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The News in Brief

Monday, June 29
Pavel Felgenhauer – US-Russia summit is last opportunity to prevent war in Georgia

Military expert Pavel Felgenhauer believes that the Moscow US-Russia summit will provide the last opportunity to prevent war in Georgia, the Jamestown Foundation reports.

Felgenhauer believes that “Obama's administration seems ready to tacitly promise that the deployment of BMD in Poland and the Czech Republic might be delayed while efforts to press Iran to curtail its nuclear and ballistic missile programmes continue.” The expert considers that putting legal restraints on future U.S. BMD plans seems to be politically unacceptable, and the Russian linkage of BMD and START in a new treaty could undermine the summit.

“There are other outstanding contentious issues. Kremlin-connected Russian political commentators have been stating that an Obama visit to Moscow can only be called successful if he publicly announces a 20-25 year moratorium on Georgia and Ukraine joining NATO. In exchange for recognition of Georgia and Ukraine being within Russia's sphere of control, Moscow could offer Obama help in the transit of supplies to troops in Afghanistan,” Felgenhauer states.

The analyst says that on June 29 Russian troops begin massive military exercises on Georgia's borders and occupied Abkhazia and South Ossetia called Kavkaz 2009. The exercises are planned to end on July 6, when Obama lands in Moscow. The troops will be deployed and ready to go into action for at least several weeks after July 6, which apparently makes July the most dangerous month in the troubled South Caucasus. “Obama's visit to Moscow may be the last slim hope to avoid a war: if the U.S. President understands the threat and decides to put Georgia at the center of his negotiations instead of START -which is deadlocked anyway by the BMD linkage - it may be still possible to pull off a diplomatic miracle by pressing or persuading Putin to stand back,” Felgenhauer states.

Vano Merabishvili avoids commenting on meeting between Kakha Targamadze and opposition representatives

Minister of Internal Affairs Vano Merabishvili has avoided commenting on the meeting between Kakha Targamadze and opposition representatives. Merabishvili told Georgian journalists that his viewpoint would be biased and he avoided making any statements on this issue.

“This issue concerns political parties and as Interior Minister I don’t want to comment on political parties. It involves Kakha Targamadze, a former Interior Minister, and my views about him would be biased,” Vano Merabishvili, who is visiting the USA, stated.

Germans don’t consider recognition right step

Germans don’t consider that the recognition of Abkhazia and so-called South Ossetia was the right step, the Chair of the West-East Federal Union of German Societies Peter Franke has told the Regnum agency.

Franke says that public opinion research has produced interesting results. The majority of Germans believe the recognition of Kosovo’s independence was the wrong step, and it would also be wrong to recognise Abkhazia and so-called South Ossetia as independent.

“German society is concerned about the tense situation in the Caucasus, as the Caucasus is considered to be an important region for Germany,” Peter Franke stated.

Georgian President views hothouse industry in Adjara Region

The Georgian President visited the Adjara region on Saturday. Mikheil Saakashvili met the crew and captain of French navy frigate Montcalm, which entered Georgian territorial waters on June 26. The frigate will participate in patrolling the Black Sea alongside representatives of the Georgian Naval Defence Department.

Prior to this the President visited the Khelvachauri district. Mikheil Saakashvili viewed hothouse industry activity in the village of Salibauri and talked to the staff working there. The hothouse is a Georgian-Turkish investment, and vegetables grown in the hothouse are sorted on site and then sent to the local market. 25 persons are employed in the facility at this point.
(Rustavi 2)