Georgia Seeking War on Abkhazia, S. Ossetia
Russia's envoy to NATO has claimed that Georgian President Mikheil
Saakashvili is seeking to use armed force to bring Abkhazia and South
Ossetia back under Georgian sovereignty and that he is trying to secure
the support of NATO in achieving that goal.
"In my view, all the problems [in
Georgia's conflicts with Abkhazia and South Ossetia] stem not only from
the aggressive rhetoric, but also from the aggressive plans of Mr.
Saakashvili, who simultaneously wants to draw NATO into somebody else's
headache, who wants to secure NATO support for the use of armed force to
resolve the conflicts with Abkhazia and South Ossetia," Dmitry Rogozin
told Russian television channel Vesti 24.
"Strange as it is, Mr. Saakashvili still
hasn't abandoned his plans to solve his territorial problem in a
military way without suspecting or realizing that in actual fact there
can be no military solutions to ethnic conflicts, least of all in the
Caucasus," Rogozin said.
"And this is happening despite the fact
that NATO chiefs are demanding that Georgia show at least some form of
calm. Because how can they draw Georgia into NATO if there are two
smoldering wars in Georgia itself?" he said.
But Russia, the envoy said, would make
sure there is no war in Abkhazia or South Ossetia. He said 90% of the
two regions' population are Russian citizens.
"Both the Russian peacekeepers and Russian
foreign policy in the Caucasus are the only guarantee that there would
be no war there," Rogozin said.
Georgia, Abkhazia to Sign Non-Aggression Deal
The sooner Georgia and Abkhazia conclude an agreement on the non-use of
force in the conflict zone the more chances there will be to resolve
other sensitive and complicated aspects of the settlement process, said
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev.
Medvedev reaffirmed Russia's resolve to
take efficient and coordinated steps to relieve tensions and restore
confidence between the conflicting parties, which he said is the only
way to unblock the negotiating process between Sukhum and Tbilisi, the
Kremlin press service said.
German Vice Chancellor and Foreign
Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, who arrived in Russia on Friday after
visiting Georgia, informed Medvedev on his meetings with Georgian and
Abkhaz leaders and about efforts Germany is making as a coordinator of
the UN Secretary General's Group of Friends for Georgia to deescalate
tensions in the Georgian-Abkhaz conflict zone, the Kremlin said.
of Georgian troops only way out of Abkhazia conflict - Medvedev
Adoption of joint Georgian-Abakhzian documents on the non-use of force
and withdrawal of Georgian troops from the upper part of the Kodor Gorge
in the much-troubled republic of Abkhazia offer the only way out of the
dragging conflict around Abkhazia, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev
said Friday night.
Only these steps will unblock the process
of negotiations between Georgia’s central government and the Abkhazian
authorities, Medvedev said as he received German Foreign Minister
Frank-Walter Steinmeyer, the Kremlin press service said.
Steinmeyer, who came to Russia on a
working visit after a trip to Georgia, told Medvedev about the contents
of his meetings with Georgian and Abkhazian leaders, as well as about
the steps Germany is taking as the coordinator of the Group of Friends
of the UN Secretary General for Georgia to reduce tensions in Abkhazia
and South Ossetia, another region of Georgia that has been seeking
independence and sovereignty for itself since the beginning of the
Medvedev said on his part that the sooner
the Georgian government and Abkhazia lift the barriers to negotiations,
the more chances there will be for the solution of other knotty and
highly sensitive problems in Georgian-Abkhazian relations.
The two men also discussed some pressing
issues of bilateral relations pertaining to coordination of a schedule
of Russian-German political contacts, which Medvedev and Federal
Chancellor Angela Merkel had agreed on in the course of a meeting in
Japan on the sidelines of the recent G8 summit conference.
The discussion embraced, in part,
preparations for a new round of bilateral consultations that Medvedev
and Merkel are going to have in St Petersburg in early October.
Russia insists on
Georgian troop pullout to end Abkhazia conflict
Russia's president told
Germany's foreign minister at talks on the conflict between Georgia and
Abkhazia that Tbilisi must pull its troops out of the province before a
peace deal can be reached.
Frank-Walter Steinmeier, whose country is
chairing a UN group seeking to ease tensions between Georgia and
Abkhazia, met with Dmitry Medvedev on Friday evening.
The Kremlin said the Russian leader "stressed
that the only way out of the current situation is to adopt joint
documents obliging the sides to refrain from violence and guaranteeing
security, and for Georgia to withdraw its troops from the upper part of
the Kodor Gorge."
"The quicker this is done, the more chance
there is of solving more complex and sensitive aspects of
Georgian-Abkhaz conflict regulation," the statement said.
Germany's plan for resolving the conflict,
which has received the backing of the European Union, stipulates a
non-violence agreement, confidence-building measures over the next year
to lead to a determination of Abkhazia's status, and the return of
around 250,000 Georgian refugees to Abkhazia.
Germany's top diplomat had arrived in
Russia after visits to Georgia and Abkhazia. The Kremlin said he gave a
detailed account of his meetings with leaders in Tbilisi and Gal (Abkhazia),
and on Germany's work as chair of the UN Group of Friends of the
Secretary General, set up to prevent an escalation of Georgian-Abkhaz
Steinmeier had earlier met with his
Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov.
He admitted to the Russian diplomat that
the Georgian and Abkhaz positions remain far apart, and that the current
negotiations will require several weeks.
"I am glad we have seen the willingness of
our partners to enter into talks that could resolve a range of issues,"
Before the meeting, Lavrov had said the
German plan for the resolution of the conflict was a step in the right
direction, but dismissed a proposed agreement on the return of Georgian
refugees to Abkhazia as unrealistic.
