Monday, August 25, 2008

Patriarch of Georgia asks Russia not to ratify independence of South Ossetia and Abkhazia

Грузинский патриарх просит Россию не узаконивать независимость Южной Осетии и Абхазии

Catholicos-Patriarch of All Georgia Ilia II has requested the leadership of Russia "not to ratify" the resolution passed by the Russian parliament "concerning the Abkhazia and the Tskhinvali regions."

In his statement, the head of the Georgian Orthodox Church particularly said : "For the welfare and future of the two countries, the Cathlicos-Patriarch of all Georgia requests the President and Prime Minister of Russia not to ratify the resolution passed by the Federation Council and State Duma, as it is lacking any legal or historical basis," reports ITAR-TASS.

In the next two days, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev could sign the resolution recognizing the independence and sovereignty of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Immediately after Russia, Iran, Belarus, Venezuela, Cuba, Syria, and a couple dozen other states will also recognize the republics.

On August 25, the State Duma of the Russian Federation, at an extraordinary plenary session, passed a resolution urging the President of Russia to recognize the independence of the Republics of South Ossetia and Abkhazia. Several hours earlier, a similar resolution was passed by the Federation Council of the Russian Federation.

IA Regnum

South Ossetia: We did not violate territorial integrity of Georgia

Южная Осетия: Мы не нарушали территориальной целостности Грузии

South Ossetia has never violated the territorial integrity of Georgia, stated South Ossetian Minister of Foreign Affairs Murat Jioev at an international press conference in the South Ossetian capital, Tskhinvali. As an IA Regnum correspondent reports, Jioev noted that in its struggle for independence, South Ossetia has always adhered to international standards.

"In the breakup of the Soviet Union, many new states were created, including the Republic of South Ossetia, and it is not any fault of South Ossetia that this was the case. From the very beginning, we have put the facts before us and have had to find political and legal substantiations of our independence. I assure you that during all these years, we have never once done anything in violation of international law. However, Georgia has only responded to our legal actions with aggression and infringements on our rights," noted the minister. He also reminded reporters that in 1990 Georgian authorities repealed all legislation which had been passed during the Soviet Union, "that is, they abolished the entire legislative record by which South Ossetia had been included in the Georgian SSR." Jioev noted that on February 19, 1992 a referendum was held in which 99% of voters favored the independence of South Ossetia and that on May 19, 1992 South Ossetia declared its independence. "Let me be clear: we have not violated the territorial integrity of the Georgian State, as Georgia itself repealed all legislation by which South Ossetia was included in the Georgian SSR. And during the period of the independent Georgian state between 1918-1922, South Ossetia was not part of Georgia," asserted the minister.

IA Regnum

Georgian army concentrating forces near Kodori Gorge

Грузинские войска концентрируются в направлении Кодорского ущелья

The Georgian army is concentrating forces near the Kodori Gorge. The statement was made by Deputy Minister of Defense of Abkhazia Anatoliy Zaitsev. According to him, there eight thousand men have already gathered.

More precisely, there are two groups, consisting of six and two thousand persons. Zaitsev noted that Abkhazia was prepared to face any possible aggression. At the same time he said that the armed forces would not be reinforced in accordance with the ceasefire. Zaitsev believes that this most recent activity is a result of Georgia's desire to seek revenge. "Georgia has unequivocally declared that it will not accept defeat and will do all it can to regain its lost positions," he emphasized. Anatoliy Zaitsev did not give the date of a possibly military strike, repeating that Abkhazia was fully prepared to fend them off.

IA Regnum

Refugees being forced to return to Gori, government "frivolous", says Georgian opposition

Грузинская оппозиция: беженцев возвращают в Гори насильно, а правительство Грузии "несерьезно"

The Georgian leadership does not appreciate the importance of the issue of the recognition of independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia by Russia with due seriousness, stated "New Rights" party leader David Gamkrelidze at a press conference. In Gamkrelidze's words, concrete steps which Georgia has not yet taken are necessary. Diplomatic ties should be severed with Russia and all other countries recognizing the independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia; the peace-keeping mandate of the Russian army should be abolished; and the divisions of the Russian army which remain in the republic should be given the status of occupiers.

