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Report on Eastern Europe, Russia, Caucasus and Central Asia - issue # 2/2009

"Such decisions will be made only when absolutely necessary," Medvedev said.

di Giovanni Cadioli - mercoledì 18 novembre 2009 - 3663 letture

Medvedev okays widened possible use of military force abroad


MOSCOW, November 9 (RIA Novosti) - The Russian president on Monday signed into law a bill expanding the use of the Russian Armed Forces abroad in certain situations. The bill was passed by both houses of the Russian parliament in October. Dmitry Medvedev said on Thursday Russia would use its Armed Forces outside the country only in extreme circumstances to protect Russian nationals. "Such decisions will be made only when absolutely necessary," Medvedev said. "Our citizens must be protected in any part of the world, and they must feel protected by the state." He stressed that such decisions "must be set in law." Medvedev submitted the amendments to parliament in August, just after the first anniversary of Russia’s five-day war with Georgia. The amendments stipulate that Russian troops can be used abroad to repel an attack on Russian troops deployed outside the country, repel or prevent an armed attack on another state asking Russia for military assistance, defend Russian nationals abroad from an armed attack, fight sea piracy and ensure the safety of commercial shipping. Russia’s current 2006 legislation only allows the president to send troops to fight terrorism on foreign soil. Experts have said the law lacks clearly defined terms of "wartime" and a "combat situation," which complicates the deployment of troops outside the country.

Mikhail Kalashnikov, father of the AK-47, turns 90


MOSCOW, November 10 (RIA Novosti) - Mikhail Kalashnikov, the Russian inventor of the AK-47 assault rifle, turned 90 on Tuesday.

Russian shipyard set to float out frigate for India in November


KALININGRAD, November 10 (RIA Novosti) - The Yantar shipyard in Russia’s Baltic exclave of Kaliningrad is planning to float out the first of the three frigates being built for the Indian Navy at the end of November, a company spokesman said Tuesday. Russia is building three Project 11356 modified Krivak III class (also known as Talwar class) guided missile frigates for the Indian Navy under a $1.6 billion contract signed in July, 2006. "The first frigate in the series is expected to float out at the end of November," Sergei Mikhailov said. "Floating out does not mean that the sea trials will start right away. We still have to carry out post-construction work. The trials will start in 2010," he added.

Engine failure could be responsible for Tu-142 crash


MOSCOW, November 11 (RIA Novosti) - Engine failure could have caused Friday’s crash of a Russian military Tu-142 plane in the Tatar Strait, the chief of the Russian General Staff said on Wednesday. "The commission will complete the probe and find out," Gen. Nikolai Makarov said. The exact cause of the crash could be established only after black boxes from the plane are found.

Iran urges Russia to fulfill S-300 missile supply contract


TEHRAN, November 11 (RIA Novosti) - Russia has to fulfill its contract on the supply of S-300 defensive surface-to-air missile systems to Iran, Iranian Defense Minister Ahmad Vahidi said on Wednesday. "We have a contract with Russia to buy S-300 missiles. I don’t think it is right for Russia to be seen in the world as a country which does not fulfill its contractual obligations," Vahidi was quoted by Iranian Labor News Agency (ILNA) as saying. Russia signed a contract with Iran on the supply of S-300 missiles to the Islamic Republic in December 2005. However, there have been no official reports about the start of the contract’s implementation since then. In December 2008, the Iranian media reported that Russia had started delivering elements of the advanced version of the S-300 missile. However, Russia’s Federal Service for Military and Technical Cooperation has denied such reports.

Russian military to get 30 new ICBMs, 3 nuclear subs in 2010


MOSCOW, November 12 (RIA Novosti) - Russia’s Armed Forces are to receive 30 new ground and sea-launched ballistic missiles, three nuclear submarines, and an assortment of other weapons, the Russian president said on Thursday. Dmitry Medvedev said the list would also include "five Iskander [tactical] missile complexes, about 300 modern armored vehicles, 30 helicopters, 28 warplanes, one corvette-class warship, and 11 spacecraft."