Georgia has accused Russia of fueling
tensions in the region with the aim of annexing Abkhazia and South
Ossetia. Tbilisi wants to replace Russia-led peacekeepers in the
conflict zones with international contingents.
Lavrov says 'work must continue' on
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Friday after
meeting with his German counterpart in Moscow that work must continue to
convince the sides in the Georgian-Abkhazian conflict to begin direct
The German plan, backed by the EU, stipulates a non-violence
agreement, confidence-building measures over the next year to lead to a
determination of Abkhazia's status, and the return of Georgian refugees
"We agreed that work must be continued to convince, as soon as
possible, the sides to begin direct talks," Lavrov said, adding that the
sides must themselves find "common ground."
Abkhazia rejected the peace plan earlier on Friday, calling it "unacceptable."
Georgia has given its overall backing for the plan.
German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, rounding off a
two-day visit to Georgia, Abkhazia, and Russia, admitted that the
Georgian and Abkhazian positions were still far apart, adding however
that this did not mean the peace process should be abandoned.
"I am glad we have seen the willingness of our partners to enter into
talks that could resolve a range of issues," he said, noting that this
would require many days and weeks of negotiations.
Lavrov and Steinmeier then left for a meeting with Russian President
Before the meeting, Lavrov said the German plan for the resolution of
the Georgian-Abkhazian conflict was a step in the right direction, but
dismissed a proposed agreement on the return of Georgian refugees to
Abkhazia as unrealistic.
Abkhazia rejects German peace plan
Gal, Abkhazia has rejected a German-proposed peace plan on the resolution
of Abkhazia's conflict with Tbilisi, the Abkhaz
leader said on Friday.
"We have rejected the plan. It's unacceptable for us," Sergei Bagapsh
said after meeting German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier in
The German official is on the second day of a two-day trip to
Georgia, Abkhazia, and Russia aimed at reducing rising tensions in the
region and stopping "spiraling violence".
Abkhazia broke away from Georgia in the early 1990s following the
collapse of the Soviet Union. Between 10,000 and 30,000 people were
killed in the subsequent hostilities. The two sides signed a ceasefire
in 1994 in Moscow.
The German plan, backed by the EU, stipulates a non-violence
agreement, confidence-building measures over the next year to lead to a
determination of Abkhazia's status, and the return of Georgian refugees.
"We are not going to discuss Abkhazia's status," Bagapsh said. "Abkhazia
is an independent state."
Bagapsh also said that the return of Georgian refugees to Abkhazia
could only start only after the withdrawal of Georgian troops from the
Kodor Gorge and the signing of a non-aggression pact.
"The return of Georgian refugees to the Abkhaz region of Gal will be
possible only after the settlement of the conflict," Sergei Bagapsh said
during his meeting with Steinmeier.
"Insistence on their return could lead to a new war," he warned.
Georgia had given its overall backing for the plan, but Abkhaz
Foreign Minister Sergei Shamba said on Thursday that Abkhazia would not
start a dialogue with Tbilisi until it withdraws troops from the upper
Kodor Gorge. Georgian troops occupied the area in 2006 in violation of
the 1994 ceasefire.
Georgia has accused Russia of fueling tensions in the region with the
aim of annexing Abkhazia and South Ossetia.
Tbilisi wants to replace Russia-led peacekeepers in the conflict zones
with international contingents.
Moscow has rejected the accusations, claiming that Tbilisi is
planning to invade the republics. Both countries have accused each other
of troop build-ups in the area.
The German and Russian foreign ministers will meet on Friday in
Moscow to continue talks on the settlement of the Georgian-Abkhazian
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Thursday that the
refugees' return to Abkhazia was unrealistic at this point, and that the
sides should first sign an agreement not to use force.
Group of Friends’
visits to Abkhazia seek conflict resolution - FM
Sukhum, Representatives of
member-countries of the UN Secretary-General’s Group of Friends of
Georgia visit Abkhazia to discuss a new three-stage plan for the
Georgian-Abkhazian conflict settlement, Abkhazian Foreign Minister
Sergei Shamba said in his comments on the visit of German Foreign
Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier to Sukhum.
“The first stage envisions the resolution
of security issues and can be supported by Abkhazia, if the document
covers the withdrawal of Georgian armed formations from the Kodor Gorge
and the signing of a ceasefire agreement,” he said.
The implementation of economic projects
and the return of refugees are the issues of the second stage.
“Abkhazia is ready to support direct
economic contacts with the European Union, but speaks for joint projects
with Georgia as well,” he said.
“The return of refugees can be discussed
in compliance with the earlier signed agreements. Refugees can return
only to the republic’s Gal district,” Shamba said.
The third stage of the conflict settlement
plan concerning Abkhazia’s future status “cannot be a subject of the
talks and the republic’s authorities have no intention to discuss this
issue with anybody,” he said.
“We can speak only about the settlement of
state and legal relations with Georgia or about Georgia’s recognition of
Abkhazia’s independence,” the foreign minister said.
“Even if the document is coordinated by
the parties, Abkhazia will begin talks with Georgia only after the
pullout of Georgia’s troops from the Kodor Gorge,” Shamba said.
mission in Moldova's separatist region
Tiraspol, Republic of Abkhazia
opened a mission on Thursday in the capital of Transdnestr.
Abkhazia and South Ossetia, signed a
mission exchange agreement in 2006 with Transdnestr.
