, does not eliminate concerns.
“The need for the Government’s consent will not eliminate, and instead is likely to increase the risk of conflicts between the government and the President, if the latter has a say in the matter,” the Commission said.
Major source of criticism still remains the rule of initiation of motion of non-confidence and consequent process through which this motion is implemented. The Commission said that this rule should be “reconsidered and revised.”
One source of criticism is related to the fact that the entire process of constructive non-confidence vote (a method when two-fifth of lawmakers pick a candidate for new PM’s post and vote the incumbent out and his successor) is “lengthy and complex”.
The process may take 50-60 days, or in case of the presidential veto on prime ministerial nominee, even 70-80 days.
This timeframe was even longer, but during the second reading it was reduced by 20 days, which the Venice Commission said was “a positive development although an insufficient one.”
Another source of criticism is related to president’s role in this process.
According to the draft, president will have the right to intervene in the process by refusing to appoint new PM approved by the Parliament. In case of veto, the Parliament will require at least three-fifth of its members’ support, which is 90 MPs, to override the presidential veto; while in other cases, such as vetoed laws (except of constitutional amendments), the Parliament will need only absolute majority (76 votes) and not three-fifth to override the presidential veto.
“This gives too much power to the President and diminishes not only the power of parliament, but also the political responsibility of the Prime Minister that should be a corner stone in the new system,” the Venice Commission said.
In other recommendations, the Venice Commission welcomed provision on appointing judges of lower courts, but called on the Georgian authorities to extend this provision on judges of Supreme Court as well. The Commission also called to remove a provision, which introduces a probationary period of not more than three years to newly appointed judges in lower courts.
The Venice Commission also said that it considered that the level of interference of the central government in the choice of the executive of the Autonomous Republic of Adjara “is excessive.” Under the current draft, the president, with the agreement of the government, will nominate candidate for head of Adjara government and the candidate will require approval from the local legislative body of the Autonomous Republic.
In its second preliminary opinion the Venice Commission also addresses the issue of allegations voiced by the opponents of the Georgian authorities that the proposed constitutional reform is motivated by desire of President Saakashvili to remain in power in a role of PM after his second and final term in office expires in autumn, 2013.
“It is not the task of the Venice Commission to speculate on the motivation for these changes. In its view, at any rate, in the light of the developments in the process of constitutional reform, it would seem unjustified to dismiss the draft as a mere attempt to circumvent the limitations of power under the present Constitution,” the Commission said.
The Commission also reiterated its position voiced in the first preliminary opinion that the proposed draft provides for “several important improvements and significant steps in the right direction” compared to the existing system, which was introduced in 2004.
“The Commission considers nevertheless that it would be desirable to further strengthen the powers of parliament. In this respect, the provisions on the formation of the government and especially those on the motion of non-confidence, as well as those about the parliament’s powers in budget matters, should be reconsidered,” the Commission said.
The issue of constitutional reform in Georgia was raised by U.S. Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, in he opening remarks at a session of U.S.-Georgia strategic partnership commission in Washington on October 6.
She said that it was “the most important reform challenge facing Georgia today” and added that the U.S. “supports the recommendations of the Venice Commission as put forward for strengthening Georgia’s system of checks and balances.”
9 Oct. '10 Shamba sagte zu dem Vorfall an einer Moschee: ‘Gewiße Kräfte’ versuchen die Spannungen im Nordkaukasus nach Abchsien überschwappen zu lassen
Sergey Shamba, PM of breakaway Abkhazia, said that an attack outside mosque in Gudauta on October 8, which killed one man and injured two others, was yet another attempt to spill North Caucasus tensions into Abkhazia.
“Like the previous cases, the recent one can also be assessed as an attempt of certain forces to bring events taking place in the North Caucasus into Abkhazia. Someone wants to purposefully drug us into this conflict. Our enemies are doing it, those who want us to confront with Russia,” Shamba told the local television station without specifying who those “certain forces” were.
Shamba said that there was no “inter-confessional conflict” in Abkhazia and “outrageous” attack of October 8 had nothing to do with that.
Mentioning previous cases, Shamba was apparently referring to murder of a member of the Spiritual Board of Muslims of Abkhazia, Emik Chakmach-Ogly, who was killed in his house in the town of Gagra on July 17, 2010. Also in July imam at the mosque in Sokhumi claimed that he survived an assassination attempt after he had found an explosive device placed in his vehicle. Khamzat Gitsba, an imam at the mosque in Gudauta, was shot dead in Gudauta in August, 2007.
