in Abkhazia get new chief of staff
Moscow, Major General Yevgeny
Achalov has been appointed chief of staff of the Russian peacekeeping
contingent in the zone of the Georgian-Abkhazian conflict, a Ground
Forces spokesman said Wednesday.
"Achalov has replaced Colonel Alexei
Pavlushko in this capacity," Igor Konashenkov said.
Gen. Achalov is a former commander of the
62nd Russian military base in Akhalkalaki, recently handed over by
Moscow to Georgia as part of the complete withdrawal of Russian bases
from Georgian territory.
Abkhazia declared independence from
Georgia following a bloody conflict that left hundreds dead in
1991-1992, and peacekeepers have been stationed in the region ever since.
There have been frequent and mutual
accusations of ceasefire violations from both Abkhazia and Georgia,
whose President Mikheil Saakashvili has vowed to regain control of the
Peace talks broke off when Tbilisi sent
troops into Kodor Gorge in July last year and established an alternative
Abkhaz administration there.
Voting in Russian
parliamentary election over in 3 districts of Abkhazia
Sukhum, Early voting in Russia’s
parliamentary election is over in three districts of the Republic of
Abkhazia, where 80% of the population are holders of Russian passports.
Voting has been completed in the Gal,
Tkuarchal, and Gulripsh district, and the voters displayed high
electoral activity in spite of bad rainy weather, heads of district
administrations told Itar-Tass by telephone.
Local authorities provided transport for
those who could not come to polling stations on their own.
Abkhazia’s President Sergei Bagapsh cast a
ballot at a polling station in the village of Agudzera in Gulripsh
Thursday, voting will be held in the
Ochamchira district, while the Russian citizens living in the villages
of Sukhum, Gudauta and Gagra districts will go to the polls Friday.
Sunday, polling stations will open in the
capital Sukhum and the towns of Gudauta and Gagra.
All in all, eight polling stations have
been opened in Abkhazia.
renews pledge to take over Abkhazia and South Ossetia
Tbilisi, Mikheil Saakashvili, the nationalist leader of Georgia who
rose to power in
an American-backed public uprising, is renewing his past pledge to take
over both Abkhazia and
Saakashvili announced plans to hold early elections in response to
fierce opposition he faced. He handed his powers over to Parliament
Speaker Nino Burcanadze because he had to resign as president to
announce his candidacy for the post.
take over the control of Abkhazia and
South Ossetia if I win a victory in the January
5 elections," Saakashvili said.
matters for me is not the preservation of my post as the president but
the successful conduct of business that I think is important for ,"
Saakahsvili said. "The business to be done covers complete immunity on
the part of Georgians to poverty, construction of regional totality and
Georgian Parliament granted approval in its extraordinary meeting on
Sunday to the proposal from Saakashvili to hold presidential elections
on January 5, 2008.
11.27.2007 Agency Caucasus
Abkhazians establish center for information
Düsseldorf, The Abkhazian Diaspora in Europe established in the
German city of Düsseldorf the Abkhazian Center for Information and
Culture in an attempt to convey information about Abkhazia to the West.
establishment of the Center came after Chairman Guram Gumba of the
Commission on International Relations in Abkhazian Parliament held
several talks with representatives of the Abkhazian-Abazin Diaspora that
live in different European cities.
asked by representatives of the Abkhazian Diaspora to reply questions
both about the political, economic and cultural developments in Abkhazia
and the course of peace negotiations between Georgia and Abkhazia.
Information about the living conditions of, works by and relations to
the motherland of the Diaspora came at the meeting from Ozkan Tarba,
Alaaddin Kupalba, Kirgiz Ajuanba, Zeki Kapba (Member of the Council of
the Worldcongress of the Abkhazian-Abazinian People) who are members of
the Abkhazian Crisis Committee of Europe, a committee that has been
active both since and during the 1992-1993 war between Abkhazia and
with the improvement in relations with Abkhazia, the Abkhazian-Abazin
representatives pledged organized work to get the voice of Abkhazia
heard across Europe.
Amichba, Representative of Abkhazian Foreign Ministry in Germany, said
that the diaspora representatives established the Abkhazian Center for
Information and Culture to this end. Muharrem Tambiya was elected
Chairman of the Center.
11.23.2007 Agency Caucasus
top official discuss Kosovo, Georgia-Abkhazia conflict
Moscow, Russian Foreign Minister
Sergei Lavrov has met with UN Undersecretary-General for Peacekeeping
Operations Jean-Marie Guehenno in Moscow to discuss the situation in
Kosovo and the Georgian-Abkhazian conflict settlement.
The UN top-ranking official is on a visit
to Moscow to hold consultations with the Russian authorities, a Foreign
Ministry official said on Friday.
“During the talks, Lavrov and Guehenno
exchanged opinions on pressing problems on the international agenda,
including the situation in Afghanistan and Darfur,” the official said.
“The parties also discussed UN
peacekeeping operations, including Russia’s participation in these
missions. This area of activities is important for resolution of
regional crises and post-conflict restoration of the countries concerned,”
the source said.
reporters think Russian parliamentary elections to be a farce and plan
to ignore them
Abkhaz reporters think the elections to
the Russian State Duma to be a farce and are going to ignore the voting
on December 2. These are results of an improvised poll conducted by
REGNUM among 30 Abkhaz journalists from eleven state-owned, independent
and opposition media. They were asked whether they would vote and if
they would, what party they would vote for. According to the outcomes of
the poll, 28 people decided not to vote with only two, who said they
would necessarily participate in the voting. It is worth mentioning, 80%
of Abkhaz citizens have double citizenship – of Abkhazia and Russia.
