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The News in Brief

Thursday, September 4
Standard Bank News

Kor-Standard Bank has reiterated its continuous commitment to Georgia and its people and confirms there is no change in previously announced plans.

The bank’s Marketing and PR Head Ana Skhiladze has stated that its new product and expansion plans for 2008 are still on course and the bank will open four new outlets in the remaining months in addition to the two already opened.

The bank is undergoing a complete rebranding exercise to ensure enhanced service quality. It also continues to offer a full range of loan products to corporate, commercial and individual customers.

“We remain optimistic in our view of the future and believe that by working with the Government and people of Georgia we will overcome all challenges and create a brighter tomorrow,” Skhiladze said.

Georgia “will not suspend de-occupation efforts”

The Parliament of Georgia unanimously agreed on September 3 that the State of War imposed last month would be lifted. A State of Emergency will now apply, but only in the areas of Georgia where Russian troops are stationed. However, as Chairman of Parliament Davit Bakradze stated, the lifting of the State of War does not mean the suspension of the process of de-occupation.

“The main aim of this decision is to show the world that Georgia has occupied territories, but the country continues living a life of full value,” he said. “We will struggle against the Russian Army until the last soldier has left the territory of Georgia, including Abkhazia and South Ossetia”, he noted. (Black Sea Press)

Sokhumi states that the UN is only the possible mediator in the Caucasus

The Foreign Ministry of Abkhazia does not see any alternative to using the United Nations Organization as a mediator in the settlement of the conflict with Georgia and is ready to consider Kazakhstan as an area where negotiation might take place, according to the Foreign Minister of the separatist government of Abkhazia, Sergei Shamba. As RIA Novosti informs, this comment is a response to the statement of President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev that his country was ready to be a mediator in the settlement process.

“The UN is the most authoritative mediator in the world, it is engaged in our processes and every three months the General Assembly listens to the report of the UN Secretary General. Every six months a resolution of the Security Council is passed on a conflict”, Shamba noted. According to him, if this situation is maintained, there will be no need for external national mediators. “Countries may offer a kind of contact. We have held meetings in Turkey, Ukraine, and Greece as they offered us the facilities for talks.”

The Minister noted that Kazakhstan might offer such facilities too, but said that no proposals had yet been received from Kazakhstan. (Black Sea Press)

Georgian troops have been withdrawn to their permanent stations – Foreign Minister

Georgia has completely fulfilled its obligations on withdrawing troops to their permanent locations, Deputy Foreign Minister of Georgia Grigol Vashadze has stated in the interview with radio station “Echo of Moscow”.

According to the Minister, a statement made by the Russian Foreign Ministry that instead of returning them to their stations Georgia has carried out a large scale re-grouping of its forces was an “absolute lie.” At the same time Vashadze said that Russian troops had not left Georgia.

“No, they have not left. Worse than that, they make trenches and deploy additional equipment. They are in Poti and Karaleti (a village near Gori), blocking the roads of the civilian population to their houses. This is being done not on the territory of South Ossetia, but in villages of the Gori region. Eighteen illegal checkpoints have been imposed in Eastern and Western Georgia and no one knows what the troops that man them have been engaged in. They are located in Poti, Senaki, Zugdidi and Chkhorotsku”, Vashadze noted. (Black Sea Press)

UNHCR is concerned about humanitarian situation in Gori and its suburbs.

The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees is deeply concerned about the situation in Gori and its suburbs, says the UN News Centre.

“The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has today expressed concern over the humanitarian conditions facing people in and around the town of Gori, which lies just south of the border of the separatist region of South Ossetia”, UNHCR said in a statement. “Our initial assessment indicates that some 450 people have arrived in Gori from their villages in the last week due to massive intimidation by marauding militias,” Agency spokesperson Ron Redmond told reporters in Geneva.

Shelters in the city are stretched beyond capacity, with some 4,200 people from the buffer zone between Gori and the South Ossetian boundary registered as being internally displaced. More than 1,000 people are taking refuge in a UNHCR tent camp which was only set up five days ago, another 1,000 are staying with host families and roughly 2,000 others are spread among nearly two dozen collective centres.

The remaining internally displaced persons (IDPs) were on their way home from the capital Tbilisi and other parts of the country where they had sought refuge during the conflict, but could not travel into the buffer zone beyond Gori. The most recent arrivals, reportedly from the village of Beloti in the buffer zone, told UNHCR that more than half of the village’s 200 inhabitants fled in the early stages of the crisis, which broke out on 8 August. (Black Sea Press)