Although Shamba said that the authorities would spare no efforts to investigate this recent attack, he also added: “It is a very difficult process to resolve crimes like this.”
8 Oct. '10 Anfänglicher Gesetzesentwurf zum Staatshaushalt für 2011 vorgelegt
5.9 Mrd. GEL Einnahmen und 5.7 Mrd. GEL Ausgaben sind geplant.
The government has submitted to the Parliament for consideration initial draft of 2011 state budget, which is subject to further revision before its finally approval by lawmakers in December.
According to the draft, revenues for the next year are set at GEL 5.9 billion (GEL 5.4 in 2010), including GEL 5.3 billion of tax revenues and expenditures - at GEL 5.7 billion (GEL 5.69 billion in 2010).
Defense funding, according to the draft, will be further cut next year, while ministries of interior, regional development, energy, justice and agriculture will received increased funding next year against 2010.
Breakdown of spending in the draft for 2011 per ministry is as follows:
    * Ministry of Labor, Healthcare and Social Protection – GEL 1.6 billion, almost the same figure as for 2010;
    * Defense Ministry – GEL 660 million (GEL 744.5 million in 2010; 2009 - GEL 897 million; 2008 - GEL 1.547 billion);
    * Interior Ministry – GEL 566 million (2010 - GEL 548 million; 2009 - GEL 573 million; 2008 - GEL 739 million);
    * Finance Ministry – GEL 273 million (2010 – GEL 348.6 million);
    * Economy Ministry – GEL 21.3 million (2010 – GEL 55.6 million);
    * Ministry of Regional Development and Infrastructure – GEL 971.3 million (2010 - GEL 782.3 million);
    * Energy Ministry – GEL 74.9 million (2010 - GEL 23.8 million);
    * Justice Ministry – GEL 68.7 million (2010 - GEL 45.3 million);
    * Ministry for Penitentiary System and Probation – GEL 99.5 million (2010 - GEL 122.8 million);
    * Foreign Ministry – GEL 73.1 million (2010 - GEL 69.2 million);
    * Ministry of Education and Science – GEL 554 million (2010 - GEL 554.8);
    * Ministry of Culture and Protection of Monument - GEL 51 million; (2010 – GEL 54.9 million);
    * Ministry of Sports and Youth Affairs – GEL 30.9 million (the ministry was established in 2010 after a relevant department was separated from the ministry of culture and its funding for 2010 is GEL 29.2 million);
    * Ministry of Agriculture – GEL 69.1 million (2010 – 40.2 million);
    * Ministry of Environment Protection - GEL 27.2 million (2010 - GEL 29 million);
    * Minister of IDPs from the Occupied Territories, Accommodation and Refugees– GEL 30.3 million (2010 - GEL 40.3 million);
    * Office of the State Minister for Reintegration Issues – GEL 1 million, same as in 2010;
    * Office of the State Minister for Integration into European and Euro-Atlantic Structures – GEL 1.78 million (2010 - GEL 2.2 million);
    * Office of the State Minister for Diaspora Issues – GEL 923,000 (2010 - GEL 950,000).
According to the draft, the president’s and government’s reserve funds will receive GEL 50 million each, instead of GEL 55 million this year. Funding of the president’s administration, as well as the one of government will be slightly reduced to GEL 14.1 million and GEL 8.5 million, respectively.
The Parliament will keep the same funding next year and receive GEL 33.9 million, plus about GEL 6.2 million for funding of various institutions or agencies affiliated with, or operating at the legislative body.
The Central Election Commission will receive reduced funding next year, as no elections are scheduled – GEL 12.4 million of which GEL 4.7 million is envisaged for state funding of political parties.
The Public Defender’s Office will receive GEL 2.1 million next year, instead of this year’s GEL 2 million, according to the initial draft.
GEL 25 million is allocated for the Georgian Public Broadcaster next year.
The Georgian Orthodox Church will keep its current annual funding from the state of GEL 25 million next year, according to the draft.
The government plans to spend GEL 10 million on program Teach and Learn with Georgia, involving bringing of 1,000 native English-speakers to teach English in the Georgian schools.
8 Oct. '10 Ein Mann getötet bei Angriff auf Prediger bei einer abchasischen Moschee
8 Oct. '10 Premierminister Nika Gilauri zur Pressefreiheit in Georgien
Er wies zurück, dass es Probleme mit der Transparenz bei den Eigentumsverhältnissen von Medien gibt und sagte, dass das Land eine mannigfaltige Medienlaschaft habe - mit regierungskritischen und die Regierung stützenden Medien.