"The representative offices opened in
Sukhum [Abkhazia] and Tiraspol [Transdenstr] will serve as an effective
instrument in strengthening and developing brotherly and friendly
relations between our republics," Abkhazia's deputy foreign minister
Transdnestrian Vice President Alexander
Korolyov said negotiations were in progress on opening missions of some
other states in Tiraspol.
The province, along with South Ossetia and
Abkhazia, have stepped up their drive for self-rule since Kosovo's
declaration of independence in mid-February, requesting that Russia, the
UN and other organizations recognize their sovereignty.
Transdnestr proclaimed its independence
from Moldova following a war in the early 1990s. Russia has deployed
peacekeepers in the area since July 1992, and the negotiation process
has been frozen since February 2006.
minister hopes for Abkhazia peace plan support
Tbilisi, German Foreign Minister
Frank-Walter Steinmeier said on Thursday that he hoped the plan proposed
by his country on the resolution of the Georgian- Abkhazian conflict
would find wide support.
"The main component of the plan is
starting a direct dialogue," Steinmeier told journalists after talks
with Georgian Foreign Minister Yekaterina Tkeshelashvili in Tbilisi.
Germany has proposed a three-stage plan
for resolving the Georgia-Abkhazia conflict. The plan stipulates a
commitment to non-violence by all the parties involved in the conflict,
the gradual return of Georgian refugees to the region, and the eventual
determination of the political status of Abkhazia.
"Based on this plan we should find a way
out. You will have strong support from the European Union," Steinmeier
said, adding that he hoped the UN would also express its approval of the
Steinmeier is to fly to Abkhazia on Friday.
He will then fly later in the day to Moscow for further talks.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov
said earlier in the day that Western nations were blocking Moscow's
plans for a non-aggression pact between Georgia and Abkhazia by
insisting on the return of Georgian refugees.
"Signing an agreement on Georgian refugees'
return to Abkhazia is impossible at the moment, as the situation first
needs to be improved and trust restored. Only then can discussions be
held on the matter," he said.
Russia had earlier presented a draft
resolution to the United Nations Security Council calling for a deal on
the non-use of force between Georgia and Abkhazia, amid rising tensions
and growing fears of a new conflict in the area.
Moscow had earlier also demanded that
Georgia first withdraw troops from the upper part of the Kodor Gorge,
occupied in 2006 in violation of a 1994 ceasefire agreement.
Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili has
also made the return of the refuges a condition for restarting peace
talks with Abkhazia. He also demanded that Russia withdraw its
peacekeepers from the conflict zone and end financial support for the
Relations between Russia and Georgia have
sunk to a new low recently, with outbreaks of violence in Abkhazia and
Tbilisi pins hopes
on German plan to resolve Abkhaz conflict
Tbilisi, Tbilisi hopes that a
German plan for the resolution of the Georgian-Abkhaz conflict will
receive wide support, a senior lawmaker said on Wednesday, adding that
if it did not then the former Soviet state would be forced to take
According to the Georgian Foreign Ministry,
German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier will arrive on Thursday
in Tbilisi on an official visit. He is expected to reveal the details of
a three-stage plan for the resolution of the "frozen" conflict.
"I hope there will be an agreement on the
joint plan concerning conflict resolution in Abkhazia," David Bakradze,
Georgian parliament's speaker, said, adding that if there was no
progress, then Georgia would be forced to "unilaterally bring an
influence to bear on the deployment of armed forces in Abkhazia."
Russia recently moved to establish closer
ties with Abkhazia and sent additional peacekeepers to the region,
saying they were needed to deter "new bloodshed."
Tbilisi is demanding the withdrawal of
peacekeepers deployed by Russia in the republic of Abkhazia and the
annulment of former president Vladimir Putin's decree on closer ties
with Abkhazia and South Ossetia.
Relations between Russia and Georgia
plunged to a new low recently against the backdrop of violence in
Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Another factor in recent tension is
Georgia's bid to join NATO. The tiny Caucasus state is seeking to be
admitted to a NATO Membership Action Plan in December, which would pave
the way for entry into the military bloc.
should sign accord on nonuse of force - Lavrov
Moscow, An agreement on nonuse of
force should be signed urgently to avert the resumption of the
Georgia-Abkhazia conflict, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said
at a meeting with President of the republic of Abkhazia Sergei Bagapsh
“We submitted in the UN Security Council a
resolution draft that holds it is necessary to avert the resumption of
the confrontation. The necessary step for this is to sign urgently an
agreement on nonuse of force and to ensure the de-escalation of the
situation in the Kodor Gorge,” the Russian minister said.
Georgia for Zimbabwe -
The UN involved in
protecting Russia’s peacekeepers
The USA and Georgia
want to push Russia’s peacekeepers aside
Yesterday Russia for the first time
of aggression against South Ossetia and its being privy to the recent
terrorist attacks in Abkhazia. Moscow intends to get the
UN Security Council
to take part in its countering Tbilisi. With its diplomatic advance,
Russia is trying to avert the changing of the peacekeeping mission’s
format in the zone of the Georgia-Abkhazia and Georgia-South Ossetia
conflicts and the involving of international forces into it, which
Georgia and the USA have urged.