The reporters tend to explain their
skepticism like the following: “These are not our elections; we do not
feel ourselves as citizens of the Russian Federation, so we do not feel
our duty as citizens.” According to them, they received the Russian
citizenship, because there was no other alternative: “With a Russian
passport you can freely move around the world, nothing else, and the
unrecognized status of our republic made us assume the second
citizenship”. Besides, most Abkhaz journalists believe the election
outcome is predetermined. “Anyway, whoever wins the race, the attitude
towards Abkhazia will not change,” they note adding that this is the
issue that interests them most as Russian citizens living in Abkhazia.
Five of the respondents were annoyed at
the aggressive campaign on Russian federal television channels. This,
they believe, reminds behavior of some Russian politicians during
presidential elections in Abkhazia. Four of the respondents unanimously
characterized the campaign to the Russian State Duma as “a real farce.”
They cited lack of campaign by the parties in Abkhazia and stressed that
they would ignore the elections because none of the leaders of the
eleven Russian parties participating in the elections did anything good
for Abkhazia. As they say, “Abkhazia still remains a buffer zone,” they
Only one reporters of the two who would
vote said he would go to the polling station and vote for United Russia
Party, “i.e. for Vladimir Putin.” “He is a resolute person, and,
hopefully, he will be able to something fundamental for Abkhazia,” the
The Abkhaz reporters still plan to cover
the voting process in the Abkhaz territory.
sending troops to Abkhazia
Moscow, Georgia's claims that
Russian military units have been sent to Abkhazia are baseless, the
Foreign Ministry said on Thursday.
"A special patrol of the UN Observation
Mission in Georgia conducted immediate monitoring in the designated
areas. The patrol found no military hardware. Local residents said they
did not see any either," the ministry said.
promotion of its own products of alcohol and cigarette
Sukhum, The Abkhazian administration is seeking
ways to encourage use of domestic products of alcohol and cigarette as a
legal precaution against consumption of foreign products of the same
The Abkhazian parliamentarians debated a draft bill about
advertisements that make it illegal to advertise foreign products of
alcohol and cigarette. If adopted, the bill will get signboards of
advertisement for Russian and Ukrainian products removed from the
Criticism was directed to unwillingness on the part of
parliamentarians to take legal action against increasing consumption of
alcohol in Abkhazia, however. Some parliamentarians argued that any
kinds of advertisements for products of alcohol and cigarette had to be
banned. The government is expected to modify the bill if it wants to
guarantee parliamentarian approval for its full legislation.
11.15.2007 Agency Caucasus
to accept need for Russian weaponry
Sukhum, The Abkhazian administration responded to
accusations from Georgia that Abkhazia took in heavy weaponry from
Garik Samanba, President of Abkhazian Parliament's
Committee of Defense and National Security, said that Abkhazia would not
need to import heavy armament from Russia because the country is capable
of defending itself with its own weaponry.
Samanba said that the Georgian administration came up
with such allegations because it tried to divert the attention it was
getting while it had to deal with resistance from the opposition. "The
democratic values of Georgia actually got damaged," said Samanba. "The
Georgian administration is therefore trying to cover up this kind of
damage to its democratic system of government amid allegations that
Russian tanks were brought in to Abkhazia. It also aims at proving
itself right, in discordance with the whole world."
David Bakradze, the Georgian statesman in charge of the
conflict regions, said the day before yesterday that there was a move of
armed troops in to Abkhazia. Sergei Chaban, the Peace Forces Commander
of the Commonwealth of Independent States, however, disagreed with
11.15.2007 Agency Caucasus
Abkhazia would start war'
Tbilisi, The Georgian administration tends to develop a
linguistic code of wartime rhetoric against a possible retaliatory
Russian move to recognize both Abkhazia and
South Ossetia in case Kosovo gets
recognized by the Western countries.
Givi Targamadze, President of the Georgian Parliament's
Commission on Defense and Security, said that a possible recognition by
Russia of Abkhazia as an independent state would be considered on the
part of to be an announcement of war. Targamadze further said in his
address in Parliament that the recognition of Abkhazia would make it
easier for Russian President Vladimir Putin to take control of Abkhazia.
"The Georgian administration will consider it to be an act of war if
recognizes Abkhazia. Anything that happens to do in the region will get
This sort of forceful assertion of power came from the
Georgian administration after as many as 200 Russian armed troops
Matthew Bryza, a Senior Official of the United States Department of
State, voice concern on behalf of his country about calls on to
recognize Abkhazia. Bryza actually implied criticism of a call from
Moscow Mayor Yuri Lujkov to recognize Abkhazia when he said that
statements about the need to recognize Abkhazia would not be considered
acceptable, because they were likely to cause damage. Bryza was ordered
by the American administration to arrive in
Tbilisi, the capital city of , to deal
with a crisis that came after Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili
announced martial law in a bid to confine the opposition.
Bryza further said that he would not be able to confirm
that Russian armed troops entered Abkhazia; however, he said that the
Russian administration was notified of the American expectations from .
Bryza also stressed the need on the part of to do its best in an attempt
to preserve the territorial integrity of , but he nevertheless accused
the Russian administration of using the current situation of to its own
11.14.2007 Agency Caucasus
Tbilisi’s claims of
Russian military build-up in Abkhazia provocation
Moscow, Georgian Deputy Minister
for Conflict Resolution David Bakradze’s statement that a large amount
of military hardware and personnel have been taken from Russia to
Abkhazia is “a downright lie”, Deputy Commander of Russia’s Land Forces,
Lieutenant-General Valery Yevnevich said on Monday.
“Such statements by official
representatives of the Georgian authorities cannot be assessed as
anything else but a provocation against the Russian peacekeepers in the
zone of the Georgian-Abkhazian conflict and through them against Russia,”
US-financed arms race for war on Abkhazia, South Ossetia
Georgia is preparing for a US-financed war
against Abkhazia and South Ossetia. That is what the country's military
build-up reveals, according to a leading journalist and political
analyst from Geneva. Since the current regime took power, Georgian
military spending has effectively increased by over forty times and now
has the highest growth-rate of any country in the world.
