Saturday, August 23, 2008

Georgian Parliament extends state of war until September 8

Парламент Грузии продлил военное положение до 8 сентября

The Parliament of Georgia today, August 23, during a special session extended the state of war in the country for another 15 days--until September 8, reports an IA Regnum correspondent. The general consensus among the MPs is that the state of war should be in effect until Russian forces pullback to their previous positions.

The state of war was put into effect in Georgia on August 9, originally intended to last 15 days (until August 24), as a result of fighting on its territory. The parliament says Russia's actions amount to "armed aggression" and "the occupation of territories." The MPs don't exclude the possibility that the state of war could be further extended, noting that it all depends on Russia's next steps.

IA Regnum

Series of explosions in center of Tskhinvali

В центре Цхинвала произошла серия взрывов

Several strong explosions took place today, August 23, in Tskhinvali near camps set up by employees of the Russian Ministry for Emergency Situations and the Central Republican Hospital. As ITAR-TASS reports, it is believed that a weapons warehouse or munitions depot blew up. According to the news agency, fire engines have departed for the scene of the incident.

Journalists are also stationed near the stockpiles of seized weapons where the explosions took place.

IA Regnum

Georgia fires on two regions in South Ossetia

Грузия обстреляла два района Южной Осетии

Settlements in two regions of South Ossetia came under Georgian fire today. The radio station "Echo of Moscow" was informed of the incident by Irina Gagloeva, head of the South Ossetian Press and Information Committee.

On August 10, Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili gave a ceasefire order in the Georgian-Ossetian conflict zone.

IA Regnum

Expert: Russia to do everything to ensure that independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia recognized by at least 50 countries

Россия сделает все, чтобы независимость Абхазии и Южной Осетии признали по крайней мере 50 стран: эксперт

Head of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs Sergey Lavrov has statemed that Russian recognition of Abkhazia and South Ossetia will depend on Georgia's next steps. Saakashvili was most recently warned not to cooperate with NATO; however, the Georgian leadership will most likely not change its politics. Ara Papyan, former Armenian Ambassador to Canada and director of the analytical center Modus Vivendi, stated the following in a conversation with an IA Regnum correspondent: "Russia will do everything so that the independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia is recognized by around 50 countries, at least as many as for Kosovo," he emphasized.

Papyan expressed the opinion that Armenia should hold a neutral position concerning the independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, noting that the validity of the independence of Karabakh depends not only on the principle of a nation's right to self-determination, but also on the decision that was made by the League of Nations to demarcate the Armenian-Azerbaijan border along ethnic lines. The expert also emphasized that, in any case, the precedent of an independent Abkhazia and South Ossetia will help solve the Karabakh conflict.

The expert stated that the annexation of Karabakh, Abkhazia, and South Ossetia by either Azerbaijan or Georgia made them "captured territories" in violation of international law. He also noted that the Soviet states were never recogized individually by the international community and that the USSR itself wasn't recognized until 1924. Therefore, in the opinion of this political scientist, the annexation of Karabakh by Azerbaijan and Abkhazia and South Ossetia by Georgia is in violation of international law. He also emphasized that the internal borders of the republics after the formation of the USSR did not create separate states, but simply marked administrative boundaries and hence are not subject to international law.

IA Regnum