Russia, U.S. arms talks run into problems


MOSCOW, November 12 (RIA Novosti) - Ongoing arms cuts talks between Russia and the U.S. have seen differences on inspection and verification procedures, the chief of the General Staff said on Thursday. Moscow and Washington are negotiating a replacement for the current Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START I), the basis for Russian-U.S. strategic nuclear disarmament, which expires on December 5. The current round of talks near Geneva began on Monday. "There are a number of problems pertaining to inspections, verification, and reporting figures," Army Gen. Nikolai Makarov said. Makarov also said Washington was seeking to keep a point from the original treaty on the U.S. monitoring of Russia’s mobile ground-based missiles. He said monitoring had been provided by a U.S. team based in the Russian city of Votkinsk, home to a missile manufacturing plant. "We do not have such missions in the United States, so it is quite natural that this [Votkinsk] mission will be removed, and it will leave its post on December 5," he said. "We want the treaty to ensure both the security of the Russian Federation and of the United States on equal levels."

Russia delays launch of Iranian nuclear power plant


MOSCOW, November 16 (RIA Novosti) - Iran’s first nuclear power plant, developed by Russia in Bushehr, will not be launched this year as planned, Russian Energy Minister Sergei Shmatko said on Monday. "We expect major results by the end of the year, but the launch will not take place," Shmatko said citing technical reasons. Shmatko said earlier the $1 billion plant in southern Iran would be launched in 2009. Russia has frequently delayed the launch of the plant in the Islamic Republic, citing financial or technical problems. Iran is in the center of an international dispute over its nuclear ambitions and subject to UN sanctions. However, Shmatko said that "Russia is committed to its obligations to Iran." Russia completed nuclear fuel deliveries for Bushehr in January 2009, a process usually carried out six months before the launch of an atomic power plant.

Russian arms program unaffected by crisis - Medvedev


SINGAPORE, November 16 (RIA Novosti) - The ongoing financial crisis will have virtually no impact on arms procurements for the Russian military, the Russian president said on Monday. "The financial crisis will have an absolutely minimal effect on the military component, on arms procurements," Dmitry Medvedev said during a tour of the Russian missile cruiser Varyag anchored in Singapore, where he had arrived on Saturday to attend an APEC summit, after which he began his official visit to the Asian nation. He said that between 30% and 90% of the military would receive new equipment in 2011-20. The president referred to his state-of-the-nation address last Thursday, where he had mentioned the basic weaponry that would be procured. These include 30 new ground and sea-launched ballistic missiles, three nuclear submarines, and an assortment of other weapons. Medvedev said the list would also include "five Iskander [tactical] missile complexes, about 300 modern armored vehicles, 30 helicopters, 28 warplanes, one corvette-class warship, and 11 spacecraft." He stressed provision of advanced weapon systems to the military was a priority and instructed the government to put in place an effective contract system to strike the right balance between arms manufactured for export and for domestic needs.

Medvedev says Russia to step up navy presence in world’s oceans


SINGAPORE, November 16 (RIA Novosti) - Russia plans to increase its naval presence in the world’s oceans, President Dmitry Medvedev said on board a Russian warship during an official visit to Singapore on Monday. Russia announced in 2007 that its Navy had resumed and would build up a constant presence throughout the world’s oceans. Once one the world’s most powerful forces, the Russian Navy now has few ships regularly deployed on the open seas. Asked by the crew of the Varyag cruiser if Russia’s presence would be stepped up further, Medvedev said: "Yes, this is planned." Moscow has recently contributed warships to international efforts to combat Somali pirates. A flotilla of Russian warships also participated in exercises with India and Venezuela last year. Last year’s tour of the Mediterranean, Caribbean, South Atlantic and the Indian Oceans by a flotilla led by the heavy missile cruiser Pyotr Veliky (Peter the Great) was lauded by many in Russia as the country’s naval reappearance on a global scale and criticized in the West as echoing the Cold War-era.