PM Nika Gilauri rejected there were problems with transparency of media ownership in Georgia and said the country had diverse media landscape with some outlets “saying some good things about the government” and others strongly critical of the authorities.
He told an audience at the Atlantic Council in Washington on October 7, that like everywhere else in Georgia too various TV stations were giving different interpretation of current events.
“I’ve seen it everywhere absolutely… Even in the U.S. during the elections there was one TV company, which was saying completely different reality and another saying completely different, which is normal to democratic society,” said PM Gilauri, who was speaking in English.
Asked particularly about transparency of media ownership, the Georgian PM responded briefly: “It is very important; I do not know any media that could have this problem.”
EU said in its recent report on implementation of Georgia’s commitments undertaken under the EU-Georgia European Neighborhood Policy Action Plan, that problems remained with lack of transparency of broadcast media ownership.
8 Oct. '10 Premierminister Nika Gilauri: 'Georgien unterstützt Russland's WTO-Mitgliedschaft, aber mit einer Bedingung.'
Georgian PM Nika Gilauri reiterated on October 7 Tbilisi's position that it would support Russia's WTO membership if Moscow allows to make customs checkpoints located in Abkhazia and South Ossetia, two breakaway regions which Russia has recognized as independent states, "transparent".
"We support Russia's membership to WTO, but with one condition, that all the rules of WTO should be followed and part of the rules of WTO is that customs checkpoints between two countries must be transparent. Unfortunately, right now because of occupied territories of Abkhazia and South Ossetia these two customs checkpoints [one in Abkhazia and another one in South Ossetia] are not transparent and we are requesting only one thing and this [condition] is to follow WTO rules," PM Gilauri, who is visiting Washington, said in an interview with CNBC.
In separate remarks made while speaking to an audience at the Atlantic Council in Washington, Gilauri said that Tbilisi was not linking its demand to Russia to withdraw troops from Abkhazia and South Ossetia to WTO membership. He said it was “a separate issue” and it had “nothing to do” with WTO. He retreated that in respect of WTO, Tbilisi wanted Russia to make customs checkpoints transparent.
The White House announced last week that the U.S. and Russia made the "substantial progress" in resolving bilateral issues and that Russia had taken "significant steps" toward joining WTO.
"President Obama pledged to support Russia's efforts to complete remaining steps in multilateral negotiations so that Russia could join the WTO as soon as possible," the White House said in a statement after a phone conversation between the Russian and U.S. Presidents on October 1.
PM Gilauri, who leads the Georgian delegation of senior officials in Washington for the meeting of U.S.-Georgia Strategic Partnership Commission, met with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on October 6. The Georgian PM told CNBC that Secretary Clinton's remarks at the meeting held in frames of the strategic partnership charter between the two countries on October 6, was "excellent."
"All the right points were made about occupied territories - these are not breakaway regions, these are occupied territories - she demanded Russian troops to leave Georgian territory and actually she promised additional support - political, as well as economic," he said. 
Speaking on Georgia's economy, PM Gilauri said that after "difficult year" of 2009, which saw 3.9% contraction, economy was expected to grow 5 to 6% this year.
Georgia's real GDP grew 6.6% in the first half of 2010 year-on-year to nominal GEL 9.201 billion, according to preliminary figures, released by the state statistic office last month.
He said that foreign direct investment was also increasing and Georgia was becoming "kind of investment hub" with investors basing thier businesses in the country to then expand into the Caucasus, Central Asia, Ukraine and Turkey.
Although FDI inflow grew 11% year-on-year in second quarter of 2010 to USD 196.9 million, an overall FDI in the first half was still down by 6.38% year-on-year, according to the preliminary figures released by the Georgian state statistics office.
Georgian Finance Minister, Kakha Baindurashvili, said this week that the government expected USD 1 billion FDI in 2010.
"Next year won't be an absolute breakthrough, of course, in attracting investment, but I think it will be a turn towards real growth," he told Reuters.
7 Oct. '10 Regionaler TV-Direktor von Trialeti TV, Joni Nanetashvili, freigelassen, nachdem er zu einer Strafe von 400 GEL verurteilt wurde
Es ging um Widerstand gegen die Polizei, als diese ihn wegen Telefonierens beim Autofahren bestrafen wollte.
7 Oct. '10 EU-Kommissar für Menschenrechte Thomas Hammarberg ruft zur Freilassung in Tskhinvali gefangen gehaltener Georgier auf
Council of Europe’s Human Rights Commissioner, Thomas Hammarberg, called on Tskhinvali to release all Georgians held in detention since the August, 2008 war.
