-------------------- News from Abkhazia --------------------


 Parliament to resume debate on tax code and draft law on audit


Sukhum, Tomorrow Parliament will approve the membership of the working groups who will continue preparation of draft of the Tax Code and the bill "On auditing activity".


The working groups to prepare these laws, in addition to members of profile committees will be composed of qualified experts, including those from tax officials.


The bill "On auditing activity" will be prepared for the second reading.

New approval of the personnel of working groups is linked to the end of term of office of members of parliament involved in the work of these groups.


Parliament attaches a major role to the new Tax Code and Law "On auditing activity". According to the parliamentarians, approval of legal documents which correspond to present economic realities will improve the economic climate in the country.


05.29.2007  abkhaziagov.org


 By the end of 2007 90% of the citizens ao Abkhazia to receive national passports - President


Sukhum, Head of State Sergei Bagapsh expressed his dissatisfaction with the dynamics of the process of issuing passports to citizens of the Republic of Abkhazia, he said at the meeting of the Security Council of the country.


"By the end of 2007, it should be ensured that 90% of citizens have passports of citizens of Abkhazia", said the President.

After the issuance of passports of Abkhazia within the country any legal issues will be addressed based on internal passport.


According to some of the members of the Security Council temporary framework of issuance of internal passports in Abkhazia must be approved.


So far only about 53 thousand passports have been issued. The certification process is active in the capital and Gagra region. "Slow level of issuance of passports is linked to the low level of activeness of citizens. All services are fully prepared to issue new documents for all citizens", reported visa service in the Ministry of Internal Affairs.


05.29.2007  abkhaziagov.org


 President discussed issues on settlement of Abkhaz-Georgian conflict with Special Representative of UN Secretary General


Sukhum, The meeting discussed issues related to the settlement of the conflict between Georgia and Abkhazia.


Jean Arnault arrived in Abkhazia to consult with the country’s leading politicians about the future of the negotiating process. Arnault met with Vice-President Raul Hajymba, Prime Minister Alexander Ankuab, and Speaker of Parliament Nugzar Ashuba.


As Arnault previously stated, it is designed to facilitate the resumption of negotiations between the parties to the conflict. In turn, the official Sukhum insists on comprehensive implementation of all previous agreements by the Georgian side, especially the demilitarization of the Kodor Valley, which would make return to the negotiating table possible.


05.28.2007  abkhaziagov.org


 Georgia to be liable for culturel genocide -MFA Abkhazia


Sukhum, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Abkhazia issued a statement today, which encourages participants of the process of settlement of the Georgian-Abkhaz conflict and the international community to exert pressure on Georgia, which must return the stolen during the war of 1992—1993 cultural values.


The Foreign Ministry states that the Georgian authorities are responsible for cultural genocide carried out during the Georgian occupation of part of the territory of Abkhazia in 1992—1993.


Georgian troops seized Sukhum and burned the Abkhaz State archive containing valuable information on the history and culture of Abkhazia. As a result, crime has destroyed much of the material on the development of the country.


The Abkhaz Institute of History, Language and Literature was destroyed, which also lost precious materials that established the ancient history of Abkhazia.


Rare books and historical artifacts, unique souvenirs were stolen or destroyed.


During the war Georgian authorities deliberately destroyed memorials of Abkhaz well-known public figures, scientists, etc.


Two attempts were made to destroy Abkhaz Christian holy sites, including the Orthodox temple in Bedia, which has a long history.


The statement of the Foreign Ministry of Abkhazia stressed that the statements of the Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili alleging burned in Gagra Georgian textbooks are "unfounded" and reinforce hatred and intolerance among people of Georgia and Abkhazia.


"Such accusations by the top leader of the State are regarded as unethical strive to manipulate the universal humanitarian values, and increase xenophobia and national intolerance between Abkhaz and Georgian societies", the statement notes.


05.25.2007  abkhaziagov.org


 Russia to complete peacekeeper rotation in Abkhazia by June 2


Moscow, Russia will start rotating its peacekeeping contingent in Abkhazia on May 27 and complete the process by June 2, the force command said Tuesday.


Russian peacekeepers have been based in Abkhazia since the end of the Georgian-Abkhaz armed conflict in 1992-1993.


The contingent, consisting of several motorized rifle battalions with total of 500 servicemen deployed near the city of Maikop, will be rotated, but weapons and equipment will stay put, except for a few armored vehicles that need to be overhauled.


The Western-leaning Georgian authorities are pushing for Russian peacekeepers to be replaced with an international contingent. Georgia accuses the Kremlin of supporting its breakaway regions. Most Abkhazians hold Russian citizenship.