Tskhinval, Despite not being at war
with anyone, for the year 2007 the military budget of Georgia is showing
the highest growth rate of any country in the world, with much of it
being financed openly and directly by Washington.
As a result, fears run high in Tskhinval
The capital of the small Republic of South
Ossetia is increasingly seen as the next target of Georgian military
aggression, and many here worry that it is only a matter of time before
enemy troops unleash an assault on the city.
Some international analysts agree. Vicken
Cheterian, a journalist and political analyst who works for the
non-profit governance organization CIMERA, based in Geneva, says that "Georgia's
military plans reveal its ambition to reclaim the territories of
Abkhazia and South Ossetia it lost in the wars of the early 1990s."
The journalist, who is a regular
contributor to Le Monde Diplomatique, points out that since the "rose
revolution" of 2003-04, Georgian military spending has effectively been
increased by over forty times. The majority of Georgia's arms purchases
are financed directly or indirectly from Washington. Salaries for
Georgian soldiers have also repeatedly been paid for by American
" - According to the official goal of
joining NATO, Georgia needs to modernize its army, train its soldiers,
and build facilities for them," he writes in an article entitled
Georgia’s arms race. "But observers in Tbilisi point that out patterns
of spending suggest that Georgia has other projects apart from its NATO
U.S. money behind Georgian arms build-up
According to Cheterian, the Georgian
defence ministry announced in early May 2007 that it will sharply
increase its current defence budget, from 513 to 957 million lari ($304m
to $567m). This escalation follows an already impressive rise in defense
spending since the "Rose revolution." This means that since the arrival
to power of Mikheil Saakashvili, defence spending has continued on an
The arms build-up is financed by the
United States, he writes in the article which was published by
OpenDemocracy. The money started flowing in 2002 when an eighteen-month
"train and equip" program with a total budget of $64 million was started
to modernize four infantry battalions and one mechanized company.
" - The army also received significant
training assistance as well as equipment from the United States military,"
he notes. "Georgia also received valuable equipment, such as ten UH-1
transportation helicopters from the US government. The value of the US
military cooperation with the Georgian armed forces in 2007 is estimated
at $34 million. As a result, some 16,000 troops are now considered
trained by the US military."
Most of the military build-up is
concentrated against Abkhazia and South Ossetia. A modern,
NATO-compatible barracks has just been built in Senaki in western
Georgia not far from Abkhazia, and another one is under construction
near Gori, a half-hour driving distance from Tskhinval, the capital of
South Ossetia. According to the report, each of these bases will have
the capacity to house a brigade, with a troop-strength of 3,000.
Georgia's military plans have caused alarm
among diplomats and others in the international community who prefer a
peaceful coexistence of the various ethnic groups who inhabit the
" - The fact that the two new barracks are
close to the conflict-zones of Abkhazia and South Ossetia has led to
concerns among both the de-facto governments of those two regions and
the international community that seeks a peaceful resolution to these
conflicts," explains Vicken Cheterian.
He also writes that there has been a
continuous decrease of Russia's military presence parallel to the
US-Georgian military cooperation.
" - The Russian military is continuing to
empty its former Soviet base in Akhalkalaki, transporting equipment and
ammunition into its base in Gumri, in northern Armenia. Akhalkalaki base
is expected to be emptied by the end of the year, while the Russian base
in Batumi the next year," he notes. "After this period the Russian
presence will be limited to the CIS peacekeeping missions in South
Ossetia and Abkhazia."
" - Moscow is increasingly displeased to
see the NATO and specifically US military presence becoming permanent in
what once was part of its southern Soviet provinces."
In what some see as a quid pro quo
arrangement, Georgia now uses its military to assist the United States
in unpopular wars. In return for this favor, the United States continues
to oppose the right of Abkhazia and South Ossetia to independence.
" - The recent announcement in Tbilisi to
increase Georgian military participation in Iraq from 850 to 2,000 comes
at a time when most European nations have already started withdrawing
their troops, and the Bush administration is under political pressure in
Washington to come up with its own schedule to decrease troops,"
He also points out that another 150
Georgian military serve in Kosovo. This is an area where NATO-led troops
keep Serbia out, and where the United States State Department is
actively pushing for the right of self-determination to override the
territorial integrity of a metropolitan state, Serbia.
Lavrov denies claims
of Russia's interference in Georgia
Moscow, Russia is not interfering
in the internal affairs of Georgia but it is increasingly concerned
about possible provocations in Abkhazia and South Ossetia, Foreign
Minister Sergei Lavrov has said.
"We are not interfering in the internal
affairs of Georgia or telling Georgian politicians what they should be
doing or when. These are not our methods," Lavrov told a briefing in
Moscow on Friday.
Russia not dictating
to Georgia what to do and when-Lavrov
Moscow, Russian Foreign Minister
Sergei Lavrov has stated on Friday that Russia is not interfering in the
internal affairs of Georgia and is not dictating to Georgian politicians
what they should do and when, because “these are not our methods.”
The foreign minister also noted that
Russia is above all concerned over the possibility of provocations in
South Ossetia and Abkhazia.
ambassador worried by growing anti-Russian sentiments in georgian
Russian Ambassador to Georgia Vyacheslav
Kovalenko has expressed concerns over what he described as growing
anti-Russian sentiments in the Georgian political environment.
"I am really alarmed by the fact that the
anti-Russian theme is becoming predominant in Georgia's foreign policy,"
Kovalenko said in an interview with Interfax on Thursday.
"This will do nothing good," he said.