the Russian Foreign Office issued an utterly harsh statement regarding
the recent exacerbation of the situation in the Georgian-Abkhaz and
Georgian-Ossetian zones of conflict. Moscow openly accused Tbilisi of
fueling tensions. The recent massive mortar attack against Tskhinvali,
violations of the conflict zone’s airspace by fighter jets and unmanned
aerial vehicles of the Georgian air forces, setting up a post on a
strategic height near the village of Sarabuki, as well deployment of
extra Georgian military equipment in the conflict zone are rendered “an
open, preplanned act of aggression committed against South Ossetia” in
even more critical of Tbilisi’s policy towards Abkhazia, virtually
accusing the Georgian government of terrorism. Reminding of a series of
explosions that occurred in several Abkhaz towns and of the fact that
the “Abkhaz authorities designate these blasts as terrorist acts,” the
Russian MFA bluntly states, “The Georgian side, according to available
evidence, may have had a hand in organizing some of them.”
statement of the Russian Foreign Office followed Russia’s introducing in
the UNSC a draft of a resolution calling for an immediate signing
documents providing for ceasefire in the zones of the Georgia-Abkhazia
and Georgia-South Ossetia conflicts. It need be said that the Russian
initiative turned out surprising to the majority of the delegations,
since the Georgia-South Ossetia conflict, unlike the Georgia-Abkhazia
one, is not subject of the UNSC’s consideration. The Russian party
explained the introducing of this matter in the UNSC by the fact that
the bombing of Tskhinvali “has escalated the situation in the Caucasus
region as a whole and in Abkhazia in particular.”
there is one more factor that can prevent the Russian resolution from
being adopted. Unlike the majority of the previous resolutions about the
situation in the region, this one contains concrete claims to Tbilisi.
Apart from the agreement on cease-fire, the claims include a compete
withdrawal of Georgia’s troops from the Kodor Gorge. For all that,
yesterday the members of the Security Council started consultations
regarding the issue.
the information of
it got from western diplomatic sources, the USA’s willingness to pass a
resolution imposing sanctions on the regime of Zimbabwe’s President
Robert Mugabe boosts the chances that the Russian resolution will be
adopted as well. The USA has already introduced a draft of the document,
though 6 countries out of the 15 members of the Security Council do not
support it. Russia, China, the Republic of South Africa, Vietnam,
Indonesia and Libya are among those opposing the draft. In this case,
from the viewpoint of the officials, the American diplomats won’t dare
urge that all countries support the resolution on Zimbabwe
simultaneously putting its veto on the Russian project concerning
answering a question about diplomatic horse-trading “Zimbabwe for
Georgia,” Permanent Ambassador of the Russian Federation to the United
Nations Vitaly Churkin appeared to have denied such a possibility,
stating, “There is no connection here.” Nonetheless, you could notice
some hints in his words implying that there is connection between
Zimbabwe and Georgia. As he was asked whether Russia will use its veto
when voting on the Zimbabwe project, Mr Churkin said that he suggested
that his American opposite number Zalmay Khalilzad shouldn’t rush to put
the Zimbabwe resolution to the vote. “Veto is a strong word, I try to
avoid using it until I get the instructions,” the Ambassador replied
target of the Russian diplomatic advance in the Georgian direction might
be an attempt to counter Tbilisi’s plans to change the format of the
peace-keeping mission in the region. The
Russian Foreign Ministry
has actually acknowledged it. “The aim of fanning tensions in relations
with Abkhazia and South Ossetia is to destroy the peacekeeping
architecture that has been in place in the region for decade and a half
so as to replace it with new, suiting the Georgian side, mechanisms of
settlement,” yesterday’s press-release reads. Besides, Russia’s Foreign
Office censures the
U.S. Department of State
because of its idea to deploy international police forces in the zone of
the Georgia-Abkhazia conflict (Sean McCormack has recently made this the
that Georgia’s pressing for changing the format of the peace-keeping
mission is based on the support it has gotten from the USA. According to
the information of Kommersant, this matter was the key issue
discussed yesterday during Condoleezza Rice’s visit to Georgia. A source
in the Georgian Foreign Ministry confirmed it to Kommersant, “In the
course of the visit the question of deploying international forces was
thrashed out. We do not mind Russia’s peace-keepers staying there, only
the format must be changed.”
appears rather resolute, and it intends to change the format whatever
the cost. “Unless the format is changed, Georgia will have to take
unilateral steps regarding the peacekeepers,” David Bakradze, Speaker of
the Georgian Parliament, stated yesterday after his meeting with UN High
Commissioner for Human Rights Bertrand Ramcharan, who is in charge of
settling the dispute between Georgia and Abkhazia. An open threat voiced
by one of Georgia’s top politicians can only mean that the situation in
Georgia will get even more heated.
Gennady Sysoev; Dmitry Gornostaev, RIAN
correspondent in New York, specially for Kommersant.
peacekeepers to investigate Kodor Gorge incident
Sukhum/Tbilisi, A joint
group of UN observers and Russian peacekeepers will investigate an
incident in the Georgia-Abkhazia conflict zone, which left two Abkhaz
servicemen wounded, an Abkhaz military source said on Wednesday.
The investigation into the incident, which
is due to start on Thursday, has been launched at the request of Abkhaz
Abkhazia said that a group of
approximately 10 assailants fired a grenade launcher before opening fire
with assault rifles at an Abkhaz border post in the Georgian-Abkhaz
conflict zone, located on the Achamkhara Mountain in the Kodor Gorge.
The attackers fled after an exchange of
gunfire, local police reported.
Meanwhile, Georgia claimed that a group of
Georgian policemen came under attack in the same area on Wednesday. Four
assailants were killed and several wounded, while three Georgian police
officers were wounded, the Georgian Interior Ministry said.
Tbilisi is also demanding that the UN
mission in Georgia open an investigation into the incident.
