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The News in Brief

Friday, December 12
Abkhazia and South Ossetia cannot appeal to UN International Court

Abkhazia and South Ossetia cannot bring a suit at the International Criminal Court in the Hague in connection with the events in August 2008 as they are not members of the United Nations Organization, Chairman of the court Rosalyn Higgins stated while answering journalists’ questions about this possibility.

“The (International Criminal) Court (UN) considers only cases concerning UN member states. If a state is not a member of the UN, but would like to hear the opinion of our court, in this case I think a preliminary hearing could be held. If there is no preliminary hearing, then the court in private session must make a decision concerning this issue. Georgia is a UN member state, that’s why in connection with Georgia’s suit questions might appear,” Higgins said during a Moscow-Hague TV bridge organized by RIA Novosti.

Georgia as a UN member state has appealed to the UN International Court by bringing a suit against Russia in which it accuses Moscow of violating the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination. Higgins has appointed time in which written arguments can be submitted by Georgia and written counter-arguments by Russia.

Georgia must submit its arguments in a written form not later than September 2, 2009, Russia not later than July 2, 2010. (Black Sea Press)

Leader of NDP demands restoration of constitutional monarchy

The newly elected Chairman of the National Democratic Party of Georgia, Bachuki Kardava, has stated what he sees as the necessity of the restoration of a constitutional monarchy in the country. He said this at the 19th congress of the party on December 11, where he was elected and the charter of the party was approved.

“Systemic changes in the country are required. We consider it necessary to restore historical justice, to share the experience of developed European countries and restore the constitutional monarchy in Georgia,” Kardava noted. (Black Sea Press)

Switzerland to start issuing Schengen visas

Starting from December 12 2008, Swiss-Schengen cooperation will become operational. This means that Switzerland will start issuing Schengen visas.

The Swiss Schengen visa will not only allow people with such visas to travel to Switzerland but the whole Schengen area. Conversely, Georgian passport holders with a valid Schengen visa issued by other Schengen states will also be able to enter Switzerland without an additional Swiss visa, Black Sea Press was informed at the Swiss Embassy in Georgia. This change is a result of the bilateral Schengen agreement signed in October 2004 between Switzerland and the European Union, which will facilitate some travel in Europe for Georgian passport holders.

The Swiss Embassy in Tbilisi will adopt Schengen procedures when issuing visas. (Black Sea Press)

Russia remains “an important partner on global issues” for the European Union

For the European Union Russia remains “an important partner on global issues” and the main supplier of power resources to Europe, it is said in the draft European Security Strategy (ESS), RIA Novosti agency informs.

The document is to be approved by participants of the two day summit of the European Union which opens on Thursday in Brussels. “The European Union expects from Russia compliance with its commitments in order to restore necessary confidence. Our partnership must be based on respect for common values, namely, the observance of human rights, democracy, legality, the principles of the market economy and the pursuance of common interests and aims,” says the 18 page document under the title “Provision of Security in a Changing World.”

The draft European Security Strategy, which has been prepared by the EU High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy, Javier Solana, lists three new threats to international security - climate change, cyber crimes and piracy. The key trend of the efforts of the EU and its international partners must become the guarantee of energy security, the document notes. (Black Sea Press)