“These persons should be released and immediate steps should be taken to allow them to join their families,” Hammarberg said in a report released on October 7, addressing implementation of six principles for ensuring human rights and humanitarian protection in war-affected areas.
Hammarberg, who has helped secure release of number of detained persons from the both sides, submitted in March, 2010 to Tbilisi and Tskhinvali a memorandum calling for the release of all detainees without delay and “without step-by-step conditionality or ‘bargaining’ based on head-counting.”
In late March the Georgian side released all six persons remaining in detention in Tbilisi – those who were arrested after the August war, in particular in a period between October 2008 and January 2010.
The move was followed in May by Tskhinvali’s release of six, out of thirteen Georgians, held by the South Ossetian side after the August war.
The CoE Human Rights Commissioner welcomed these steps by the sides, as well as the fact that “hardly any prolonged detentions have occurred since the memorandum was submitted to the sides.”
“However, the Commissioner notes with concern that a number of persons remain deprived of their liberty in Tskhinvali,” Hammarberg said in the report. “The Commissioner is particularly concerned that some of the detainees in Tskhinvali are in bad health, and urges the relevant decision-makers to treat these cases as a matter of priority on humanitarian grounds.”
In the same report, the Commissioner called once again on the sides “to demonstrate that they have taken every possible step to clarify the fate of the missing persons and the circumstances of each disappearance.”
A separate report detailing several cases of missing persons was released by the Commissioner on September 29. In one case, involving disappearance of three young ethnic Ossetians in October, 2008, the report suggests that the three persons disappeared after being detained by the Georgian police.
The report was criticized by the Georgian Interior Ministry official as “biased”. Shota Utiashvili, head of the information and analytical department of the Interior Ministry told RFE/RL’s Russian-language service, Ekho Kavkaza, that it was disappointing that the report fails to shed a light on fate of missing Georgians. He also said that Tbilisi was disappointed that the Commissioner’s efforts did not result in release of all Georgians held in Tskhinvali.
6 Oct. '10 US-Außenministerin Clinton zu den Prioritäten in der Kooperation USA-Georgien
- Die Verfassungsänderung ist vorerst die herausforderndste Reform.
- Die USA unterstützen die Empfehlungen der Venedig-Kommission.
- In den Wahlen 2012, 2013 internationale Standards übertreffen.
    * ‘Constitution is most challenging reform for now’;
    * ‘U.S. supports Venice Commission recommendations’;
    * ‘Exceed international standards in 2012, 2013 elections’
U.S. Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, reiterated Washington’s unwavering support to Georgia’s territorial integrity, NATO aspiration and democratic reforms and called on Tbilisi to showcase in its next elections that it not only meets, but exceeds international standards.
She was speaking during her opening remarks at the U.S.-Georgia Strategic Partnership Commission meeting in Washington in presence of Georgian PM Nika Gilauri and other Georgian senior officials.
The charter on strategic partnership, signed between Georgia and the United States in January, 2009 set a framework of cooperation between the two countries, covering four priority areas, involving defense and security; trade and economy; democracy and people-to-people contacts and cultural exchanges. 
In her opening remarks the U.S. Secretary of State, who visited Tbilisi in July, 2010, reiterated Washington’s commitment “to advance Georgia’s security and democracy.”
“The United States will not waver in its support for Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity,” she said, adding that support was “core principle” of bilateral partnership.
She also reiterated U.S. support for Georgia’s NATO aspiration and in this context she said Washington was committed to helping Georgia in improving its defense capabilities, including in terms of NATO interoperability and Georgia’s contribution to coalition forces in Afghanistan. She expressed condolences over death of five Georgian soldiers, killed in combat in two separate incidents in the province of Helmand in early and late September.
“We call on Russia to end its occupation of Georgian territories,” Clinton said and added that Russia should follow its commitments under the August 12, 2008 six-point ceasefire agreement.
“Georgia has taken a constructive approach in our common efforts to address this challenge to the talks in Geneva,” she said and expressed support to Georgia’s state strategy on occupied territories, saying that Washington was ready to contribute to “important objectives” laid out in the strategy and in its action plan.
In her opening remarks, Clinton also reiterated the U.S. commitment to continue supporting Georgia’s democracy, saying that fair elections, solid institutions and vibrant civil society “are prerequisites for long-term stability.”
