The messenger logo

The News in Brief

Monday, August 24
Truso Gorge residents made anxious by Kokoity’s statement

The population of Truso Gorge is very concerned by separatist leader Eduard Kokoity’s statement that the gorge will be taken under the control of the Tskhinvali administration. They are pleading with the Government of Georgia to pay more attention to this problem.

The Truso Gorge has seen significant migration and soon it could be empty through people seeking more fertile soil, despite its rich mineral water supplies and gorgeous nature. The people are afraid of attacks by Ossetian gunmen. They have told Interpressnews that they have never had a conflict with the local Ossetians, although fewer Ossetians have lived there since the Tskhinvali regime declared independence. The Ossetian population of Truso was not forced to leave, but many wished to join their relatives and when the border was closed they could no longer do so. Now the indigenous Ossetian population has moved to Vladikavkaz and only a few are left in Okrokana and Kobi.

Truso Gorge residents say that after Kokoity’s statement the number of tourists visiting the area has significantly decreased and only Georgians are visiting the region. (Interpressnews)

Romania to send 20 observers to Georgia in September

Romania will contribute 20 experts to the European Union observation mission to Georgia, Romanian Foreign Minister Lazar Comanescu has announced. The mission has already approved the monitoring team, which will arrive in Georgia by September 21 to replace colleagues working on the ground at the moment. News agencies report that the team will be staffed by two representatives from the Romanian Foreign Ministry, two from the Interior Ministry and one NGO member.

“The continued Romanian participation in EUMM Georgia is part of the foreign policy line that Romania is consistently promoting, namely that we should provide a substantial presence, quantity- and quality-wise, in those missions that contribute to stability and security in the wider Black Sea region. So far the reliability, diverse expertise and previous experience of Romanian representatives has won them the appreciation of colleagues from other EU member states in Georgia. Maintaining a substantial national presence in the missions operating under the European Security and Defence Policy strengthens Romania’s international profile and concurrently contributes to the EU reaching its intended goal of becoming a top-rank international player,” says the statement published on the Romanian Foreign Ministry website. (Rustavi 2)

Lawyer studies cases of Georgian sailors

Rustavi2 has contacted one of the seven Georgian sailors arrested in the Philippines two days ago. The detainee says they have been allowed to meet a lawyer, who is studying their cases.

Meanwhile, the Georgian Foreign Ministry has failed to contact the Embassy of the Philippines in the United States. It has been reported that the Embassy is closed on weekends. The Georgian sailors say they are being held in unbearable conditions, without food and water.

Seven Georgian sailors were arrested with a crew of 13 on the M/V Captain Ufuk when it arrived at a port in Western Bataan province’s Mariveles township from Turkey via Indonesia. The ship was en route to the port of Batangas City, just south of Manila. Police, coast guard and customs agents jointly inspected the vessel and discovered 50 Galil assault rifles and assorted military accessories hidden in five wooden crates.

Another 10 empty wooden crates were found aboard the ship, prompting a search that was still ongoing late on Thursday. It is said there were suspicions that the crewmen could have thrown some of their illegal cargo off the ship. (Rustavi 2)

Azerbaijan rules out Abkhazia and South Ossetia joining the CIS

“Abkhazia and South Ossetia will never become members of the CIS,” said Azeri political analyst Araz Alizade in response to the statement of senior Russian MP Sergei Lebedev about the integration of the two separatist regions into the Commonwealth of Independent States.

“Azerbaijan will never sit at the same table with separatists and if anyone tries to drag them into the CIS we’ll have nothing to do with this organisation,” Araz Alizade said.

He added that Azerbaijan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan and Russia itself would never accept them into the CIS. “I think Lebedev made this statement just to irk Georgia. I don’t think that this is the position of Moscow, this is his personal point of view,” the analyst said. (Rustavi 2)

Snake gets into hospital

A snake has managed to get into the Trauma Department on the 6th floor of the Dimitrov Factory Hospital. Interpressnews was informed that the snake was seen a few days ago. Patients who can’t move and protect themselves are anxious about it.

Medical personnel told Interpressnews that they have heard about the snake but haven’t seen it yet. The hospital administration doesn’t work at weekends so further details aren’t yet known. (Interpressnews)

Kazbegi tourism revenues significantly decrease

Tourism is Kazbegi has significantly decreased since the Russian-Georgian War. Locals state that their main source of income is tourism, but revenues have decreased 20-30 per cent in the region.

Family hotel prices in Kazbegi vary from GEL15 to GEL50. “The visitors are pretentious, they won’t eat cheese and onions and ask for Khinkali and Khachapuri,” stated one family hotel hostess Julieta Avsajalishvili.

The Government has allotted about GEL 300,000 for road rehabilitation for tourism development this year. (Interpressnews)