Monday, September 1, 2008

Russian soldiers block humanitarian aid

რუსმა ჯარისკაცებმა ჰუმანიტარული ტვირთი არ გაატარეს

Russian soldiers did not allow passage of humanitarian through a checkpoint near Karaleti, Shida Kartli administrators tell "Interpressnews."

The shipments were destined for Georgian villages, among them the remaining residents of Patara [Lesser] Liakhvi Gorge. Shida Kartli governor Lado Vardzelashvili made the Russian blockade known at today's "Live Chain" mass demonstration.

Interpressnews [Georgian news agency]

Georgia withdraws from Joint Control Commission for Georgian-Ossetian Conflict Resolution

Грузия выходит из Смешанной контрольной комиссии по урегулированию грузино-осетинского конфликта

"Georgia is withdrawing from the Joint Control Commission (JCC) for Georgian-Ossetian Conflict Resolution and requests the immediate withdrawal of Russian peacekeepers from the territory of the former South-Ossetian autonomous oblast." According to an IA Regnum correspondent, the announcement was made in a statement released the evening of September 1 by Georgian State Minister for Reintegration Issues Temur Iakobashvili.

"In accordance with the resolutions passed by the Parliament of Georgia on July 18, 2006 'Concerning the peacekeeping forces deployed on Georgian territory' and on August 28, 2008 'Concerning the occupation of Georgian territory by the Russian Federation,' as well as with item 3 of Order of the Georgian Government No.552 signed on August 29, 2008, the State Minister for Reintegration Issues has been authorized to declare that Georgia is withdrawing from the Joint Control Commission for Georgian-Ossetian Conflict Resolution, created according to the June 24, 1992 agreement 'concerning the principles of resolving the Georgian-Ossetian conflict'," says the State Minister in the release.

"The aforementioned decisions were made after the Russian Federation, by its own hostile actions, disregarded all the peacemaking documents, which had been accepted at a bilateral level and within the limits of the CIS. Accordingly, the Georgian MFA has carried out procedures for the unilateral termination of the agreement 'Concerning the principles of resolving the Georgian-Ossetian conflict' of June 24, 1992," the statement notes.

"After this, the Joint Control Commission for Georgian-Ossetian Conflict Resolution ceases to exist, and all protocols and agreements made in the framework of the JCC have lost their validity; the mandate of the JCC has been abolished, and therefore, the immediate termination of the so-called 'peacekeeping operation' in the former South Ossetian oblast and the immediate withdrawal of divisions of the Russian army from Georgian territory should follow," the statement reads.

"At the same time, the government of Georgia states that it remains committed to the positions outlined by the president of France in the ceasefire agreement, which are presented in the corresponding letter from Nicolas Sarkozy and enclosed explanations," emphasizes Iakobashvili.

Russian MFA: Rearming of Georgia has begun

МИД РФ: перевооружение Грузии началось

Official representative of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs Andrei Nesterenko said today that Russia has evidence that Georgia has begun to rearm.

"The restoration of Georgia's military which suffered during the conflict," emphasized the diplomat, "is happening under the guise of humanitarian aid. There is the suspicion that the aid may not be intended solely for civilians, but also for the military, and it will go towards restoring the weakened armed forces."

"Therefore, we have expressed the necessity to consider imposing an embargo on shipments of arms to Georgia," added Nesterenko.

Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergey Lavrov proposed such an embargo today.

"In order to prevent a relapse of violence in the region, Russia will continue to take measures to punish the guilty, so that this regime [of Saakashvili] will never again do harm," said the minister, speaking before students at the Moscow State Institute of International Relations, "First of all, it would be wise to impose an embargo on arms shipments to this regime, until a new administration transforms Georgia into a normal state." Lavrov reminded listeners that it was precisely this military aid, which the US rendered to Georgia, "which encouraged the irresponsible and unpredictable regime of Saakashvili."

According to Nesterenko, "Russian peacekeeping forces are now undertaking additional security measures."

"For this purpose, the buffer zone around South Ossetia is being provided with Russian peacekeeping posts with a total personnel of up to 500 persons," he said, quotes ITAR-TASS.

US to continue to aid Georgia financially

США продолжат оказывать Грузии финансовую помощь

The US "will continue to provide Georgia with significant financial and political support." The statement was made today in Brussels by US Assistant Deputy Secretary of State Matthew Bryza in an interview with Georgian journalists which was later broadcast on the Tbilisi television company Rustavi-2.

"The US condemns the actions of Russia in relation to Georgia and the invasion of Georgian territory by Russian armies. The US will continue to provide Georgia with significant financial and political support," noted Bryza.

Responding to a question on "what decision will the EU make on Russia," he said: "I don't know what decision the EU will make concerning Russia. That is the prerogative of the leaders of EU member countries. But I do know that the EU will provide Georgia with significant economic and political aid, and that is very important for the development of the country," quotes ITAR-TASS.

Human Rights Watch: Georgia used cluster bombs against South Ossetia

Грузия использовала против Южной Осетии кассетные бомбы: Human Rights Watch

The international organization Human Rights Watch has determined that Georgia used cluster bombs against South Ossetia. As the Associated Free Press reports, the statement was made by representative of HRW Bonnie Docherty. Earlier, Russia was blamed for using cluster bombs; however, the representative of the General Staff of the Russian Federation has denied these allegations.

Russian MFA: Sending war ships to unstable region won't bring calm

Направление вооруженных кораблей в нестабильный регион не внесёт спокойствия - МИД РФ

The deployment of military forces to unstable regions does not bring any calm and does not help find a solution to the problem which we have here. The opinion was expressed by official representative of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs Andrei Nesterenko on September 1, at a Moscow press conference, commenting on the presence of a fleet of NATO ships in the Black Sea, reports an IA Regnum correspondent.

Nesterenko said that sending ships armed with formidable weapons to the region cannot be considered as a stabilizing measure. "If the ships leave, it will be interpreted as an effort to de-escalate the situation, but the gathering of armed forces is always unequivocally contrary to resolving issues surrounding stabilization," said Nesterenko.

Currently, there are around 10 naval vessels from NATO member countries on the Black Sea.

Russian MFA: US rendered military assistance to Georgia during war in South Ossetia

МИД РФ: США оказывало Грузии военное содействие во время войны в Южной Осетии

Official representative of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs Andrei Nesterenko refused to comment on a report by Deputy Chief of the General staff of the Russian Armed Forces Anatoly Nogovitsyn that an American passport was found in the South Ossetian war zone. As an IA Regnum correspondent reports, at a Moscow briefing held today, September 1, Nesterenko emphasized that this question belongs to the representatives of the General Staff.

Speaking of concrete military support from the US for Georgia during the war, Nesterenko stated that for the time being, there is only the instance of 2,000 Georgian soldiers transferred from Iraq to Georgia by US military transport aircraft. However, Nesterenko also reminded journalists that the US administration considers Georgia as one of its allies and rendered it various types of military assistance, from equipping its armies to providing training.