She said that the May 30, 2010 local elections showed “a real tangible progress”, but lot remained to be done to address issues of political competition, fundraising, accountability, including investigation of any alleged irregularities in the elections.
Clinton said that parliamentary elections of 2012 and then president elections of 2013 “should showcase, that the Georgian democracy not only meets, but exceeds international standards”.
“It will be important for Georgia’s people and for the international community,” she said and added that success made by Georgia in fight against corruption already serves as “a role model” for other countries.
Clinton said that ongoing constitutional reform was “the most important reform challenge facing Georgia today.”
“It represents the opportunity for Georgians to build on everything you have accomplished since the Rose Revolution and I hope the Parliament will recognize that opportunity as it concludes its consideration of the constitutional reform package,” she said.
“The United States supports the recommendations of the Venice Commission as put forward for strengthening Georgia’s system of checks and balances and we stand ready to assist in this process,” Clinton said.
The Venice Commission, which is Council of Europe’s advisory body for legal affairs, laid out its preliminary recommendations over Georgia’s constitutional reform in late July; it said in September, that it would produce its final opinion in mid-October.
The Georgian Parliament passed constitutional amendments with it second reading on October 1. The draft still requires Parliament’s approval with third and final reading before it becomes law; but this final stage will be more a technical formality and no significant changes will be made in the draft.
6 Oct. '10 Georgien und USA besprechen in Washington die Kooperation im Rahmen des "Strategischen Partnerschaftsabkommens"
Georgian and U.S. senior officials will hold a meeting of Strategic Partnership Commission in Washington on October 6 to review cooperation in frames of Charter on Strategic Partnership signed between the two countries in January, 2009.
Georgian PM Nika Gilauri and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will make opening remarks at the beginning of the U.S.-Georgia Charter on Strategic Partnership Omnibus Meeting. Bilateral talks between PM Gilauri and Secretary Clinton is also planned.
Charter on Strategic Partnership covers four areas of cooperation involving defense and security; trade and economy; democracy and people-to-people contacts and cultural exchange. Respective four working groups have been set up to address these four areas of cooperation and meetings of those working groups were held in course of 2009 and early 2010.
PM Gilauri, who leads the Georgian delegation, said that during the visit to Washington he would also meet with U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, as well as with senior executives of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund.
5 Oct. '10 Inflation steigt auf 9.8% im September
5 Oct. '10 Position Georgiens zur Mitgliedschaft Russlands in der WTO bleibt ‘unverändert’
Georgien wird die Mitgliedschaft nicht unterstützen, solange von Georgien genannte Bedingungen nicht erfüllt werden, wie die Frage der russische Grenzposten in Abchasien und Südossetien und eine Reihe weiterer Fragen zwischen Georgien und Russland.
4 Oct. '10 Außenminister Grigol Vashadze besucht Armenien
Georgian Foreign Minister, Grigol Vashadze, said after meeting with his Armenian counterpart, Edward Nalbandian, in Yerevan on October 4, that relations between the two countries “have not been better than they are today”, RFE/RL Armenian service reported.
“As close friends and neighboring countries, we will always have some issues to discuss, but we are trying not to transform those issues into problems,” he was quoted as saying at a joint news conference with the Armenian counterpart. “I should say that we are finding understanding regarding each and every matter.”
Meanwhile in Tbilisi, Georgian Deputy Foreign Minister, Nino Kalandadze, said, while commenting on Vashadze's visit to Yerevan, that despite Russia attempts to spoil relations between Georgia and Armenia, the two countries were developing active cooperation.
"As you are aware we have quite active relations with our neighbor [Armenia] and frequent high-level visits confirm that our relations are developing well," Kalandadze said at a news conference.
"Although our northern neighbor tries to make cracks in our relationship [with Armenia], it will not be reflected negatively on our relations," she added.
Also on October 4, Grigol Vashadze met with Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan.
"President Sargsyan underlined importance of mutual visits on various levels, which foster further improvement and deepening of bilateral relations," the Armenian President's administration said in a statement after the meeting. It also said that implementation of agreements reached during the Armenian President's recent visit to Georgia in February would help to further promote cooperation between the two countries.
Vashadze's remarks on Russian military base in Armenia made at the news conference with his counterpart was in the focus of Armenian newswires while reporting on this visit. The reason is Vashadze's previous comments on the same issue made in an interview with the Azeri-Press Agency (APA) on September 7. At the time he was quoted as saying that "presence of Russian military base in South Caucasus is dangerous for Georgia, as well as for Azerbaijan and even more [dangerous] for sovereignty and independence of Armenia." In the same interview he also said that extending Moscow’s lease on Gyumri military base in Armenia to 2044 was "a huge, huge threat for Georgia." (APA posted on its website audio file of part of that interview where Vashadze makes these remarks after it has been suggested that Vashadze's comments were distorted).
