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The News in Brief

Monday, August 25
President tells how it all began

Late last evening President Saakashvili held a meeting with the parliamentary bureau members.

The President briefed them on how the recent conflict began, and highlighted that Russia had clearly been preparing to invade Georgia for several months. The President said that on many occasions during this period he warned Western leaders of the imminent Russian attack but was not listened to.

Saakashvili pointed out that such a swift invasion would not have been possible unless troops had been placed in positions to conduct it according to a pre-arranged plan. He praised the “heroic performance” of Georgian troops during the conflict.

Parliament unanimously approves prolongation of State of War in Georgia

The Parliament of Georgia has unanimously approved the prolongation of the State of War initially imposed on August 9. Though originally imposed for two weeks, this has now been prolonged till September 8.

“Nothing has changed since August 9. Russian occupiers are still on our territory, some units of the Russian army have only regrouped instead of leaving. While the Russians stay on our territory, Georgia will remain in a State of War, “ Gia Tortladze, the Chairman of “Strong Georgia – Christian Democrats”, stated. (Prime-News)

Parliamentary Chairman visits U.S.

Davit Bakradze, the Chairman of the Georgian Parliament, Mikheil Machavariani, Vice-Speaker, and Gia Baramidze, the State Minister for Euro-Atlantic Integration, left for the United States on August 23.

According to the Parliament’s press office, the Georgian delegation will attend the Democratic Convention in Denver. (Prime-News)

Possible recognition of Abkhazia and South Ossetia by Russia will mean nothing – FM

A possible unilateral recognition by Russia of Abkhazia and South Ossetia as independent states will mean nothing. This was stated on Friday at a briefing in Tbilisi by Georgian Foreign Minister Eka Tkeshelashvili.

“If Russia takes such a unilateral step it will demonstrate once again the intentions it had when it intruded into the territory of Georgia”, Tkeshelashvili noted. “There will be no serious judicial consequences because unilateral recognition by Russia means nothing for the international community, as it contradicts international legislation”, she continued.

“It will also be dangerous for Russia’s political image, in addition to what has already happened”, she added. “I think there is no practical danger in it, as Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity have been acknowledged by the whole international community and Russia is the only country which questions it.” (Black Sea Press)

IDP Children to visit Sighnaghi and Bodbe

About 50 IDP children from conflict zones, and those internally displaced as a result of the recent Georgian-Russian warfare, will visit Sighnagi town museum and Bodbe Monastery, in Georgia’s eastern region of Kakheti, on Saturday.

The visit, organized on the initiative of Georgia’s Tourism Association, will last for three days. (Prime-News)

Burjanadze to visit U.S.

Former Parliamentary Speaker Nino Burjanadze will leave for the U.S. on August 23.

Burjanadze, who is now President and Founder of the Foundation for Democracy and Development (FDD), will participate in events organized by National Democratic Institute and International Republican Institute, FDD said in a press release, without specifying details. It said however that meetings with U.S. Department of State officials were also planned.

Burjanadze said on August 18 that Russian troops’ withdrawal was now a priority, but the Georgian Government would definitely face “tough questions” afterwards about what led to the conflict and why it all happened.

“I'm afraid it will not be very easy for the Government to answer all the questions,” Nino Burjanadze said in an interview with Reuters.

FDD said in a separate announcement on August 20 that its Board of Advisors had met to discuss the recent developments and to begin elaborating a policy paper on the ways out of the current crisis.

“Of course making a correct assessment of the recent developments is very important,” an FDD press release quoted Burjanadze as saying. “But at this stage, I want to ask you [referring to the FDD’s Board of Advisors], to focus on how to help the country out of this very difficult situation. It is of special importance now to objectively analyze the situation and to table recommendations for a set of mechanisms for overcoming the crisis.” (Prime-News)