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The News in Brief

Friday, September 18
Citizens of Georgia are prevented from crossing Russian-Azeri border to visit Russian Federation

The Russian Foreign Ministry reports on its website that citizens of Georgia have been banned from crossing the Russian-Azerbaijani border to visit the Russian Federation. It says that as Georgia has left the CIS its citizens are excluded from the list of foreigners who can enter or leave Russia via the Russian-Azerbaijani border. The Section of Russian Interests at the Swiss Embassy in Tbilisi will inform citizens who get visas to Russia of this.

“We want to stress that the Russian side has not imposed special limitations. The issue is only about the legal outcome of Georgia leaving the CIS. We are sincerely sorry for the obstacles citizens of this country may encounter,” the Ministry says. The statement also explains that ‘citizens’ of Abkhazia and so-called South Ossetia can visit Russia via this border.

Georgia left the CIS on 18 August, 2009. (Interpressnews)

International negotiations on the Caucasus underway in Geneva

The seventh round of international negotiations on the Caucasus has been underway in Geneva since Wednesday morning. Representatives of the Interior and Foreign Ministries, former head of the Provisional Administration of the South Ossetian Autonomous Republic Dimitry Sanakoev and Chair of the Abkhazian Autonomous Republic Giorgi Baramia are representing Georgia at the talks.

At the closed meeting Giorgi Baramia will outline the problems which ethnic Georgians face in the Gali region, including the difficulties in Georgian schools. Russian occupiers and Abkhaz separatists have prohibited studies in the Georgian language in the Georgian-populated area of breakaway Abkhazia. The Georgian side will also demand the fulfillment of the UN resolutions and the secure repatriation of IDPs to the breakaway regions.

The former commander of the Russian peacekeeping forces, Marat Kulakhmetov, appeared at the talks for the first time yesterday. This was a surprise for Georgian journalists. The retired General is expected to give the ‘Russian Version’ of the August 2008 Georgia-Russia war if the European Co-Chairmen of the negotiations consider it necessary to question him. (Rustavi 2)

Vice Speaker receives letter from US Congressmen

Georgi Tsereteli, Vice Speaker of the Parliament of Georgia, has received news that a special statement has been disseminated by US Congressmen Allyson Schwartz and Bill Shuster in which they express their opposition to Venezuela’s decision to recognise Abkhazia and South Ossetia as ‘independent countries’. They have appealed to Bernardo Alvarez Herrera, Ambassador of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, via an official letter which says that this regrettable decision could have a negative impact on the future relationship between the US and Venezuela and that it further isolates Venezuela from the rest of the international community.

“Nearly all of the world’s nations acknowledge the territories of Abkhazia and South Ossetia to be part of the sovereign country of Georgia, and have recognised this fact through numerous United Nations Security Council resolutions. Even in the aftermath of the August 2008 armed conflict with Russia, nearly all nations reject the legitimacy of these two republics, which lie within the internationally accepted borders of Georgia. There is no legal international framework or precedent under which these territories could be understood as independent nations. By making this claim, Venezuela has become one of only three countries in the world to accept what is otherwise a universally rejected violation of national sovereignty,” the letter says.

At the end of the letter Allyson Schwartz and Bill Shuster call on Venezuela to rescind this decision immediately. They underline once more that the decision may have a negative impact on U.S.-Venezuela relations and mention that Venezuela must uphold the fundamental principles of international law and join the rest of the international community in recognising Abkhazia and South Ossetia as falling within the territorial boundaries of Georgia. (Rustavi 2)

bmi launches e-ticketing for Georgia travel professionals

bmi, the number one airline operating out of Heathrow’s Terminal 1, prides itself on being an airline with its finger on the pulse of modern technology and is quick to invest in high-tech solutions that offer real benefits to the travel community.

As such, bmi is proud to be the first airline to launch a direct e-ticketing (ETD) system for travel agents in Georgia. Previously only available directly from the airline, e-tickets are a notable improvement for travel agents and passengers. Offering increased flexibility and convenience, e-tickets are fast becoming the industry standard for national and international travel.

The first trade e-ticket was sold in Georgia in early September 2009 by CTS, a Carlson Wagonlit Travel representative and one of the first Georgian agencies to trial the new system. CTS Financial Director Guram Tsertsvadze recently spoke about the introduction of ETD: “The e-ticketing system is very important for the Georgian market … electronic tickets are very convenient for travellers [and offer] a technological [and practical] advantage for travel agencies, as in future they will lead to reduced costs.” (The Messenger)