The leader of "New Rights" believes that Georgia should also press the UN to evaluate Russia's actions harshly and levy sanctions against Moscow. "Members of the G8 should revoke Russia's membership. The US should pressure Moscow, including by putting visa restrictions on its citizens. The EU should consider excluding Russia."

He noted that if Tbilisi fails to achieve these objectives, then any attempt to defend the territorial integrity of the country by diplomatic measures will fail. Gamkrelidze also noted that the Georgian leadership was forcibly returning refugees to Gori, without providing any security guarantees. "Those who wish to return to Gori shall, but the rest should stay where they are," noted the leader of "New Rights."

Some residents of Gori, afraid of being forcibly returned to the city, have fled to Armenia, and are seeking the services of accredited embassies in Yerevan to find refuge in a third state.

IA Regnum

Residents of South Ossetia and Abkhazia rejoice, await Russian president's decision

Жители Южной Осетии и Абхазии ликуют и ожидают решения президента России

An atmosphere of jubilation reigns in South Ossetia and Abkhazia. The citizens of these republics are celebrating the recognition of independence won by blood. On August 25, the Council of the Federation and the State Duma of Russia recognized South Ossetia and Abkhazia.

The proceedings of the Russian State Duma were broadcast live over loudspeakers in the theater square in Tskhinvali. As an IA Regnum correspondent reports, it is strange to see the celebrations against a backdrop of ruins. The residents of the republic gathered on what remained of the square after the Georgian invasion and drove through the streets of Tskhinvali waving South Ossetian flags.

In the capital of Abkhazia, people are congratulating one another. Music and high spirits can be found everywhere.

IA Regnum

Russian president could sign recognition of independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia in next two days

Президент России может подписать решение о признании Абхазии и Южной Осетии в ближайшие два дня

In the next two days, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev could sign a decree recognizing the independence and sovereignty of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, reports an IA Regnum source in the Caucasus. According to this source, immediately after Russia's recognition, Iran, Belarus, Venezuela, Cuba, Syria, and a couple dozen other states will also recognize the republics.

It is worth noting that as of today, Kosovo, which unilaterally proclaimed its own independence from Serbia, has been recognized by only 43 states.

Earlier today, the Russian State Duma, during an extraordinary plenary session, supported an appeal to Russian President Dmitry Medvedev to recognize the independence of the republics of South Ossetia and Abkhazia. The resolution passed unanimously. Russian MPs have called on legislators of UN member states and international parliamentary organizations to support the recognition of Abkhazia and South Ossetia as autonomous, sovereign, and independent states, adding that the recent armed aggression by Georgia against South Ossetia makes it necessary.
A few hours earlier, a similar appeal was made to the Russian president by the Council of the Federation.

IA Regnum

Georgian special forces carrying out sabotage in Leningori

Грузинский спецназ осуществляет диверсии в Ленингорском районе Южной Осетии

According to the South Ossetian Ministry of Internal Affairs, the Georgian armed forces are concentrated near the Leningori region of South Ossetia. Fire from a Georgian special forces unit occasionally falls on Ossetian villages, but there have been no casualties. Nevertheless, fearing the saboteurs, many residents have left their homes for the forest.

South Ossetian law enforcement agencies have deployed additional forces to the region to prevent any sabotage.

IA Regnum

Russian General Staff: Georgia prepared for military operation against South Ossetia

Генштаб РФ: Грузия готовила военную операцию в отношении Абхазии

The Russian military has new evidence that Georgia was preparing for aggressions against Abkhazia. The statement was made on August 25 at a Moscow press conference by Anatoliy Nogovitsyn, Deputy Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation, reports an IA Regnum correspondent.

According to Nogovitsyn, the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces has received solid evidence of Georgian plans to resolve the Georgian-Abkhazian conflict by force. "Currently, this information is being processed. At the briefing on August 26, a detailed plan of Georgian agression against Abkhazia will be revealed to journalists," said Nogovitsyn.

IA Regnum