Road police patrol attacked in Karachayevo-Cherkessia

11.11.2009, 12.12

CHERKESSK, November 11 (Itar-Tass) - A road police patrol car was shelled in Karachayevo-Cherkessia. The incident occurred in the city of Karachayevsk at around 10 pm Tuesday. Unknown gunmen shelled a road police patrol from pneumatic guns. Two policemen were wounded in the incident, local law enforcement bodies told Itar-Tass.

Ten militants killed in police operation in Chechnya

13.11.2009, 18.06

GROZNY, November 13 (Itar-Tass) — Ten militants, among them an illegal armed group leader from the Doku Umarov circle, were killed in a police operation in Chechnya on Friday, a source at the Chechen Interior Ministry told.

3 militants killed in special operation in Ingushetia

13.11.2009, 12.09

NAZRAN, November 13 (Itar-Tass) — The law enforcement bodies of Ingushetia conducted a successful operation at about 09.00 Moscow time on Friday. “Three members of illegal armed formations were destroyed at the furcation of the roads Ekazhevo-Ali-Yurt-Magas,” ITAR-TASS learnt at the law enforcement bodies of the republic. “The blocked militants were in a car. When they were offered to surrender they open fire and were killed in return fire.”

Medvedev reiterates Russian stance on interpretation of WWII


SINGAPORE, November 16 (RIA Novosti) - Russian President Dmitry Medvedev spoke out strongly and repeatedly on Monday against attempts to rewrite the results of World War II and the Soviet Union’s contribution to the victory over Nazi Germany. In late September, Medvedev voiced a similar warning to the United Nations, urging the international organization to act firmly against the rise of neo-Nazism. "If falsifiers who are attempting to rewrite history are given real power, we will find ourselves facing demands for compensation. This is simply dangerous to the state," Medvedev told sailors aboard the Varyag missile cruiser, making a port call in Singapore, which hosted the APEC summit at the weekend.

Medvedev: Russia needs comprehensive modernization

Dmitry Medvedev gave an outline of his new political strategy in an article entitled “Russia Onward!” published on the presidential Website two months ago. In his annual federal message to parliament on Thursday he presented a detailed plan of implementing the strategy. The president is confident that Russia should and could acquire the status of a global power on a new footing. He said the country can no longer sit on past achievements in oil and gas industry, the nuclear sector and industrial infrastructure. Dmitry Medvedev acknowledged that the Soviet-era potential which had kept the country afloat until now has become hopelessly outdated, and it’s time for today’s generation to propel Russia to a higher stage of development: "In the 21st century, our country again needs comprehensive modernization. And this is going to be our first modernization experience based on the values and institutes of democracy. Instead of the primitive society in which leaders decide for the people, the Russian society will become a society of clever, free and responsible people. Instead of the hectic policies stemming from nostalgia and prejudice Russia will pursue a well-balanced foreign and domestic policy which will serve purely pragmatic purposes. Instead of the Russia of the past, we’ll build a modern young Russia with a view into the future which will occupy a niche of its own in the international division of labor". 12.11.2009

President Medvedev prioritizes innovative development

Economic modernization is a life and death issue for Russia, President Dmitry Medvedev said on Thursday warning against any further delays here. In his State of the Union address to both houses of parliament in Moscow Medvedev said that changes were needed to make the economy working to better meet the people’s real, everyday needs, such as security, health care, access to energy and information. Medvedev said Russia had to act promptly while lessons had to be learned from the global economic crisis. While global prices grew, there were illusions that much-needed structural reforms could wait. "We must start modernizing and technologically upgrading the entire production sphere. This is an issue of our country’s survival in today’s world," Medvedev said adding that the habit of living at the expense of raw materials exports continued to inhibit the country’s innovation development. “We have failed so far to dismiss the economy’s primitive structure, the humiliating raw materials dependence and reorient production to peoples’ real needs," Medvedev said. “Now Russia has made a decision to raise its development to a new technological level and will also develop new medicines and medical equipment,” he noted.


Russia to honor all obligations on Customs Union formation

10.11.2009 18:48

MOSCOW, 10 November (BelTA) – The Russian Federation is ready to meet all its commitments related to the formation of the Customs Union of Belarus, Russia and Kazakhstan, Prime Minister of Russia Vladimir Putin said at a session of the State Border Commission on 10 November, BelTA learnt from the press service of the Russian Cabinet.