"Groundless accusations and statements by
a number of Georgian politicians are having a negative effect not only
on bilateral Russian-Georgian relations but also on the problem of the
settlement of regional conflicts," Kovalenko said.
Speaking about Georgia's decision to expel
three Russian diplomats, Kovalenko described it as unprecedented.
"This is an unprecedented provocation,
when three of our diplomats are expelled from Georgia," Kovalenko said
in a telephone interview with Interfax on Thursday.
"Allegations that Russian diplomats were
involved in the opposition protest action could have been born only from
an unsound mind," Kovalenko said.
"There is no evidence" to accuse Russian
diplomats, he said.
Kovalenko says he has no doubt Russia will
"take adequate measures" in reaction to the expulsion of its diplomats
"It is not today or yesterday that the
anti-Russian campaign has been unleashed in Georgia. The Georgian side
had no grounds for this," the diplomat said.
"It is well-known that the opposition that
organizes mass protest actions spent the previous day and night in
Washington in consultations on a large number of issues. And it is
simply ridiculous to speak today about 'Moscow's arm' in the
organization of anti-government actions, and about Russia's leading role
in opposition protests, whose actions are simply laden with anti-Russian
rhetoric," the ambassador said.
"The image that Russia is an enemy" is
being created in Georgia, he said. "Now many Georgian politicians try to
blame Russia for the domestic problems. This is not the best way to
revitalize Russian-Georgian bilateral relations," Kovalenko said.
"The situation that is taking shape now
does not help create a favorable climate for a constructive dialogue on
settling regional conflicts," he said.
To arrange successful dialogue, "it is
necessary to start with resolving problems on which agreement could be
achieved relatively easily," Kovalenko said.
He described as "a good sign" a recent
meeting in Tbilisi of the Joint Control Commission for the settlement of
the Georgian-South Ossetian conflict.
"It is necessary to move further toward
resolving more complicated issues. This is the only right way. As for
attempts to set up some parallel bodies or entertain ideas to resolve
the problem through the use of force, this is a way to deadlock," he
As for possible attempts to resolve the
South Ossetia and Abkhazia problems with force against the background of
the destabilization of the sociopolitical situation in the country,
Kovalenko said that this theory is being discussed in Georgian political
circles. "There is a lot of talk on this issue," he said.
Kovalenko described such a scenario as "extremely
"Everything possible should be done to
avoid bloodshed, and in case of a military operation, there is going to
be a lot of bloodshed," he said.
Military operations in Abkhazia and South
Ossetia "will create a new heap of problems," he said.
Urged to Recognize Abkhazia’s Independence
Moscow Mayor Yuri
urged Russia’s authorities to recognize independence of the Republic of
Abkhazia. The mayor made the respective statement Thursday, during
“Russia and Abkhazia: Towards Uniform Economic Territory” conference.
When it comes to
Kosovo, Luzhkov said, everyone speaks of
the right to sovereignty. For some reason, however, the sovereignty is
inadmissible for Abkhazia.
The Moscow mayor
also commented on today’s riots in Georgia.
According to Luzhkov, Georgia’s problem is the bad luck with the
president. From the outside, Luzhkov went on, Russia is witnessing “the
insane oppression of the nation by authorities that are paid from
overseas.” It is the question of policy of many standards, the mayor
explained. “The United States supports Georgia, which Russia is
Luzhkov has been
lambasting the policy of Mikhail Saakashvili since Rose Revolution. The
mayor has always supported Abkhazia and South Ossetia that are the
unrecognized republics, which official Tbilisi endeavors to return.
2004, for instance, Luzhkov paid informal visit to Abkhazia despite
Saakashvili's order to sink all ships appearing near its coast.
Should Take Courageous Step and Recognize Abkhazia – Moscow’s Mayor
The Russian Government should take a
courageous step and recognize Abkhazia, Yuri Lujkov, the Moscow mayor,
said during the ‘ Russia and Abkhazia: towards a single economic space’
conference in Moscow, ITAR-TASS reported.
"When the issue touch upon Kosovo then
many planned forces of international policy means sovereignty. However,
when the issue is about Abkhazia and South Osetia there are double
standards,” Lujkov said. Russia always backs Abkhazia in efforts to
improve its life as about 80 Abkhazian have the voluntary Russian
passport which is one of the relevant issues. Lujkov considers the
policy conducted by Georgian leaded Abkhazia to the verge of survival.
However, currently there are tendencies in settlement of these economic
problems. The Moscow mayor believes that Abkhazia to become a
sovereignty. Russia is interested in gaining independence by Abkhazia.
Russia needs Abkhazian resorts, trades, as well as economies of both
countries are interconnected, Lujkov said.
Touching upon the Russian-Georgian
relations, the Moscow mayor said that Russia watches apart the events
occurred in the country as it is the Georgia and Georgians’ problem. We
can see how the government suppresses mass rallies demanding resignation
of the government, which is paid from abroad, Lujkov added. “We hope the
current situation in Georgia to be settled through peace measures,”
"Istanbul Commitments" complied for Transdniestria, Abkhazia
Russia's military chief of staff Yuri
Baluyevsky says that "Russia has long ago carried out all of its CFE
obligations". This includes the alleged "Istanbul commitments" which
Moldova has falsely portrayed as a requirement to leave Transdniestria
without any Russian peacekeeping participation. Russian Foreign Minister
Sergei Lavrov also confirmed that his country has already complied with
the treaty in full.
Moscow, It is Russia's view that
the country has fulfilled its obligations under the alleged "Istanbul
Commitments", consisting of amendments to the Conventional Forces in
Europe (CFE) treaty which was renegotiated with NATO in Istanbul in
This means that the peacekeeping format
will stay unchanged in Transdniestria, causing locals to breathe a
collective sigh of relief after fears that they would have been left
defenseless if Russia had been forced by the United States to withdraw
its "blue helmets" from the buffer zone on the Dniester river. Russia
has participated in a four-country multilateral peacekeeping force ever
since a ceasefire was signed in 1992, following Moldovan attacks on
civilians in Transdniestria.
