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The News in Brief

Thursday, March 6

Official: NATO unlikely to decide upon Georgia’s membership at Bucharest Summit

Georgia is not likely to be invited to join NATO at the Bucharest Summit, scheduled for April 2–4, according to Robert Simmons, the NATO Special Representative for the South Caucasus and Central Asia.

Simmons was talking on the Echo of Moscow radio station on March 4.

“We appreciate Georgia’s willingness to join NATO. However, NATO cannot say how long this will take. Still, NATO is unlikely to make a decision on Georgia's membership at Bucharest,” he said.

Simmons also said it was unlikely that Ukraine would be invited to join the alliance at the summit. (Black Sea Press)

Bakradze and Burjanadze meet NATO Secretary General

Parliamentary Speaker Nino Burjanadze and Foreign Minister Davit Bakradze met Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, the NATO Secretary General, at NATO headquarters on March 5.

The Georgian delegation reiterated its readiness to enter a new stage of cooperation with NATO in the near future. (Black Sea Press)

Tskhinvali calls for international support

The de facto parliament of the breakaway region of South Ossetia has adopted a resolution calling for international recognition of its independence.

“Seventeen years of independence has clearly proved the viability of South Ossetia and the only thing left is for legalization of its sovereignty in accordance with UN regulations,” the resolution states. (Black Sea Press)

Breakaway Abkhazia continues maneuvers

The de facto government of the breakaway region of Abkhazia has decided to continue military maneuvers, involving aviation, infantry and artillery detachments.

Maneuvers are held in Gudauta, Tsagera, Ochamchire and Nagvalou. (Prime News)

Kokoity: Georgia is abandoning the JCC format to escalate the South Ossetia conflict

By refusing to participate in talks within the framework of the Joint Control Commission (JCC) Georgia has once again shown its intention to escalate the South Ossetia conflict, de facto president of the breakaway region of South Ossetia Eduard Kokoity said.

State Minister of Georgia for Reintegration Temur Yakobashvili announced on March 4 that Georgia does not consider it expedient to resume work in the JCC format.

“Such statements once again prove, that Georgian authorities are seriously and intentionally moving towards further escalation of tension,” said Kokoity.

“Statements by Georgian authorities are seriously undermining international treaties, regulated through Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties of May 23, 1969,” Kokoity claimed.

“Georgian authorities’ decision to unilaterally withdraw from the treaty is a violation of international norms,” he said. (Black Sea Press)

Shamba: Abkhaz parliament calls on Russia to recognize its independence again

The de facto parliament of the breakaway region of Abkhazia has again addressed Russia this week requesting that it recognize its independence, de facto Abkhaz foreign minister Sergey Shamba said.

Kosovo declared independence from Serbia on February 17, a move that was swiftly followed by statements of recognition from the US and a number of EU countries including Britain, France and Germany.

De facto authorities in Abkhazia, South Ossetia and Transdniester (Moldova) have stepped up their attempts to achieve recognition since.

“We will proceed with our efforts in this direction and address the Russian Parliament, as well as international organizations, particularly the OSCE, requesting that they recognize our independence. We will continuously do this and will not stop striving for independence,” Shamba said.

Speaking of upcoming parliamentary hearings in Russia that will discuss the situation in the breakaway republic he said, “That is the very reason why we renewed our appeal to Russia on this issue.” (Black Sea Press)

Georgian MP fined a month’s salary

Ruling party MP Shota Gvenetadze has lost one month’s salary for leaving his voting panel in the session hall on March 4.

MP Bezhan Gunava said the voting panels of Gvenetadze and Eduard Surmanidze—both of whom were absent at the session, according to a roll call—were used during voting for constitutional amendments.

Ruling party MP Davit Kirkitadze said Gunava was mistaken; however, Parliamentary Speaker Nino Burjanadze said that while Surmanidze appeared to have in fact been present, Gventadze had not been.

“As for Gvenetadze, he has left the voting panel for his colleague and will be deprived of his monthly salary,” Burjanadze said. (Black Sea Press)

Georgia to withdraw its peacekeepers from Iraq in near future

The government plans to withdraw its peacekeeping contingent from Iraq in the foreseeable future, according to Giorgi Baramidze, State Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration Issues.

“We are in talks to withdraw our troops from Iraq in the foreseeable future. It may be in summer, though negotiations with the US on this issue are ongoing,” Baramidze said.

Baramidze also said there is a possibility Georgia’s presence in Afghanistan may be stepped up.

Over ten percent of Georgia’s armed forces are involved in peacekeeping around the world and around 2000 Georgian troops are currently stationed in Iraq.

“Despite not being a NATO member, we already actively participate in peacekeeping operations,” Baramidze said.

The state minister also said that NATO experts have praised the Georgian military’s conduct.

“This is important for Georgia, as it proves that the country’s armed forces meet the required high standards,” he added. (Black Sea Press)