Georgian policy on
Abkhazia, S. Ossetia threatens region - Russia
Moscow, Georgia's actions with
regard to Abkhazia and South Ossetia pose a real threat to peace and
stability in the South Caucasus, Russia's Foreign Ministry said on
Abkhazia and South Ossetia,
which witnessed armed conflicts in the 1990s, have seen a rise in
tensions with Tbilisi this year, ranging from air space violations by
Georgian aircraft and drones to recent explosions in Abkhazia, to
shootouts and the brief arrest of Georgian officers in South Ossetia.
Abkhazia and South Ossetia have accused
Tbilisi, which is seeking to regain control over the regions, of being
behind the attacks.
"There is increasingly more evidence that
Georgia's leadership has embarked upon a path of deliberately
exacerbating tensions with Abkhazia and South Ossetia, and is aiming to
disrupt peacekeeping structures which have been effective for one and a
half decades in the region," the Russian Foreign Ministry statement said.
"Tbilisi's actions are a real threat to
peace and stability in the South Caucasus, and could push the region to
the verge of a new armed conflict that would have unpredictable
consequences," the ministry's statement continued.
The statement also said that Georgia
wanted to replace the Russian peacekeeping contingent, stationed in the
conflict zones as the majority part of collective peacekeeping forces,
with a force that would be more acceptable to pro-NATO Tbilisi.
The Foreign Ministry also criticized
recent statements by U.S. Department of State officials, saying that, "Those
who are trying hard, despite the facts, to ignore the danger and feel
free to shield the provocateurs and shift the blame to Moscow, are doing
the Georgian side a very bad service by enhancing its conviction that it
has a free hand."
Washington has criticized Russia's actions
in the region and has proposed deploying an international police force
to replace Russian peacekeepers in the Georgian-Abkhazian conflict zone.
Russia submitted a draft resolution to the
UN Security Council on Tuesday on the situation in Georgia, voicing its
concerns over Tbilisi's growing military presence near the conflict
zones, seen by South Ossetia as evidence of plans for an all-out
Georgia says Rice's
visit shows U.S. support
Tbilisi, Georgia's foreign minister
said Wednesday that the current visit of U.S. Secretary of State
Condoleezza Rice shows Washington's support for Georgia as a democratic
Rice arrived in Tbilisi earlier in the day,
and will meet with Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili on Thursday
for closed-door talks.
"The visit of the U.S. Secretary of State
undoubtedly demonstrates the U.S. support of Georgia as a democratic
state and the support of Georgia's peaceful intentions, which may bring
positive results," Yekaterina Tkeshelashvili told reporters in Tbilisi.
Rice's visit to Georgia will take place
amid rising tensions between the post Soviet Caucasus country, which
seeks NATO membership, and, Abkhazia and South Ossetia, which have
recently seen several bombings and disputes over peacekeepers.
Russia has provided aid to Abkhazia and
recently sent additional peacekeepers into the area, saying they are
needed to deter new bloodshed, and accusing Tbilisi of escalating the
conflict. Georgia has charged Moscow with trying to annex Abkhazia and
"With this visit the American side clearly
shows its support of Georgia's peaceful plans to resolve the conflicts
with both [breakaway] regions," Tkeshelashvili said.
Abkhazia rules out
withdrawal of Russian peacekeepers
Moscow, Abkhazia will never agree
to a U.S. proposal to replace Russian peacekeepers currently serving in
the region with an international police force, the Abkhaz foreign
minister said on Tuesday.
On Monday, the U.S. Department of
State urged the prevention of a further escalation of tensions in the
Georgian-Abkhaz conflict zone. The statement came after a series of
Abkhazia and noted "the urgent
need for an international police presence in the areas where these
bombings have occurred."
"We completely disagree with this and will
never allow the Russian peacekeepers to be replaced by some kind of
incomprehensible police force, which in the future would support only
Georgia," Sergei Shamba said.
"We have repeatedly pointed out, and this
was proved yesterday, that the recent blasts in Abkhazia are connected
with Georgian plans, as well as the plans of certain other countries, to
replace the Russian peacekeepers with an international police force," he
Abkhazia claims that Georgia is
responsible for a series of explosions that have rocked the de-facto
independent republic since June 30. The most recent blast hit a cafe on
Sunday in the town of Gal, on the Georgian-Abkhaz border, killing four
and injuring six.
Russia provides aid to Abkhazia and
recently sent additional troops into the area, saying they were needed
to deter new bloodshed. The pro-Western Georgian government of Mikheil
Saakashvili has accused Russia of trying to Abkhazia, along with the
republic of South Ossetia.
The U.S. Department of State also
reiterated its support for Georgia's territorial integrity, and called
on Russia to refrain from any "provocative" steps in the region.
"The United States reiterates its strong
support for Georgia's territorial integrity... We call on Russia to
reverse its recent provocative steps in Abkhazia and consult Tbilisi on
any future steps in both Abkhazia and South Ossetia," the statement said.
Abkhazia urges intl.
groups to prevent terrorism
Sukhum, The foreign ministry of
Abkhazia urged the international community to help in the fight against
terrorism in the region on Monday following the death of four people in
Abkhazia is claiming that
Georgia is responsible for a series of explosions that have rocked the
republic June 30. The most recent blast hit a cafe Sunday in the town of
Gal, on the Georgian-Abkhaz border killing four and injuring six.
Abkhazia's foreign ministry said in a
statement, to the UN, G8 and OSCE, "Ignoring such serious provocations
could lead to an irreversible escalation in the Georgian-Abkhaz conflict."
Abkhazia's ministry said that the
international community's silence is an indication of their indirect
support for terrorism and puts into question the objectivity of
international mediators in finding a political settlement to the
conflict in the region.