Vladimir Putin commissioned the relevant authorities with a task to focus on the additional development of the Union State common border together with their partners from the Customs Union. According to the Russian Premier, the Customs Union formation faces a lot of threats; it is a very complicated process from the administrative, financial and law enforcement points of view. But it is a real integration on the territory of the former Soviet Union, Vladimir Putin added.

World Bank predicting Russia’s economic growth

The World Bank forecasts Russia’s economic recovery next year and a 3.2% growth instead of earlier predicted 2.5%. World Bank experts believe that Russia reached the bottom of its economic crisis in 2009 and the situation is still complicated. The report on the Russian economy says that “2009 was a difficult economic year for Russia. The country faced a production decline and a sharp increase of poverty and unemployment.” Still, the last months of 2009 are expected to result in growth which is to continue in 2010. However, the process of recovery will be slowed by decreased world demand, consumption and the loan crisis. The government should suspend the programs supporting the economy because of tough budget restrictions. Still, these programs should be preserved in social spheres, such as the labor force market and others. Programs supporting domestic demand will also be implemented. The government has no other choice. The new forecast of the World Bank is more optimistic than the report made this June. According to the new report, the world economic recession will slow down in 2009, oil prices will increase to 75.3 dollars per barrel instead of this year’s 61.4 dollars. As for the main economic ratio – the inflation rate, the forecasts are different but mostly optimistic. In 2009 we foresee an increase of the inflation rate by 9-10%,-says the economist Sergey Ulatov,-the previous forecast was 11-13%. As for 2010, we do not give precise forecasts but we suppose that the inflation rate will be at the same level.


Ukrainian deputy PM warns of possible gas payment problem in Jan.


KIEV, November 10 (RIA Novosti) - Ukraine may face difficulties in paying for Russian natural gas in January if a "pause" in contacts with the IMF persists, the country’s deputy prime minister said on Tuesday. Ukraine, caught in a deep economic crisis, has been surviving on a $16.4 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund, also using the money to pay for gas to Russia. The fund was due to release the fourth, $3.8 billion, tranche by the end of the year, but has so far delayed the release. Media reports said the IMF would resume cooperation with the ex-Soviet state after presidential elections due in January. Hryhoriy Nemyrya said, as quoted by Ukrainian media, that there would be no payment problems in November and December, "but if the [IMF] program is delayed until January, it will be very difficult to pay."

Russia threatens to cut supplies if Ukraine taps gas - Putin


MOSCOW, November 11 (RIA Novosti) - Moscow will cut supplies if Kiev taps natural gas, the Russian prime minister said on Wednesday, pledging that gas deliveries will be uninterrupted if transiting countries honor their commitments. "If they do not pay for gas consumed in Ukraine, they will not get it. If they don’t get it, then gas is likely to be tapped from the pipeline. As soon as tapping is reported, we will cut supplies," Vladimir Putin said after talks in Moscow with Austrian Chancellor Werner Faymann. Speaking about Ukraine’s ability to pay for Russian gas, Putin reiterated, referring to the International Monetary Fund, that Kiev did have financial capacities. "The problem is...there is a presidential campaign, and as you know the prime minister and the president are in different election camps. They have their own political interests," Putin said.

Russia, Ukraine prime ministers to discuss gas issues Nov. 19


KIEV, November 14 (RIA Novosti) - Gas deliveries to Ukraine for 2010 will be discussed during a Russian-Ukrainian intergovernmental meeting on economic cooperation November 19, the country’s prime minister said on Saturday. The meeting, which will include Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko and Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, will be held in Yalta and will focus on price formation for Ukraine. "We will continue to hold constructive talks with Russia...on how to formulate gas prices for Ukraine," Tymoshenko said during a meeting in Severodonetsk in southeastern Ukraine.