05.22.2007  RIA Novosti


 Kosovo independence this month, says US


Kosovo can get independence by the end of May, says a top American official. Serbia, Russia and several members of the European Union disagree. Other unrecognized countries in Europe watch the Kosovo outcome as a precedent that will apply to them, too.


ZAGREB (Tiraspol Times) - In an attempt to railroad Kosovo independence through the United Nations with as little discussion as possible, US State Department cheerleaders are promising Kosovo its independence within the next couple of weeks.


" - We will be circulating today with our European allies a resolution in the Security Council that we believe will lead to the independence of Kosovo by the end of this month," US Undersecretary of State Nicholas Burns said Friday while on a visit to the Croatian capital Zagreb.

Kosovo could be granted independence from Serbia by the end of the month, Burns told journalists while refusing to comment on doubts raised by other members of the United Nations Security Council as well as by allies witin the European Union.


If granted independence, Kosovo would become the latest Muslim country inside Europe. Independence would bring international power to Kosovo's Prime Minister Agim Ceku, an ex-militant formerly known as "Commander Ceku" or "Commander Zero" who is listed in the MIPT Terrorism Knowledge Base and tied to KLA-led war crimes. Muslim Kosovo militants are allied with other groups of Islamist Jihadists worldwide, including sleeper cells inside the United States. Earlier this week, six suspected terrorists - the majority of them Kosovars - were arrested in a plot to blow up Fort Dix, a US Army base in New Jersey and kill American soldiers.


" - The United States is strongly supporting the independence of Kosovo," said Nicholas Burns, speaking after meeting with Croatian Prime Minister Ivo Sanader.


European Allies not on board


Not everyone agrees with the glib-talking Burns. Slovakia, a non-permanent member of UN Security Council, also resists the American-backed plans. Robert Fico, Prime Minister of Slovakia, recently said that the independence plan was unacceptable and the content would have to be changed.


Jan Skoda, spokesperson for the Slovak ministry of foreign affairs, said Bratislava would not be changing its position fast. “We stress our appreciation of the efforts made by Mr Ahtisaari during his mission but we don’t support his plan”, Skoda told Balkan Insight.


Romania, too, is not on board. Prime Minister Calin Tariceanu said Friday that Romania does not want the way in which the Kosovo issue will be solved to set a precedent for other areas with frozen conflicts, the Rompres news agency reported. His new foreign minister Adrian Cioroianu is aware that is Kosovo is given international recognition against the wishes of Serbia, then Pridnestrovie - or Transnistria, as it is called in Romanian - will be next in line to get recognition against the wishes of Moldova.


" - Our main and only concern is that the Kosovo solution should not become a precedent for other frozen conflicts," the foreign minister of Europe's newest member country said. The Balkan Investigative Reporting Network, in an article published this week, reported that divisions among the 27 EU member states are obvious, but that Brussels is trying to cover them up.

Russia has asked for more talks, pointing out that previous UN resolutions on Kosovo have not been adhered to. Vladimir Putin - whose country is one of the UN Security Council's permanent five veto-wielding members, along with Britain, France, the US and China - was quoted by Britain's Financial Times newspaper as saying: "If we find the solution for Kosovo unacceptable, we will not hesitate to use our veto right in the UN Security Council."


Putin reportedly said that the same yardstick should be applied to Kosovo and the former Soviet republics.


" - If a precedent is set, it will negatively reflect on the post-Soviet region and it will be difficult to explain to the peoples of South Ossetia and Abkhazia why Albanians (in Kosovo) can breakaway from Serbia and they cannot," he stated, quoted in the Financial Times. He thinks if Kosovo is granted a independence then countries as Abkhazia, South Ossetia (formerly in Georgia) and Pridnestrovie (Transdnistria, between Moldova and Ukraine) wants it too.


Experts see Kosovo precedent for Pridnestrovie


" - If Kosovo gets independence without Belgrade’s consent, but solely on support of some world powers, the secessionist republics would have the right to get advantage of such a precedent," confirms Maria Patrasco, a political analyst specializing in cross-cultural communications in ethnic conflicts in the Balkans.


" - Kosovo's independence would grant the same rights to the people of the breakaway regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia in the former Soviet republic of Georgia," said Elena Guskova, a Russian academic and an expert on Balkans. Pridnestrovie was not included in her statement, since it is not technically a breakaway republic of anything. Pridnestrovie declared independence from the now-dissolved Moldavian SSR (MSSR), which was a component part of the Soviet Union. Pridnestrovie's independence declaration took place in 1990. By the time the current Republic of Moldova announced its own independence declaration, in 1991, Pridnestrovie had already been independent - albeit unrecognized - for a full year. At no time in history was Pridnestrovie ever part of any independent Moldovan or Romanian state.


