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The News in Brief

Monday, September 25
Russia to Establish Customs Post in Sokhumi

Russian Federal Customs Service (FTS) is to open a new special customs post in Abkhazia, according to the September 12 order signed by Vladimir Bulavin, head of the FTS.

The new post, to be located in Sokhumi, will belong to the Federal Customs Service, and its staffing table (five persons) has already been defined and included in Bulavin’s order. Entire Abkhazia is to be included in its jurisdiction area.

The order, which is to come into force on November 1, specifies that the decision to open the special customs post in Abkhazia is based on Moscow’s October 2010 “agreement on cooperation and mutual help in customs affairs” with the Russian-backed Sokhumi authorities.

The text of the agreement allows Russia to establish a “specialized customs agency” in Abkhazia, for the purpose of “customs registration and customs control of the goods and (or) means of transportation,” transferred from or through Abkhazia to Russia. It also allows such “specialized customs agency” to “implement measures” in Abkhazia, directed at “discovering and suppressing violations of law related to the transportation of such goods.”

According to the agreement, the customs post will conduct customs registration and control in accordance to the customs law of the Russian Federation.

Besides, the “specialized customs agency” will enjoy the same status as the one envisioned for diplomatic missions by the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations of 1961. The status and immunity for the post’s employees and their family members is also to be covered by the Vienna Convention.

Creation of the Moscow-controlled customs post with jurisdiction over Abkhazia follows the establishment of the “Joint Information-Coordination Center of Internal Affairs Agencies”- another agency that envisions permanent stationing of the Russian security personnel in Abkhazia.

Azerbaijani agents shadowing opposition journalists in Tbilisi

The exiled wife of jailed Azerbaijani journalist Afgan Mukhtarli says she fears there may be a new wave of harassment against herself and other critics of the regime of Ilham Aliyev.

Mukhtarli was abducted in downtown Tbilisi on May 31 and taken across the border to Baku to face a political trial.

Now his wife, also a journalist critical of Azerbaijan’s authoritarian president Ilham Aliyev, points to the risk that yet more countermeasures may be taken by the regime.

At a press conference in Tbilisi on Friday, Layla Mustafayeva presented audio recordings and photos showing how she has constantly been under illegal surveillance by unknown men.

Mustafayeva said Dashgin Aghalarli, another Azerbaijani opposition activist, is also under surveillance, and complained of inactivity by Georgian law enforcement in face of this activity.

Aghalarli and Mustafayeva’s lawyer were also present at the press conference.

Similar surveillance was conducted against Afgan Mukhtarli prior to his abduction, she added.

“This is a restriction of freedom of movement. If I walk outside, I’m always looking around [to see] whether somebody is following me. It’s still going on. Several days ago, I noticed these people in the vicinity of Freedom Square. Unfortunately, the identity of these persons has not yet been established. Neither the police nor the Prosecutor’s Office have taken any action,” Layla Mustafayeva said, adding that she doubts that Socar security service members are involved in these activities. Socar is an Azerbaijani oil company operating in Georgia.
(DF watch)

Mikheil Janelidze meets President of UN General Assembly

Vice Premier and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Georgia Mikheil Janelidze held a meeting with the President of the UN General Assembly Miroslav Lajcacák within the 72nd session of the UN General Assembly.

According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mikheil Janelidze congratulated Miroslav Laicak on the presidency of the General Assembly and wished him success.

The Vice-Premier reaffirmed Georgia's support and active involvement in the implementation of the UN's Sustainable Development Goals, particularly in the implementation of the 16th Goal, where Georgia can share important experience.

Mikheil Janelidze announced full support to the President of the UN in the process of reforming the UN, which will help to overcome the challenges facing the international community.

Discussions focused on the security environment in the region, including the conflicts of Georgia. Mikheil Janelidze thanked the President of the General Assembly for the support of Georgia in the UN format. Special attention was paid to the occupied regions, the problems of population living along the occupation line and the violations of human rights.

The President of the General Assembly positively evaluated the Georgian government's peace policy and the steps taken for confidence building between the populations split by the war.