Belarus asks Gazprom to review gas prices for 2010

01:46 13/11/2009

MINSK, November 13 (RIA Novosti) - Belarus has handed over to Russian energy giant Gazprom a package of proposals concerning reduction of gas prices for 2010, the Belarusian prime minister said. Sergei Sidorsky said Belarus has a right to demand equal gas prices for Russian and Belarusian consumers. "We should point out that when the joint enterprise was created and 50% of Beltransgaz’s shares were sold to Gazprom, we agreed on equal profitability," he said, adding "Belarus has a legal right to negotiate on the issue, taking into consideration the slump in [global] gas prices." He said Belarus has so far fulfilled its gas payment obligations towards Russia. Earlier, the Belarusian authorities asked Gazprom to maintain gas prices for 2010 at the current level. However, Gazprom head Alexei Miller said the prices would be raised in accordance with a contract, signed by Gazprom and the Belarusian Beltransgaz company in 2006. A dispute between the two countries over payments for Russian gas took place in June, when Gazprom demanded Belarus pay $244 million in gas debts and warned that supplies could be cut if the sum was not paid. Belarus said it had been paying for Russian natural gas supplies in full and dismissed reports of Gazprom’s demand for payment. The debt arose due to differences between contract and average prices. In the first quarter Belarus paid $250 per 1,000 cubic meters, but by the end of the year this figure should have dropped to under $100. In line with verbal agreements the price should average out at $150 per 1,000 cubic meters. Belarusian First Deputy Prime Minister Vladimir Semashko then said that the government expected Russian gas prices to reach $166 per 1,000 cubic meters on January 1, 2010 if oil prices remain around the $70 per barrel mark this year. The rate is still well below the average rate Russia charges European Union countries for its gas. In 2007, Gazprom bought half of Beltransgaz’s shares for $2.5 billion.

Russia, Slovenia close to South Stream deal

Russia and Slovenia have signed an agreement on cooperation in carrying out a project to build the “South Stream” gas pipeline. The agreement was signed in Moscow by Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and his Slovenian counterpart Borut Pahor. “South Stream”, a joint project of the Russian “Gazprom” and Italian ENI, provides for building a gas pipeline across the Black Sea bottom from Novorossiisk to Varna and is designed to diversify Russian gas supplies into Europe. The project is carried out with the participation of Bulgaria, Serbia, Hungary and Greece, and Vladimir Putin said Slovenia’s participation would give it a green light to take part in other major projects in Europe. Borut Pahor described the agreement with Russia as a significant proof of close ties between Slovenia and Russia.


Russia, Slovakia has good projects in energy sphere – Putin

16.11.2009, 13.53

MOSCOW, November 16 (Itar-Tass) — Russia and Slovakia have good projects in the energy sphere, including nuclear power, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said at a meeting with his Slovak counterpart, Robert Fico. “We have very good projects in the energy sphere, including nuclear power, as well as those in transport and military-technological cooperation,” he said. For his part the Slovak prime minister said that “relations between the two countries are not overburdened with unresolved political problems.” “We have received good news President Dmitry Medvedev will visit us in the spring,” he said. “In April,” Putin added.

Russian-Singaporean cooperation has good prospects

Russia is prepared to act as an exclusive liquefied natural gas supplier to Singapore following the expiry of the currently effective contracts of local consumers with other partners. This came in a statement by President Dmitry Medvedev following his meeting with the two countries’ businessmen as part of his official visit to Singapore.

We have impressive amounts of liquefied natural gas, so Russia could supply it to Singapore, and to Asia and the Pacific, in general, he added. What’s more, Russia is not just prepared to enter Singapore’s gas market, but to dominate it, provided GAZPROM is granted exclusive rights.


Ukraine flu pandemic hits 1 mln people, leaves 174 dead


KIEV, November 10 (RIA Novosti) - A pandemic of flu and respiratory illness has killed 174 people in Ukraine, and reported cases have exceeded 1 million, the health ministry said. The pandemic was declared in Ukraine in late October at the same time the first confirmed swine flu cases were reported. Sixty-five people have since been confirmed as having the A/H1N1 virus, 14 of them have died of the viral infection.