Commenting on the Georgian Foreign Minister's reported remarks, the Armenian Foreign Ministry at that time suggested that Vashadze could have been misquoted. “In any case, no foreign official has the right to meddle in our affairs and make comments on our security issues,” Armenian Foreign Ministry spokesperson said at the time.
Asked about the issue at the new conference in Yerevan on October 4, Vashadze said that as a sovereign state "Armenia has the right to decide what kind of a security arrangement is good for this nation," RFE/RL Armenian service reported. It also reported that Vashadze said his statements were “sometimes not described quite accurately” by media.
On August 20, when Armenian-Russian military deal on Gyumri base lease extension was signed, Nino Kalandadze, the Georgian deputy foreign minister, said Tbilisi had no reason to suspect that Armenia would endanger regional security.
"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," she said.
On the same issue, President Saakashvili said on September 3, 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 told lawmakers from his ruling party. "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]."
4 Oct. '10 Oppositionsgruppen legen Vorschlag zur Wahlreform aus
Eight opposition parties laid out on October 4 a joint proposal on electoral system reform and called on the authorities to launch talks on the blueprint.
National Forum, Conservative Party, Republican Party, Our Georgia-Free Democrats, Georgia’s Way, New Rights, Christian-Democratic Movement and Party of People held a conference on October 4 to discuss the proposal and to call on the international organizations to support the electoral system reform.
“Stability and democratic development of the country” depends on success of this process, the parties said in a joint statement.
The proposal focuses on five directions of electoral system reform, involving rule of electing the Parliament; rule of composition of election administrations; voter lists; election day procedures and handling of electoral complaints. 
Parliament
The proposal envisages election of 75 lawmakers in 150-seat Parliament through party-list, proportional system (as it is currently, no changes in this respect) and other half of lawmakers through so called “regional-proportional system”, instead of current practice of electing 75 lawmakers through winner-takes-all system in country’s 75 single-mandate constituencies.
Electing majoritarian MPs through “regional-proportional system” means that parties or election blocs will nominate several candidates in each constituency. In this case instead of currently existing single-mandate constituencies, multi-mandate constituencies will be introduced and number of seats available in each constituency will depend on their size. Seats in the parliament, under this system, will be allocated proportionally, based on the votes received by parties in a particular constituency. Under this system those parties, which clear 5% electoral threshold in that particular constituency, will be able to endorse majoritarian MPs to the Parliament from that constituency.
This rule, if implemented, will increase opposition parties’ chances to take more majoritarian seats in the Parliament. Under the current system, the ruling National Movement Party won 71 out of 75 majoritarian seats in the May, 2008 elections.
Election Administration
The proposal offers to cut number of seats in Central Election Commission (CEC) from current 13 to 7 and to compose CEC on a parity bases by each representative from those seven parties, which are currently holding seats in CEC, based on results of the May, 2010 local and May, 2008 parliamentary elections.
These seven parties now having seats in 13-member CEC are: the ruling National Movement party; Christian-Democratic Movement; a small party On Our Own; little-known Christian-Democratic People’s Party (these three latter parties ran jointly in a same bloc during the local elections under CDM’s umbrella and were able to gain seats in CEC); Industrialist Party, Conservative Party and Labor Party.
The change, what the opposition parties’ proposal involves, is to scrap those five seats in CEC, which are currently occupied by those persons who formally are not members of any political party, but are believed to be affiliated with the ruling party.
According to the proposal, seven members of CEC will name three candidates for the post of CEC chairman; it will be up to the President to choose one out of three candidates.
The proposal envisages maintaining current rule of composition of lower level election administrations in precincts and districts, meaning that, if implemented, each precinct and district election commission will still be composed of 13 members, wherein seven are representatives of political parties and others non-party members.
Biometric Voting System
The proposal calls for introduction of biometric technologies to identify voters through means of a fingerprint and from a photographic database in order to tackle problem of voter lists and potential double-voting – the problems, which are debated ahead of each elections in Georgia.
The opposition National Forum party has been leading a campaign for introduction of the system for months already. The party has even drafted a law and presented it to the Parliament for consideration.