The foreign ministry statement said that "the
leadership of Georgia has been openly supporting terrorism" for 15 years,
stating that Levan Mamasakhlisi, considered a terrorist by Abkhazia, had
received awards from Georgia's President Mikheil Saakashvili.
The ministry said that the international
community was turning a blind eye to the evident human rights violations
and "the policy of terror" against Abkhazia and South Ossetia.
The latest blast follows two sets of
explosions in Abkhazia on June 30 and July 1, when six people were
injured in the capital, Sukhum, and the Black Sea resort of Gagra.
Abkhaz authorities blamed both incidents on Georgian security forces and
closed the de facto border with Georgia. Tbilisi dismissed the
accusations as "absurd."
The Minister for
Foreign Affairs will visit Georgia, including Abkhazia, during 7 – 9
In Tbilisi, the Minister for Foreign
Affairs will meet Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili, Prime Minister
Vladimir Gurgenidze, Minister for Foreign Affairs Eka Tkeshelashvili and
State Minister for Euro-Atlantic Integration Giorgi Baramidze. The
Danish Minister for Foreign Affairs will also meet the head of UNOMIG,
SRSG Jean Arnault and during a visit to Abkhazia Per Stig Møller will
meet de facto President Sergei Bagapsh.
The visit takes places at a time when
there is a clear necessity to ease the tension in the Georgian-Abkhaz
conflict. The visit by HR Javier Solana to Georgia on 5 - 6 June 2008
opened the door to further EU engagement, including related to
confidence-building measures. The main focus during the talks will
therefore be how the EU and Denmark can contribute to an improvement of
the dialogue between Abkhazia and Georgia and how a further increase in
tension can be avoided to reduce the risk of military clashes. Apart
from Abkhazia, Georgia’s relations with the EU and NATO will be on the
agenda, as well as bilateral relations.
During the visit, Minister Per Stig Møller
will launch a project financed by Denmark: Enhancing Good Governance,
Human Rights and the Rule of Law in Georgia. The project is financed
under the Neighbourhood Programme of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark
Statement of the
Abkhaz Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Statement of the Ministry of Foreign
backdrop of heightened preparation by Georgia for a military aggression
against Abkhazia, a series of terrorist acts in the cities of Abkhazia
were directed against peaceful population and caused injuries of
innocent people. Recent blasts in Gal town on the 6th of July 2008
killed four people and seriously injured many others.
For the past 15
post-conflict years, Georgian leadership has been suspected of
supporting terrorism. The UN Joint Fact Finding Mission asserted in its
report of 20 - 24 November, 2000, that: ". armed groups,
of Georgians were carrying out aimed attacks in Gal district. Their
immediate task was to create an atmosphere of fear and instability among
returnees to Gal district in order to show that it is impossible to stay
in the territory controlled by the Abkhaz side. They used ambushes,
kidnappings and aimed mining ". The destiny of those kidnapped by the
Georgian secret services - Chairman of the Election Committee of the Gal
district Mr. David Sigua - is still unclear.
international community, has also been accused of failing to give
objective assessment of Georgian authorities, and condemning violations
of human rights in Georgian policy in Abkhazia and South Ossetia.
above, Abkhazia appeals to the G8 countries, the UN Security Council,
the OSCE and the Group of Friends of the UN Secretary General to take
adequate measures to suppress the threat of terrorism arising from
Georgia, as neglecting such provocations will lead to irreversible
escalation of the Georgian-Abkhaz conflict.
rock Abkhazia border
At least four explosions have been
reported along the de facto border between Georgia and Abkhazia,
according to officials.
One person was reportedly slightly injured
in the blasts, the latest in a series of incidents in the tense region
which effectively split from Tbilisi's control in the 1990s.
mines exploded today in the morning nearby to a village called Rukhi, in
Georgia's Zubdidi region," Shota Utiashvili, Georgia's interior minister,
The fourth explosion went off under a police car as officers
investigated the site after the initial blasts, slightly wounding the
local deputy police chief, Utiashvili told the Reuters news agency.
Georgian television showed a bomb-damaged car and police officers
Alexander Diordiev, assistant commander of the Russian peacekeeping
force in Abkhazia, was quoted as saying by Interfax news agency that the
four blasts happened "almost simultaneously".
Lieutenant-Colonel Alexander Novitsky, a spokesman for the peacekeepers,
was quoted by Russian news agencies as blaming the blast on Georgian
The RIA news agency reported Novitsky as saying a Georgian special
forces uniform had been found wrapped around the shell that caused one
of the blasts.
"In the place of the explosion, there remained the uniform," he was
quoted as saying.
Utiashvili denied the allegations and said that separatist forces had
shelled Georgian villages in the border area.
Meanwhile, a town in nearby South Ossetia also reportedly came under
fire from the Georgian side of the border on Saturday, according to
Russia's Vesti-24 news channel.
spokesman for the South Ossetian side in the joint commission on the
crisis resolution said that a police post came under fire from guns and
grenade launchers but there were no reports of injuries.
Tensions in the both republics of Abkhazia and South
Ossetia have risen since Russia earlier this year moved to bolster ties
Abkhazia and South Ossetia have strong diplomatic and economic support
from Russia, while Tbilisi has accused Moscow of attempting to annex the
Abkhazia's government and Russian peacekeepers have both accused Tbilisi
of planning military operations to retake the region which gained de
facto independence after a conflict in the mid-1990s.
On Saturday, Dmitry Medvedev, Russia's president, urged his Georgian
counterpart Mikheil Saakashvili to refrain from "stoking tensions" in
the two regions.