" - Russia has long ago carried out all
agreements made in Istanbul which are related to the CFE treaty,"
Russia's military chief of staff, Gen. Yuri Baluyevsky, told the State
Duma (lower house of Parliament) in Moscow on Wednesday.
The Duma voted to suspend the treaty which
dates back to the Soviet era and is considered outdated by military
analysts. Until now, the treaty has been signed and ratified by Russia,
which has observed its provisions to the letter. No NATO member country
has ever ratified it, and the West has therefore not adhered to the
rules stipulated by the treaty. This, says Russia, is one-sided and
" - Foreign states will control our
operations on our own territory," a high-ranking source told the
Russia's military chief of staff, Gen.
Yuri Baluyevsky, said that Russia inside its own national borders, must
have the right "to reposition, deploy and create forces where needed to
protect the interests and security of our country."
Istanbul commitments complied with in full
Under revised conditions which the West
imposed on Russia during the Boris Yeltsin presidency, Russia was
allegedly supposed to remove all military personnel from Abkhazia, South
Ossetia and Transdniestria, three "frozen conflict" zones bordering
Georgia and Moldova, respectively. This is how NATO and its partner,
Moldova, portrays the so-called Istanbul Commitments. Russia does not
agree with this interpretation.
The treaty, which the West has never
ratified, has been complied with in full, says General Yuri Baluyevsky,
and that includes the Istanbul amendments.
According to him, as far as Moldova is
concerned, Russia fulfilled its obligations completely before the
deadline of November 2001. By that time, it had reduced its conventional
armaments in the region to zero.
Since 1999, Russia has withdrawn armaments,
munitions and personnel from Transdniestria (Pridnestrovie). There are
no troops in Moldova, and the only troops which remain in Transdniestria
today are dedicated to peacekeeping duties under the ceasefire agreement
signed by Moldova in 1992, as well as to guarding an old ammunitions
Foreign Ministry agrees
The official position of Russia's Foreign
Ministry is the same: Russia has kept its commitments under the revised
CFE treaty and does not need to do anything more in relation to
Transdniestria or Abkhazia.
" - Russia fulfilled all its obligations,
including the stay of troops and military bases in Georgia and Moldova,
as well as the ratification of the Adapted CFE Treaty,” Russia's Foreign
Minister Sergei Lavrov told official news agency Itar-Tass on 7
Meanwhile, a source in the U.S. Department
of State said that the United States requires Russia to take away
weapons and peacekeepers from Transdniestria, as a condition for letting
NATO ratify the treaty. But the chief Russian negotiator at the 1999
Istanbul talks says that this is "a cunning and perfidious position."
Leonid Ivashov, currently the president of
the Russian Geopolitical Studies Academy, says that "the United States
sets an unfeasible ultimatum to Russia by linking the CFE ratification
with the demand to withdraw Russian troops from Georgia and
" - I headed the working group at the
summit in Istanbul in 1999. I can confirm that the two joint statements
signed by Russia with Georgia and with Moldova really helped the Adapted
CFE’s success. The current situation is such that Russia will completely
withdraw from Georgia by the end of the year," Ivashow told
" - Meanwhile, the situation in
Transdniestria is absolutely different. There are huge deposits of
armaments and ammunition. Moreover, the ammunition’s expiry date passed
long time ago. Russia keeps forces of around 1,500 people there, just to
guard that unsafe military equipment so as to prevent technogenic
disaster. There also is a political reason: the current Transdniestrian
authorities do not agree to the armaments removal. And here is the U.S.
setting an ultimatum to Russia. It is a cunning and perfidious position,"
in October incident with Russian peacekeepers in Abkhazia - Baluyevsky
Moscow, The possibility that the
incident involving Russian peacekeepers that took place in the
Georgian-Abkhaz conflict zone in late October 2007 was masterminded with
the participation of Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili, is not
ruled out by Chief of the Russian General Staff Gen. Yury Baluyevsky.
"This was an act of provocation. One of
those who took part in the provocation was President Saakashvili,"
Baluyevsky told journalist in Moscow on Wednesday.
Europe not ready
to give impartial assessment to frozen conflicts
Sukhum, “The European community is not ready give
impartial assessment to frozen conflicts, Abkhazian Foreign Minister
Sergei Shamba said when commenting on the Berlin hearings on frozen
Europe’s nonconstructivity is proved by
the fact that representatives of Abkhazia, South Ossetia and Nagorno
Karabakh are not present at the Berlin conference, according to him.
“Such an approach can lead to bloodshed,”
“The unrecognized republics will continue
pressing for recognition of their independence. It doesn’t matter
whether South Caucasus representatives will hold discussions without
participation of principal parties to conflict,” he said adding that
‘West manifests adherence to double standards’, IA Regnum reports.
countries to ask EU, UN for statehood recognition
Transdniestria, Abkhazia and South Ossetia
will ask the European Union and the United Nations to formally recognize
their 'de facto' independence. During a joint summit on the Black Sea
coast, the presidents of the three new states also pledged to help each
other resolve disputes peacefully and democratically. They warned that a
departure of peacekeepers would lead to new conflicts.
Sukhum, Three "de facto"
independent countries — Abkhazia, South Ossetia and Transdniestria — are
expected to ask the United Nations and the European Union for
recognition of their statehood.