Elections Day
The fourth proposal concerns number of election day procedures and offers installation of CCTV cameras at all polling stations, as well as electronic scanning of cast ballot papers during the vote tabulation.
Election Complaints
The eight opposition parties’ proposal also offers new system of handling electoral complaints under which Tbilisi Court of Appeals should become body of last instance to hear electoral complaints.
The complaints, according to the proposal, will be heard by a panel of one judge from the Court of Appeals and four lay judges. Lay judges will be selected by ‘qualified’ political parties (those which won at least 4% of the vote in the last parliamentary elections and at least 3% of the vote in the last local elections). According to the proposal parties should have the right to recuse a judge. The 5-member panel will take decisions with majority vote, according to the proposal.
4 Oct. '10 Premierminister Nika Gilauri besucht Bulgarien
4 Oct. '10 Medvedev verurteilt den weißrussischen Präsidenten Lukashenko wegen seiner Äußerungen zu Abchasien und Südossetien
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said that actions and statements of his counterpart from Belarus, Alexander Lukashenko, including over the issue of recognition of Abkhazia and South Ossetia was “dishonorable”.
Medvedev slammed Lukashenko in a video blog posted on the Kremlin website on October 3, following Lukashenko’s statement a day earlier, that Minsk refused to recognize Georgia’s two breakaway regions because Moscow refused to share negative consequences, expected for Belarus from the West in case of such decision.
“This issue has turned into subject of permanent political horse-trading. But Russia does not trade with its principles,” Medvedev said in his video blog.
“This is dishonorable behavior and partners do not act like this. Of course, we will take it into consideration while building our relations with the current President of Belarus.”
“I have stated for number of times: recognition or non-recognition of these two new states is a sovereign right of any country and we have never pressed on anybody to do so. Though, we are not indifferent towards this issue,” Medvedev said.
He said Russia was providing huge assistance to Belarus. He said Minsk was able to save USD 2 billion only this year through purchase of Russian oil under discount price. Medvedev said it was “strange” that the Belarus leadership started “anti-Russian rhetoric.”
Medvedev also said that creating image of external enemy by the Belarus leadership was not a new development, but if previously the West was used for this purpose, “now it is Russia, which is declared as main enemy.”
“In his remarks President Lukashenko goes beyond not only of diplomatic rules, but of elementary human politeness,” Medvedev said.
3 Oct. '10 Patriarch Ilia II: 'Man solle davon absehen, die Kinder zur Ausbildung ins Ausland zu schicken'
2 Oct. '10 Lukashenko äußert sich über die Gründe, warum sich weigerte, Weißrussland Abchasien und Südossetien anzuerkennen
Russland wollte die Konsequenzen, die Weißrussland in seinen Beziehungen zu Europa erleiden würde, nicht mittragen.
Belarus President, Alexander Lukashenko, said Minsk was ready to recognize Georgia’s two breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, but did not do so because Moscow refused “to share” negative consequences, expected for Belarus from the West in case of such decision.
“Taking into consideration our relations – between Belarus and Russia – of course we should have recognized [South] Ossetia and Abkhazia; no matter what it [Russia] is our ally,” Lukashenko said at a news conference held for the Russian journalists on October 2.
“From this point of view, we should have done that. Frankly speaking, we were ready to do that,” he was quoted by the Belarus and Russian media sources.
“I was meeting with one western politician and he told me: ‘Do you really want to recognize Ossetia and Abkhazia?’ I responded: ‘And why does it make you so uneasy? We are allies [with Russia]’ and then he laid out those relations, which we would have had with Europe and the United States [in case of recognition of Abkhazia and South Ossetia]… You should know that we have slightly more trade [turnover] with the European Union, than with Russia; it’s billions of dollars. When Russia pushed us out from market, Europe did not dare to do that... So with the long list of possible disasters, which could have embraced Belarus, I met with your President [Dmitry Medvedev] in Sochi and we discussed this problem, during which he was citing my solemn pledge [to recognize Abkhazia and South Ossetia]. I am not rejecting [making such pledge]. But I told him: ‘There will be consequences [for Belarus from the West in case of recognition]; are you ready Mr. President, dear friend, to share these consequences together with us? Are you ready to put your shoulder?’ I quote [Medvedev’s response]: ‘Let’s stop this horse-trading. This is one issue and that’s another’. So I told him: ‘Thanks, the issue is now closed, there is no continuation to this conversation’,” Lukashenko said.
It was reported in February, 2009, that then EU foreign policy chief, Javier Solana, had warned the Belarus President against recognizing Abkhazia and South Ossetia.
