The messenger logo

The News in Brief

Wednesday, November 15
Lithuanian FM Reiterates Support for Georgia’s EU Aspirations

(BRUSSELS) – Speaking ahead of a European Foreign Affairs Council meeting in Brussels on Monday, Lithuanian Foreign Minister Linas Linkevicius reiterated his country’s support for Georgia’s further integration into the European Union.

The Lithuanian Foreign Minister said he believed “(The EU) should continue with the same logic (that) we agreed on – that every country should be treated individually,” and “we should be ready to give more to those who are ready to accept more, and move ahead in all aspects.”

Lithuania has long been one of Georgia’s staunchest allies and its most vociferous supporter in the 28-member EU.

In his statements, which came 10 days before the start of the European Union’s annual Eastern Partnership Summit, Linkevicius noted that “Georgia had made significant advances in many sphere, despite nearly a quarter of its territory being occupied by Russia.

Linkevicius said he would like to see in the upcoming summit a declaration that would concretely state Brussels’ support for aspiring countries, like Georgia, while also put them on solid footing as to where they stand in the integration process.

The Eastern Partnership is an initiative started by the EU in 2009 to govern its relationship and integration policies with six post-Soviet republics in Eastern Europe and the South Caucasus.

The program has been plagued, however, with disagreements amongst several EU members with close ties to Moscow. They fear additional moves by Brussels to engage nations that were once or still remain under the Kremlin’s influence will provoke Russia into taking a harder stance against EU-member states.

Linkevicius acknowledged that “difficulties exist” amongst EU members when attempting to reach a consensus over the Eastern Partnership initiative. He stressed importance of continuing to move forward to “be ready for the time when political consensus is reached.” (

Scottish Town Removes Abkhaz War Memorial After Georgia Files Protest

(TBILISI) -- Authorities in the Scottish town of Kilmarnock have dismantled a memorial stone dedicated to the victims of the 1992-93 Georgian-Abkhaz War after diplomatic officials from Tbilisi voiced their displeasure with British authorities.

Tamar Beruchashvili, Georgia’s ambassador to the UK, became aware of the monument through the internet and persuaded Scottish authorities to “handle” the issue during her visit to Scotland in October, news agency IPN reported.

According to reports, Georgian authorities were incensed that the memorial was decorated with the green, white and red rebel flag of the unrecognized breakaway republic.

“They (local authorities) fully understood the information provided and agreed with the British government’s official stance regarding Georgia’s territorial integrity. The local council decided to dismantle this monument a few days ago,” Beruchashvili said.

Scant details exist as to when and by whom the memorial was erected. Local residents in Kilmarnock offered differing accounts as to how long the memorial had been standing, with some saying it was installed some time between 1993 and 1996.

Abkhazia, a subtropical Black Sea region on Georgia’s northern coast, attempted to break with Tbilisi in the wake of the collapse of the Soviet Union. After a series of disastrous initiatives by the fledgling government of poet-turned-ultra-nationalist president, Zviad Gamsakhurdia, Georgia launched a devastating war against the rebel republic’s Russian-backed separatists in 1992.

With Moscow’s assistance, the Abkhaz resoundingly defeated the poorly equipped Georgian military and captured the regional capital Sukhumi in September 1993. Up to 60,000 people were killed or wounded in the fighting and more than a quarter of a million Georgians were ethnically cleansed by the victorious pro-Russian rebel forces.

The region remains one of the former Soviet Union’s half dozen “frozen conflicts”, with only Russia, Venezuela, Nicaragua and Nauru recognizing Abkhazia as an independent republic.

Kilmarnock, a small town located north of Glasgow, has been twinned with Sukhumi for several years. A Sukhumi Street exists in Kilmarnock and a Scotland Street in in the Abkhaz capital.

In line with Moscow’s stance on separatism in the West, Abkhazia is a staunch supporter of Scotland breaking away from the rest of the UK and fiercely backs the leftist-nationalist secessionists in Spain’s Basque and Catalonia regions.

The Abkhaz separatist government publicly stated their support for Scottish independence during a referendum held in September 2014 in the hope that a “yes” vote for the dissolution of Scotland’s union with the rest of Britain might legitimize Sukhumi’s own contested independence referendum from 1999. (DF watch)