This was made clear during a meeting in
Abkhazia, on the Black Sea coast, between the presidents of new and
emerging states. In a joint statement, they also pledged to deal with
any military threat jointly and accused Georgia of trying to discredit
Russian peacekeepers and inflame tensions in the republics' conflict
The joint statement came at a two-day
summit of the three unrecognized states that opened on Sunday in the
Abkhazian capital Sukhum, the international satellite channel RT-TV
During the meeting, the leaders of the "de
facto" independent states signed the fundamental agreement of a joint
union and charter as well as a number of cooperation documents.
Later they are also expected to sign an
appeal to the European Union and the United Nations to formally
recognize their independence.
Alliance for democracy and peoples’ rights
The commonwealth of self-proclaimed states
(officially: Community for Democracy and Rights of Nations) was formed
in June last year calling for democracy, and peoples’ rights. Besides
sharing common political goals, member states of the commonwealth
co-operate in economic affairs, culture and education.
" - The most important thing for us today
is that we are strengthening the legal framework of our alliance for
democracy and peoples’ rights. I am satisfied with the meeting’s results.
Its task was to create conditions for the further prosperity of our
republics and the earliest recognition of their independence," said
South Ossetian President Eduard Kokoity.
In the early 1990s, the republics of
Abkhazia and South Ossetia declared independence from Georgia, who
responded by sending troops to these areas in an attempt to subdue to
independence-minded population. War broke out, resulting in thousands of
An estimated three hundred thousand people
fled the breakaway republics before Commonwealth of Independent States
(CIS) peacekeepers from the former Soviet republics managed to halt the
Peacekeepers will stay
Today, peacekeepers are still stationed at
the borders for the safety of the population. Georgia has repeatedly
called for the withdrawal of the peacekeepers. But since their mission
is sanctioned by the UN Security Council and an agreement with the CIS,
the troops remain.
" - The Republic of Abkhazia stands firm:
we are categorically against the idea that the Russian peacekeepers
should leave the conflict zone. Everybody must realize that their
departure will inevitably lead to a new conflict," Abkhazian President
Sergey Bagapsh said.
Transdniestria has no no conflict with
Georgia, but suffered a similar war after Moldova sent troops to enforce
its territorial claim on the republic. Transdniestria (officially:
Pridnestrovie) declared independence from the now-defunct Moldavian SSR
in 1990, one year before the current Republic of Moldova was founded.
Two thirds of Transdniestria's population
are ethnic Russians and Ukrainians, but its ethnic Moldovan minority -
the remaining third - is also overwhelmingly in favor of independence
and does not wish to join Moldova. In the summer of 1992, more than a
thousand people died as a result of Moldovan attacks before the war was
stopped with the intervention of peacekeepers.
" - We will defend our right to live on
our land, a right to our language and our culture just as our ancestors
did," said Transdniestria's President Igor Smirnov. "This is what the
people of the Republic of Pridnestrovie said at the referendum on 17
PMR Parliament: "Unwise
to solve Pridnestrovie’s issues from Chisinau"
The Speaker of Pridnestrovie's Parliament
says that "it is unwise to resolve Pridnestrovie’s issues sitting there
in Chisinau". Yevgeny Shevchuk wants Pridnestrovie to have a say in the
way that its own future is being shaped. "Considering our previous
experience, we can say that unilateral proposals are likely to be
unconstructive," he emphasized.
Parliamentary Speaker Yevgeny Shevchuk is open to setting up joint
working groups with Moldova for solving individual issues of interest to
both governments. Last week, Moldova already unilaterally created a
total of seven working groups in Chisinau, without asking Pridnestrovie
to participate in them and without asking for Pridnestrovie's opinions
The groups set up in the Republic of
Moldova aim to implement the Moldovan regime's initiatives for
Moldovan-Pridnestrovian conflict resolution.
In response to this, Shevchuk said that it
was rather positive that statements made by the government of Moldova
are not overtly aggressive in their nature.
In an earlier interview given in late
October, Parliamentary Speaker Yevgeny Shevchuk warned that unilateral
actions usually cause aggression. He urged Moldova to scrap a law on
Pridnestrovie's future that was passed without any sort of consultation
with Pridnestrovie. The young opposition leader said that future
relations should be based on mutual respect between the two sides.
"Unwise" to solve Pridnestrovie's problems
without Pridnestrovie's participation
According to the Speaker, the problems
could be efficiently resolved in the buffer zone, in the area of the
Moldovan-Pridnestrovian conflict, if Moldova would allow Pridnestrovie
to also send its own representatives to the conflict resolution groups.
" - I think it is unwise to resolve
Pridnestrovie’s issues sitting there in Chisinau. We still do not know
in what areas the groups are specialized, or what their aims really are.
We know that certain working groups were established earlier,
specializing in the field of economy and other fields and they worked
out a package of mutually agreed proposals, though these proposals are
not implemented and aren't even mentioned anymore. Considering our
previous experience, we can say that unilateral proposals are likely to
be unconstructive and are likely to not have the result that our
citizens expect, or that the gurantor-countries and the international
community in general expect."
Too early to talk of peacekeeping changes
The 39 year old Speaker singled out
Russian involvement in peacekeeping activities in the buffer zone.
Russia is one of four countries contributing troops to a small
multinational force of peacekeepers who have successfully ensured that
current ceasefire has been kept. Since Moldova signed the ceasefire and
ended its attacks against Pridnestrovie in 1992, no single life has been
lost in the conflict, and the Moldovan military has abstained from any
further incursions into Pridnestrovie's territory.
" - The government of the republic has
always expressed their gratitude to Russia, first of all, to Russia’s
citizens and peacekeepers who have always supported us not in words but
in deeds, and who separated the conflicting parties here on the banks of
the Dniester river. They are defenders of the life of both the
Pridnestrovians and also defenders of the life of the Moldovan citizens
living in the security zone, and that is why we are deeply grateful for
the role they play in the territory of Pridnestrovie, of Moldova, and in
the buffer zone."