On August 3, 2010, Russian President, Dmitry Medvedev, said that at one of the summits of CIS leaders, following the August, 2008 war with Georgia, Lukashenko promised in presence of other leaders of CIS to recognize Abkhazia and South Ossetia.
At the news conference on October 2, Lukashenko said that he was the only President present at the meeting, who “supported Russia”. “Let him [Medvedev] publish transcript of my speech and those of others as well. You should have looked at that expression on his face,” Lukashenko said.
“Maybe Russia does not want us at all to recognize Ossetia and Abkhazia? Maybe [Russia uses the issue] just as a pretext to bow us down?” he said.
In his remarks Lukashenko also mentioned President Saakashvili’s interview, which was aired by the Belarus state television in July, 2010 and which was described in Russia as “an unfriendly step” of Minsk towards Moscow.
Lukashenko said that he had an impression from that interview that the Georgian leader was sending a message to the Russian leadership about the need to build relations. “That’s the first time I see this kind of Saakashvili,” Lukashenko said. “He gave 7-minute long interview; so what?”
2 Oct. '10 EU wird von 2011-13 mit 30 Mio. GEL den Ausbau von staatlichen Büros und Dienststellen unterstützen
EU will allocate EUR 30.86 million in 2011-2013 to help institutional strengthening of number of Georgian state agencies, the Georgian government said on Saturday.
State Minister for Euro-Atlantic Integration Giorgi Baramidze and head of EU delegation to Georgia Per Eklund signed a memorandum of understanding on this EU-funded Comprehensive Institutional Building Programme on October 1.
According to the EU delegation, the project will target those state agencies, which play “a key role” in negotiations on Association Agreement between EU and Georgia, including the National Service for Food Safety, Veterinary and Plant Protection, the Education Accreditation Centre and the National Agency for Standards, Technical Regulations and Metrology. The project also targets Chamber of Control, Parliament and Public Defender’s Office.
Georgia and EU launched Association Agreement talks in mid-July, 2010, when EU foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton, visited Georgia.
1 Oct. '10 EUMM erklärt zur Besetzung von Ackerland, dass nur vier Pfosten gefunden wurden, aber keine weiteren Anzeichen für eine Grenzziehung
1 Oct. '10 Verfassungsänderung in zweiter Lesung verabschiedet
1 Oct. '10 NATO wiederholt die Unterstützung für Georgien
During his visit in Tbilisi on October 1, NATO Secretary General, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, said he expected upcoming summit of NATO leaders in Lisbon would reiterate the decision of the 2008 Bucharest summit that Georgia will one day become member of the alliance once Georgian fulfills necessary criteria.
While reiterating NATO’s support to non-recognition policy of Abkhazia and South Ossetia and calling on Russia to implement its commitments under the August 12, 2008 six-point cease-fire agreement, Rasmussen also said that it was his “clear intention” to improve ties between Moscow and NATO, “leading, hopefully, to true strategic partnership”.
“I do believe that’s in our mutual interests and it is also in the interests of Georgia,” Rasmussen said while speaking at a joint news conference with President Saakashvili just before departure from Tbilisi.
“If we succeed in developing true strategic partnership between NATO and Russia, then it will also improve Georgia’s security situation.”
Saakashvili, who described the Secretary General’s visit as “extremely important”, said “of course” NATO membership “stays a priority for the Georgian government.”
“There is one thing Georgia can never compromise on – that’s the issue of freedom and for us and right now NATO stands for the idea of freedom and that’s why it has strong support of the Georgian nation and in overall of political spectrum in Georgia,” Saakashvili said.
He said that there were number of other issues where Georgia was “flexible” and “very open”, including in respect of engagement with Russia.
During the press conference, the NATO Secretary General expressed condolences over death of four Georgian soldiers in Afghanistan on September 30 and said: “Their sacrifice will not be in vain.”
We are making progress in Afghanistan and I can assure that we will stay as long as it takes to finish our job to prevent Afghanistan from once again becoming a safe haven for terrorists,” Rasmussen said.
“I can assure you that NATO also stands firm in our commitment to Georgia,” he added.
Saakashvili said that Georgia would remain committed member of NATO-led coalition forces in Afghanistan.
“You should count on our support and we count on your further political support to our territorial integrity, our independence and to future development of my country,” Saakashvili told the NATO Secretary General.
1 Oct. '10 Vier georgische Soldaten in Afghanistan getötet
1 Oct. '10 NATO-Verbindungsbüros in Tbilisi eröffnet