Flu death toll in Ukraine rises to 239 - Health Ministry


KIEV, November 12 (RIA Novosti) - The number of deaths in Ukraine from flu viruses has risen to 239, with 26 passing away over the past 24 hours, the Health Ministry said Thursday. The ministry said earlier that 15 regions in the ex-Soviet republic had already crossed the flu epidemic threshold, while 11 provinces were close to it. The Ukrainian government imposed quarantine in nine western provinces in late October in an attempt to curb the spread of flu.

Russian Black Sea Fleet destabilizing relations -Yushchenko


KIEV, November 11 (RIA Novosti) - Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko believes Russia’s Black Sea Fleet stationed on the Crimean Peninsula is leading to instability between the two countries’ relations. "The existence of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet [in Crimea] has seriously destabilized Ukrainian-Russian relations," Yushchenko was quoted by the UNIAN news agency as saying during a question and answer session on Wednesday. Yushchenko said the country’s Constitution forbids the deployment of military bases in Ukraine.

Remembrance of Holodomor in Ukraine will help prevent such tragedy in future, says Obama

U.S. President Barack Obama has said that the remembrance of Holodomor will help prevent such tragedy in the future. On the Ukrainian Holodomor Remembrance Day, Ukrainian-Americans and all Americans will join together to commemorate these tragic events and to honor the many victims, Obama said in a statement published on the Web site of the White House. "Seventy six years ago, millions of innocent Ukrainians – men, women, and children – starved to death as a result of the deliberate policies of the regime of Joseph Stalin," the statement reads.


NATO-Ukraine consultations to take place in Brussels


KIEV, November 16 (RIA Novosti) - NATO-Ukraine consultations at the level of Defense Ministers will take place at NATO headquarters in Brussels on Monday, the Ukrainian defense ministry said. The consultations are expected to focus on the reformation of the Ukrainian Defense Forces and Ukraine’s efforts to strengthen security in the country, the ministry said. Ahead of the start of the consultations, acting Defense Minister Valery Ivashchenko, who leads the Ukrainian delegation, will hold a meeting with NATO Deputy Secretary General Jirzhi Shedevi. The pro-Western leadership of Ukraine has been seeking to join the Western military alliance, but at the NATO summit in April 2008, members refused to admit the post-Soviet country into the Membership Action Plan (MAP), a key step for membership.

Voronin states communists shall boycott presidential election

November 13, 2009

The former President of the Republic of Moldova [2001-2009], Chairman of the now opposition Moldovan Communist Party (MCP) Vladimir Voronin stated at a news conference today, "The opposition shall keep on boycotting the presidential election". "This is a boycott of the anti-social, anti-democratic and anti-European policy waged by the ruling Alliance for European Integration. There is nothing more in the boycott, nothing personal", Voronin stressed. Voronin went on explaining that the AEI "is but a patchwork alliance... The only force capable of protecting the interests of the grassroots is the Communist Party. And we shall be standing on this position in the future. We can’t vote for an AEI candidate. Nothing is able to influence this stance of ours!" Answering journalists’ questions about Russia’s position on the election question, Vladimir Voronin stated, "Moscow does not tell us whom we should vote for. Moscow says that we must handle our domestic problems ourselves". The MCP leader stated the election of a new president "is possible only in case some AEI members come to realize the entire complexity of the situation and revise their current position". He thus let understand he meant a left-centrist coalition of the Communist Party and the Democratic Party. "Now the Democratic Party must bear responsibility for all the doings of the new coalition [AEI]. The Democratic Party is guilty of betraying its electorate and of forming an alliance with Right parties. We the Communists have more in common with the DP than the Liberal Party has with the Liberal Democratic Party. After the [July 29 parliamentary] elections, the God itself arranged our having 48 mandates and the Democrats - 13 mandates, so together we would have 61 - precisely enough for electing president", said Voronin, adding that in such case the Communists could vote for Marian Lupu.

Lupu makes replies to Voronin

Marian Lupu reiterated that the PDM will not beg votes from the Communists and will not agree to the formation of a center-left coalition.