Although Moldova has flouted suggestions
for dismantling the peacekeeping effort - and, in effect, breaking the
terms of the ceasefire agreement - Pridnestrovie's Speaker of Parliament
firmly supports the current format of the peacekeeping operation in the
buffer zone between Pridnestrovie and Moldova.
" - The tension in the buffer zone is
still high, although the situation is under control. But I think we
should not discuss any changes to the current format or withdrawal of
peacekeeping forces since that doesn’t help to bring about conditions
for stable progress in this situation. Of course, if the political
situation and relations with Moldova were stable, and if we had a
reliable way of guarantees to be overseen by the guarantor-countries,
then we could discuss more simple procedures. But at this stage I
frankly think it is too early to discuss any changes to the peacekeeping
A right to exist
According to Yevgeny Shevchuk, the
inhabitants of Abkhazia, South Ossetia and Pridnestrovie have already
asserted their right to exist. But since they are not yet recognized by
the international community, they are facing many of the same problems.
" - It is necessary to ensure the
functioning of the state, to keep up certain social standards of living
when the economic conditions are difficult and the economy is unable to
support the state," said Yevgeny Shevchuk. Comparing Pridnestrovie to
Abkhazia and to South Ossetia, he added: "We have similar problems with
passports, border crossing, etc. That’s why at a certain stage the
presidents of three states made a decision to establish the commonwealth
to coordinate efforts, to achieve our shared goal: to obtain
international recognition. We also have agreements to provide help to
each other if necessary," Shevchuk said.
" - Recently, PMR's Parliament passed a
decision to offer tax relief for transactions between companies from
Abkhazia, South Ossetia and Pridnestrovie. We’re trying to promote
economic integration between these three new republics. We understand
that it is not easy for our colleagues and friends from Abkhazia and
Ossetia to solve their economic problems, and nor is it easy for us,"
said Shevchuk, who is a firm believer in the power of free markets and
open trade agreements to help bring prosperity to poorer countries.
" - I hope that our colleagues will follow
our example and that together we can create a favorable environment, and
that this will give a spur to economic cooperation between our states,"
said Shevchuk. Unlike Pridnestrovie, Abkhazia and South Ossetia are not
yet offering tax incentives to local companies who trade with the other
A fourth unrecognized country,
Nagorno-Karabakh, has observer status in the Community for Democracy and
Rights of Nations. Of these four unrecognized countries on the
post-Soviet space, Pridnestrovie has a larger population than all the
other three together. Pridnestrovie's economy is also stronger than the
economies of the other three put together. On a per-capita basis, it is
also stronger than some of the internationally recognized entities of
the former Soviet Union, such as that of nearby Moldova, a
proportionally poorer country.
Transdniestrian, S. Ossetian ministers urge intl community to recognize
Foreign Ministers Sergei Shamba of Abkhazia, Valeri Litskay of
Transdniestria, and Murad Dzhioyev of South Ossetia signed a joint
declaration at a meeting in Sukhum on Saturday, in which they reaffirmed
the self-proclaimed republics' resolve "to follow the norms and
principles stipulated by the UN Charter and other international legal
acts determining the contemporary world arrangement."
"The people's right to self-determination
is a sovereign and unalienable right of the peoples of Abkhazia,
Transdniestria, and South Ossetia, and ignoring the people's will should
be viewed as a violation of human rights guaranteed by international
legal documents," the declaration says.
The ministers also called for "settling
all disputable issues exclusively through peaceful methods and without
using military, political, economic, or informational pressure."
"Over the time of Abkhazia's,
Transdniestria's and South Ossetia's independent existence, they have
set up efficient governance systems guaranteeing free exercise of human
rights and stability of democratic government institutions," it says.
The foreign ministers "have called on the
international community to respect sovereign rights of the peoples of
these republics and support Abkhazia's, Transdniestria's and South
Ossetia's recognition as sovereign states."
Abkhazia to get recognized statehood in 2008
The speaker of Georgia's parliament
expects Abkhazia and South Ossetia to receive international diplomatic
recognition in 2008. This will be the result of a unilateral Kosovo
declaration of independence, and American disregard for UN Security
Council resolution 1244. In Russia, a Duma MP who agrees with this
prediction says that Pridnestrovie will get recognition, too.
Tbilissi, Georgia's speaker said on
Friday that she expects Abkhazia and South Ossetia to receive
international diplomatic recognition early next year.
Speaking to opposition protestors who
demanded early Georgian elections to topple the government of Georgian
president Mikheil Saakashvili, Nino Burdzhanadze, the speaker of
Georgia's parliament, said that "elections would not be timely" during a
period when Abkhazia and South Ossetia are expected to have their 'de
facto' independence recognized.
Official Russian news agency RIA
Novosti reported that the Georgian government expects Serbia's
breakaway province Kosovo to receive independence next spring, and
Russia to recognize Abkhazia and South Ossetia in response.
The two countries are already de facto
independent republics and have all the prerequisites for international
statehood except diplomatic recognition by other countries. Georgia
maintains a long standing territorial claim to the two areas, who
declared independence after the fall of the Soviet Union. Georgia has
been unable to enforce it for the past fifteen years and the two new
states are made up of populations which strongly favor independence over
the rule of Georgia, with whom they fought bitter wars for independence
in the past decade.
Group of friendlies
Kosovo will presumably only be recognized
by a limited number of countries, led by the United States in defiance
of U.N. Security Council Resolution 1244, which affirms the sovereignty
of the then Yugoslavia, to which Serbia is the successor state.
In the same way, Georgia only expects
Abkhazia to get limited international recognition and not obtain United
Nations membership immediately. Russia will be among the group of
countries that will extend recognition to Abkhazia in 2008, and the move
will be helped along by a "club of friendly countries" who will extend
international diplomatic recognition as well.