Georgia has accused the Russian peacekeeping forces of supporting the
Abkhazian and South Ossetian governments and secretly bringing artillery
and other heavy weapons into the
07.06.2008 Al Jazeera
Abkhaz leader says
Georgia planned to invade Abkhazia in spring
Sukhum, Sergei Bagapsh, the
president of Abkhazia said on Saturday that Georgia had plans to attack
and invade the region in April-May this year.
"The plan [developed by Georgia's Defense
Ministry] has been obtained by the Abkhaz military intelligence services
and clearly demonstrates that Georgia intended to occupy...the entire
territory of Abkhazia," Bagapsh told a news conference in Sukhum.
According to the Abkhaz leader, Georgia
planned to blockade the outposts of Russian peacekeepers, to launch two
simultaneous land offensives on Abkhazia from the Kodor Gorge and the
Zugdidi district, and to conduct a seaborne assault on Ochamchira,
Sukhum, and Gagra.
Bagapsh said Georgia has amassed 2,000
troops in the Kodor Gorge alone and increased its contingent on the
border with Abkhazia to 12,000 troops since mid-April.
He accused the Georgian leadership of
numerous military provocations against Abkhazia and Russian peacekeepers
in the region.
"These actions are aimed to destabilize
the situation in the zone of the Georgian-Abkhazian conflict and to
prepare the international community for the possible aggression against
Abkhazia," he said.
Bagapsh also said numerous violations of
the Abkhazian airspace by Georgian spy drones were part of the invasion
Russian peacekeepers in the conflict zone
confirmed on Saturday that Georgian unmanned reconnaissance aircraft
continued regular flights over the Georgian-Ablhazian border and
violated the region's airspace at least eight times in the past 48 hours.
Georgia has not yet commented on the
accusations put forward by the Abkhaz leader.
Abkhazia closed its border with the rest
of Georgia on July 1. The move followed two explosions in Abkhazia that
the local authorities blamed on Georgian special forces.
The pro-Western Georgian government of
Mikheil Saakashvili has said it is determined to bring Abkhazia back
under its control, while accusing Russia of trying to annex the republic,
along with another rebel province, South Ossetia.
Russia urges Georgia
to sign ceasefire deal with Abkhazia and South Ossetia
Moscow, Russia is concerned over
the escalation of violence in South Ossetia and is urging the
international community to press Georgia to sign a ceasefire deal with
Abkhazia and South Ossetia, Russia's foreign minister said on Friday.
According to confirmed reports, an alleged
Georgian attack on South Ossetia's capital of Tskhinvali left one dead
and three injured late last night, Igor Alborov, a deputy defense and
emergencies minister of South Ossetia.
"We...want the international community to
take urgent steps in both conflicts with South-Ossetia and
to persuade Tbilisi to sign a ceasefire agreement," Sergei Lavrov told
Reports early on Friday said three people
had died and another 11 were injured in an attack on Tskhinvali, South
Ossetia's capital, and the villages of Ubiat and Dmenis on Thursday
"According to confirmed reports, a South
Ossetian was killed in a mortar attack on the village of Ubiat," Alborov
said adding that a security officer and two civilians were injured.
Vladimir Ivanov, an aide to the commander
of the Joint Peacekeeping Forces in the conflict zone, said seven
unidentified planes were observed above Tskhinvali during the attack.
South Ossetian President Eduard Kokoity,
who threatened earlier in the day to use military hardware if the
incident repeats, also urged Georgia and its president Mikheil
Saakashvili to prevent a new conflict in the area.
"We are doing everything to maintain
stability in the region, not to take it to a tragic point, when it will
be hard to change anything... We do not want this war, and we are
repeatedly requesting that Georgia withdraw all these units deployed
illegally in the republic of South Ossetia," Kokoity told the Vesti-24
He described Saakashvili's policy as "short-sighted"
and warned that the consequences of a potential war would be appalling
mostly for Georgia itself.
The Russian foreign minister also
expressed bewilderment that "reconciliatory, constructive signals" from
Abkhazia were accompanied by an escalation of tension in South Ossetia.
Border with Georgia
government of Abkhazia has moved to close its border with Georgia after
a series of explosions, the latest example of mounting tensions in the
area since Russia moved toward closer relations with the province this
spring. Abkhazia blames Tbilisi for the blasts, which caused several
injuries but no deaths. But Georgia says the explosions were caused by
criminal elements within Abkhazia.
The unrest continued as a bomb went off
Wednesday on the border between Georgia and Abkhazia, two days after the
border was closed. No one was harmed in the blast.
Abkhazia's president Sergei Bagapsh
announced Monday that starting July 1 the borders with Georgia would be
closed. Earlier in the day two bombs went off near a market in the
resort town of Sukhum, injuring eight people, including a Russian.
"This is being done in order to show that
Abkhazian authorities are incapable of controlling the situation, to be
used as a pretext for installing their own administration," Abkhazia
Foreign Minister Sergei Shamba told The Moscow News, blaming the blasts
on what he said was Georgian "state-sponsored terrorism" that has been
going on for several years. "These acts are clearly being carried out in
order to cancel the vacation season and undermine the economy."
Abkhazia is a popular resort destination
with Russians and gets a large share of its income from tourism and
trade with its northern neighbor. On Tuesday the Russian Tourist
Industry Union told news agencies that some people started cancelling
their vacations to popular resorts like Gagra and Pitsunda, and
predicted that vacations to the area might decrease by as much as 20
percent this year.