Info-Prim Neo, 13 November 2009, 17:25

The PDM is against a center-left coalition with the PCRM because this means giving absolute power to one person, to Vladimir Voronin, Marian Lupu said.

Moldova’s Communists boycott presidential polls


CHISINAU, November 10 (RIA Novosti) - Moldova’s Communists boycotted presidential polls on Tuesday as parliament attempted for the third time this year to elect a head of the ex-Soviet state. The Communists, who hold 48 seats in Moldova’s 101-member parliament, said they declined "to take part in the political farce" and "vote for a traitor." 61 votes are needed to elect a president. Democratic Party leader Marian Lupu was the sole candidate. A former Communist, Lupu left the party after it failed to nominate him for president in the summer. Under Moldovan law, another attempt will be held in 30 days. If this brings no result, acting president and parliamentary speaker Mihai Ghimpu will be forced to dissolve the legislature and set early parliamentary polls. However, a new parliamentary election cannot be held before next fall. Parliament was last dissolved on June 16, 2009. Snap elections on July 29 gave the Communist Party 12 votes fewer than the 60 they won in the April 5 elections.

Belarus MPs to visit Abkhazia, S.Ossetia on recognition request


MINSK, November 10 (RIA Novosti) - A delegation of Belarusian MPs will visit the two former Georgian republics of Abkhazia and South Ossetia on November 17-19 to study their request on recognizing their independence, a senior lawmaker said on Tuesday. "Belarusian deputies and senators intend to study the situation on the spot to make a decision on whether to recognize the independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia or not," said Sergei Maskevich, chairman of the lower house’s commission for international relations with former Soviet republics.

Russia, S.Ossetia to report in Geneva on possible Georgian attack


MOSCOW, November 11 (RIA Novosti) - Russia and the South Ossetia are set to raise the issue of a possible Georgian attack on its former territories during the Geneva talks on situation in the Caucasus to begin on Wednesday. The Geneva talks are backed by the UN, the EU and the OSCE and involve Georgia, Russia, South Ossetia and Abkhazia. The previous, seventh round of talks took place in September. Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin said Russia had "alarming facts" that show that Tbilisi was still counting on using force to regain control over its former republics of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. He also said that Russia would again raise the question of concluding treaties on the non-use of force between Georgia and its former republics. South Ossetia said it would also present "conclusive evidence" that a new Georgian aggression against the former republic is being prepared. The Georgian delegation plans to raise the issue of four Georgian teenagers, detained in South Ossetia reportedly while in possession of grenades and explosive substances. In a similar move, South Ossetia will urge the release of three of its nationals apparently abducted from its territory by Georgian special services on October 13, 2008.

Russia contests stability statements in Georgian conflict zone

22:58 11/11/2009

MOSCOW, November 11 (RIA Novosti) - Russia has refuted statements by partners in Geneva in regard to the stabilization of the situation in the Georgian-South Ossetian conflict zones, a Russian deputy minister said on Wednesday. Grigory Karasin said the co-chairmen at the discussions in Geneva are convinced that the situation in the border zones between Georgia and the former Georgian republics of South Ossetia and Abkhazia have been stabilized. The Russian and South Ossetian delegations have refuted the statement. "However, that is not the way it is...[Georgian] military drones have started flying over South Ossetia and Abkhazia," Karasin, who heads the Russian delegation, told RIA Novosti. The Georgian Foreign Ministry said in a statement published on Wednesday it is prepared to look into drafting an agreement on non-aggression only if it is considered the victim of aggression. "Georgia is prepared to look into drafting a non-aggression agreement, but only if the parties of that agreement will be Russia as the aggressor and Georgia as the victim of aggression," the ministry’s statement reads, adding "20% of [Georgia’s] territory is occupied today."