This was explained in an interview with MP
Konstantin Zatulin, Duma deputy and director of the Institute of the
Commonwealth of Independent States. Published this August, the
influential foreign policy specialist said that recognition of Abkhazia,
South Ossetia and Pridnestrovie (Transdniestria) should be given by
other countries first, and then by Russia in a second wave of adhesion.
" - It is necessary in the process of
international negotiations to gather a unique "club" of countries that
could recognize them, and such countries already exist. For instance,
Belarus or Venezuela, whose parliament, by the way, sent election
observers to Tskhinvali," he said.
intl community will help prevent war in region
The Abkhazian parliament said it is hoping that the international
community "will take the necessary measures to prevent the unleashing of
new war" in the region.
"The development of the situation in the
zone of the Georgian-Abkhazian conflict is assuming an increasingly
dangerous character. The new aggravation of the situation was caused by
the incident between the CIS joint peacekeeping forces and Georgian
police in the village of Ganmukhuri on October 30, in Georgia's Zugdidi
district," said the statement disseminated by the people's assembly of
the republic of Abkhazia on Friday.
The Abkhazian parliament calls "the events
in Ganmukhuri a well-planned provocation with the purpose of
discrediting the collective peacekeeping forces and their subsequence
squeezing out of the peacekeeping process."
"The CIS collective peacekeeping forces,
together with the mission of UN military observers impartially and
efficiently perform their tasks to maintain peace in the conflict zone,
being the main stabilizing factor in the region. A change in the
existing format of talks over the settlement may have unpredictable
consequences not only in the zone of the Georgian-Abkhazian conflict,
but in the whole region," the document underlined.
The parliamentarians proposed to the
leadership to "urgently carry out events to ensure national security,
and recommended talks with the Russian Federation over the deployment of
CIS peacekeepers in the Abkhazian territory in case of their withdrawal
The new wave of tension is surging against
the background of increasing militarization of Georgia, whose
authorities pursue the objective of destroying the existing format of
talks and effecting a forced solution of the problem."
Expressing deep concern over the
aggravation of the situation in the conflict zone, the Abkhazian
parliament states that such a development of events became possible not
only because of "aggressiveness by Georgian leadership but also as a
result of abetting on the part of the international community."
registered in Georgia-Abkhazia conflict zone
Moscow, The General Staff of the
Russian Armed Forces has pointed to growing provocations against Russian
peacekeepers in the zone of the Georgian-Abkhazian and the
Georgian-South Ossetian conflicts, the first deputy head of the General
Headquarters of the Armed Forces, Lieutenant-General Alexander Burutin
told journalists on Friday.
“Provocations against Russian peacekeepers
in the zone of the Georgian-Abkhazian and the Georgian-South Ossetian
conflicts are increasing. This is an objective fact,” he said.
Speaking about a fire attack from Georgia
against a Russian helicopter on October 30, he said “this is not the
first provocation in the conflict zone.”
“We perceive them moderately, but this
does not mean that we can get used to such situations,” Burutin said.
“The command of Russian peacekeeping
contingents in Abkhazia and South Ossetia regularly informs us about
facts of provocations. Heads of the CIS member-states also receive such
information,” he said.
Russia urges Georgia to
prevent provocations in Abkhazia
Russia's General Staff wants Georgia's leadership to prevent
provocations in the conflict zone with Abkhazia, a senior army official
said on Friday.
"The number of provocations in the
Georgian-Abkhaz conflict zone has increased - this is an objective fact...
We hope that Georgia's leadership will take real, effective measures to
prevent actions of forces aimed at frustrating the CIS peacekeeping
mission," First Deputy Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Alexander Burutin said.
Burutin also said there is no need to take
additional measures to defend Russian peacekeepers in the conflict zone,
where a dispute broke out between peacekeepers and Georgian police
earlier this week.
The Russian peacekeepers detained five
Georgian police officers on Tuesday in the village of Ganmukhuri, saying
the Georgians had threatened to open fire on them. Georgia said Russian
peacekeepers attacked the policemen and beat them up. The policemen were
released after the Georgian president arrived in the area to intervene.
"As yet, [additional steps] are not
necessary. But, as is known, Russia has repeatedly said it will take all
measures to safeguard the lives and activities of its peacekeepers and
citizens nationals in conflict zones," he told journalists.
Commenting on Georgia's demand to dismiss
the current peacekeeping forces commander, Sergei Chaban, from his post,
Burutin said his powers were established by the Council of CIS Heads of
State. Such issues should be decided by the CIS councils of defense and
foreign ministers, he said.
Georgia has repeatedly voiced its goal of
regaining control over Abkhazia and South Ossetia, which declared
independence in the early 1990s. It has also accused the CIS
peacekeeping force, mainly represented by Russians, of backing Abkhazia
and South Ossetia.
Abkhazia set to
host talented children for contest
Pitsunda city of Abkhazia is scheduled to host on November 3-7 talented
children in groups of ten from across the Commonwealth of Independent
States, or CIS for a talent contest, officially named “The Country of
Abkhazia will for the
first time host this kind of contest with organizational assistance from
the foundation called “The Planet of Talents.”
The winner will be
awarded 50,000 roubles.
The talent contest is
largely expected to give the children an opportunity to get to know
about Abkhazia and Abkhazians.
11.01.2007 Agency Caucasus
administration allots funding for homecoming
Abkhazian administration will allot 31 mln roubles from its entire
budget to keep the homecoming of Abkhazian Diaspora on next year.
Half the budget
allocated for promoting homecoming will be spent, according to the
government’s plans, on constructing permanent houses. The other half
will be used to meet various needs of the Abkhazian Diaspora after they
11.01.2007 Agency Caucasus