Georgia's response echoed Shamba's
explanation by indeed blaming the explosions on an inability to reign in
what it said were criminal elements in the region. Officials in Tbilisi,
which has been accused by Abkhazia of similar "provocations" on its soil,
denied it had anything to do with the explosions. "Abkhazia has been an
uncontrolled territory for a long time, and this is exactly what we have
been saying," Georgia's Defense Minister David Kezerashvili was quoted
by Russian news agencies as saying. "There are very many armed criminal
gangs on its territory. And, as we can see, the latest explosions in
Abkhazia are connected to criminal clashes."
Shamba insists, meanwhile, that such "provocations"
form a pattern. "Threats from Georgia have been confirmed many times
before," he told The Moscow News in a telephone interview. "For instance
a young man was detained several years ago after bringing explosives on
a pretext of visiting relatives. He was proven guilty and was handed
over to the European Council human rights commissioner. There was a case
when an 80-year-old man was used to send in explosives. Monitoring by UN
and OSCE forces has confirmed that the Georgian side sends armed people
to [commit these acts]."
Following the recognition of Kosovo's
independence in February, Russia stepped up its relations with Abkhazia,
arguing that Kosovo had set a precedent for other unrecognized republics.
Over the weekend President Bagapsh flew to Moscow to meet with President
Dmitri Medvedev. Shamba says the latest explosions are a direct attempt
to push out Russia's influence in the region.
Georgia's President Mikhail Saakashvili
traveled to Berlin this week where he held talks with U.S. Secretary of
State Condoleezza Rice and German Chancellor Angela Merkel about the
situation. He was supposed to meet with President Dmitri Medvedev for
talks, but there were no reports that the meeting took place. In a later
interview, Saakashvili warned against Russia's intervention in the
Bomb blast in
Georgia-Abkhazia conflict zone; nobody hurt
Tbilisi, An explosive device went
off in the Georgian-Abkhazian conflict zone in Rukhi settlement in the
Zugdidi district on Wednesday morning. The blast occurred at some 100
metres from the central motor-road bridge across the Ingur River. Nobody
has been hurt.
The explosion occurred near a post of the
Collective Peacekeeping Forces manned by Russian units and close to the
post of local Georgian police. Representatives of the Collective
Peacekeeping Forces serving at the post, in an interview with
journalists of Georgian TV companies, confirmed that there was an
explosion but declined further comment.
There is no comment from representatives
of the Georgian law enforcers either. According to preliminary
information, a home-made time bomb went off. Georgian field engineers
arrived on the scene.
peacekeepers blame new Abkhazia blast on Georgia
Moscow, A commander of the
Russian-led peacekeeping contingent deployed in the conflict zone
between Georgia and Abkhazia accused Georgian security forces of setting
off a new explosion in the region on Wednesday morning.
The blast went off near a Russian
peacekeeping checkpoint on the border between Georgia and
Georgian television said no casualties have been reported.
"A car with unidentified people inside
passed through the checkpoint in Georgia," Alexander Diordiyev said.
"Georgian troops did not even try to stop the car."
"At about 300 meters (330 yards) from the
[Russian] checkpoint, the car made a turn, something was thrown out of
it, and an explosion went off," Diordiyev said, confirming that no one
was killed or injured.
The incident follows two sets of
explosions in Abkhazia on Sunday and Monday, when six people were
injured. Abkhaz authorities blamed both incidents on Georgian security
forces. Tbilisi dismissed the accusations as absurd.
Diordiyev said Georgian security services'
acts were aimed at provoking peacekeepers and destabilizing the
situation in the area.
He said the peacekeeping command had
informed the United Nations mission of the incident and launched
Abkhazia closed its de-facto border with
Georgia on Tuesday following the explosions in its capital, Sukhum, and
Black Sea resort of Gagra. Tbilisi claims that the region is now under
Abkhazia has been the focus of ongoing
tensions between Russia and Georgia, which seeks to regain the province.
Russia provides financial aid to the self-proclaimed republic and runs
peacekeepers in a bid it says to prevent fresh bloodshed.
Ex-Soviet Georgia, which wants to join
NATO, has accused Russia of attempting to annex Abkhazia.
resumes ferry service to Abkhaz resort
Sochi, The sea link between Gagra
in Abkhazia and Russia's Black Sea resort of Sochi has been restored
after more than 15 years, a spokesman for the ferry company said Tuesday.
Ferries between the two cities were
stopped in 1992 during the Georgian-Abkhaz conflict.
In the late 1990s, Russia restarted
passenger services to Abkhazia's capital, Sukhum.
"We have a great hope that the sea link
popular in the Soviet times will be profitable now," the spokesman said
of the Sochi-Gagra route.
The high-speed ferries take 45 minutes for
the trip between Sochi and Gagra and can carry up to 189 passengers.
Georgia warned last week that setting up
regular sea links with Abkhazia was internationally prohibited. Tbilisi
officially closed all ports in Abkhazia
after the republic broke away from Georgia in the early 1990s.
The resumption of the Sochi-Gagra ferries
came shortly after the Black Sea resort was rocked by two explosions
injuring six people on Sunday. Coupled with two more bombings in Sukhum
on Monday, that prompted the Abkhaz authorities to partially close its
administrative border with Georgia on Tuesday.
Abkhaz President Sergei Bagapsh blamed
Georgia for the bombings. Tbilisi called the accusations "absurd."
Relations between Russia and Georgia have
been strained since Russia stepped up support for Abkhazia and South
Ossetia. The pro-Western government of Georgian President Mikheil
Saakashvili has said it is determined to bring Abkhazia and South
Ossetia back under its control, while Moscow says Tbilisi's policies
could lead to new bloodshed.