If Kosovo gets independence, by the same logic other states in similar situations have the same equal right to secede.


A country facing the loss of a part of its territory has to consider how willing it is to impose its rule by force:
How many people are you willing to kill for the right to govern people who don't want to be governed by you? Will forcing them to remain lead to the destruction of the country as a whole? Is there more stability in working out a compromise, or letting the status quo remain in place?


" - The answers to these questions are not obvious, and vary from case to case," says an American commentator who wishes to remain anonymous. "Peaceful separations as well as peaceful unions are the best, and only happen where people respect one another. Unions and separations brought about by war are bound to be ugly, and can only be justified if the alternative is worse." (With information from wire services)


05.12.2007  The Tiraspol Times


 Abkhazian leader demands that Georgian units leave upper Kodor


Sukhum, President of the Republic of Abkhazia, Sergei Bagapsh, met with the UN Secretary General's special envoy to Southern Caucasus, Jean Arnault, Friday for a discussion of pressing issues of Georgian-Abkhazian peace settlement, the governmental press service told Itar-Tass.


Bagapsh reiterated Abkhazia's demand that Georgia's armed units unconditionally pull out of the upper part of the Kodor Gorge, which is controlled by the central Georgian government in Tbilisi.


He also demanded that Georgia fully comply with provisions of Resolution 1716 of the UN Security Council.


05.11.2007 Itar-Tass


 OSCE anticipates partial recognition of Transnistria independence


OSCE's Secretary General says that if Kosovo seeks recognition unilaterally, other unrecognized countries will do the same. He points to Pridnestrovie (Transnistria) as one of the countries to benefit from this process. The recognition will be partial, placing the country in the same category as Taiwan and Israel.


By Karen Ryan, 21/Apr/2007


OSCE's Marc Perrin de Brichambaut sees recognition of Transdniestria as a realistic possibility (Photo: OSCE/Mikhail Evstafiev) VIENNA (Tiraspol Times) - Although international recognition of the 17 year old 'de facto' independence of Pridnestrovie (Transdniestria) is still a taboo in the Western European political establishment and Euro-Atlantic policy circles, some are now breaking ranks and at least considering the possibility or inevitability of this outcome.

In a diplomatic equivalent of "Who Farted?", OSCE Secretary General Marc Perrin de Brichambaut was quoted by the Austrian press as seriously considering a future partial recognition of the Pridnestrovian Moldavian Republic (PMR) by a number of countries.

While not yet going as far as to positively endorse such an outcome, the French diplomat says that if Kosovo announces its independence, Russia can recognize Abkhazia and Transdniestria immediately afterwards.

Pridnestrovie - or Transnistria / Transdniester, as it is better known - declared independence in 1990 and has been functioning as a separate, sovereign state for nearly 17 years. Despite a lack of international recognition in this time, it meets the requirements for statehood under international law with a territory, a permanent population, defined borders and a functioning government. Located between Moldova and Ukraine, it is slightly richer than Moldova, but with a per capita GDP below that of Ukraine.

PMR linked to Kosovo precedent


In an interview to Der Standard newspaper in Austria, which was published last week, OSCE Secretary General Marc Perrin de Brichambaut said that if Kosovo opts for an unilateral declaration of independence, Russia can recognize independence of both Abkhazia and Transdnestr, as it is also sometimes known in English.

The top OSCE diplomat stated the UN Security Council started a long stage of discussions on the Kosovo issue. "The consultations can continue for the whole April and May, right up to the G8 summit in Germany, in which Russian President Vladimir Putin is planned to take part and where presidents and prime ministers will not manage to avoid this subject. Here the question of reciprocal action that the Russians can take is to appear," Brichambaut said.

" - If Kosovo pronounces itself an independent state unilaterally, it can be recognized by a number of countries," the OSCE secretary general believes, drawing similar parallels to the situation in Pridnestrovie where the same can happen, just with recognition from a different set of countries.

Such an outcome would place both Kosovo and Pridnestrovie in a small but not very exclusive club of partially shunned independent states which are recognized by some of the world's countries, but not by all. Israel, which is not recognized by the Arab world, is one such country, but the most famous example is Taiwan (officially: Republic of China, or ROC) which has been 'de facto' independent since 1949 but which has no membership of the United Nations and is not formally recognized as a separate, sovereign state by the majority of other countries in the world.


Tiraspol Times