Boris Chochiev: "Russia will stay on the territory of South Ossetia and Abkhazia before the aggressor is punished"

13.11.2009 - 11:45

At the eighth round of the Geneva consultations on security in the Caucasus, the side discussed the report of the EU-initiated Fact-finding Mission on the war in South Ossetia in August 2008. As reported by the Special Representative of the RSO President for Post-Conflict Settlement Boris Chochiev, the discussion of the Report was initiated by the Ossetian side. "The South Ossetian side suggested that in the future, the discussions on Georgian-Ossetian relationships would continue in the light of the report of Tagliavini, where there is a clear conclusion that Georgia had violated international norms by committing a perfidious attack at South Ossetia, that Georgia is the aggressor.", said Chochiev. South Ossetian representatives have also raised the question why the United States and the international community, based on Tagliavini’s report, did not call for bringing Saakashvili to justice as the person responsible. "Why isn’t this regime brought responsible for the aggression committed against peaceful people? Instead of doing so, the United States and other countries are actively remilitarizing Georgia. Why How can this happen in 21st century? Double-standard policies are reinforced, and instead of condemning Saakashvili, Georgia is being prepared for another military adventure. I brought a concrete example when on a pretext that the population of Leningor district was affected by the Georgian-Ossetian conflict, the people, who, in fact, were not directly affected, were forced to leave their houses in August 2008 and settle in the village of Tserovani in the area adjacent to the borderline between Georgia and South Ossetia, where more than three thousand houses were built for them. According to available information, presently, the issues with organizing their "return" to their houses in Leningor district, where none of the houses of Georgians was destroyed, with the facilitation of the EUMM is under consideration. And the new settlement will be used for its initial purpose. Pretending that they have built a settlement for refugees, they build up a military compound. We have solid evidences that Georgia is militarized through supplies of modern weapons", said Chochiev. According to him, South Ossetian delegation moved forward an initiative to elaborate draft recommendations on behalf of Geneva discussions to impose moratorium on arms supplies to Georgia before this state signs an agreement on non-use of force against South Ossetia and Abkhazia. "Taking into account the fact that the positions of the aggressor and the victims are absolutely different, it is considered to that South Ossetian draft agreement will serve as the basis. But the Georgian side forwarded a new demand that before Russia’s "occupational forces" remain, Georgia is not going to sign any agreement, nor will it participate in the elaboration of the draft papers. We have stated that Russia would remain on the territory of South Ossetia and Abkhazia before the aggressor is punished and before there is an internationally guaranteed paper on non-use of force against South Ossetia and Abkhazia signed", underlined Chochiev. He also reported that the issue of the missing persons was also discussed in Geneva. According to him, the eighth round of Geneva discussions was attended by Marat Kulakhmetov, Assistant to the Minister for Foreign Affairs, who made a speech on August 2008 events.

Members of Pridnestrovie’s Parliament met with the Russian Ambassador


During the meeting, the parliamentarians discussed the social and economic situation in the republic, given the global crisis.

Parliamentary Speaker Anatoly Kaminsky said: "Given the economic situation, arisen not only due to the global crisis we talked about the adoption of the budget, its shortfall and areas of spending as well as the proposed measures to implement this law in the context of the commemoration of the anniversaries”.

The parties discussed the social and political situation in the republic and then the activities of Parliament to review the new draft constitution and proposals for the referendum.

"I, as a diplomat and a man familiar with the precedents of a similar kind of international law, have many questions about it. I think that any expert of the Council of Europe will ask more questions than I do, if he tries to examine the proposed document. But I say it again: it should be discussed in appropriate instances, consulting, primarily with the people. It’s up to the Pridnestrovians only to make a decision", Russia’s Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to Moldova Valery Kuzmin said.

Kyrgyz president abolishes National Guard


BISHKEK, November 13 (RIA Novosti) - Kyrgyz President Kurmanbek Bakiyev signed a decree to abolish the National Guard, established by his predecessor Askar Akayev to provide security for state leaders, the Kyrgyz news agency said. According to the decree, the National Guard is abolished in order to "optimize activities of bodies, providing escort and security services to state objects, involved in guard mounting during meetings of heads of states and standing guard near the State flag of the Republic of Kyrgyzstan in Bishkek’s central Ala Too Square, by reforming them and removing duplicate functions." In late October, the Kyrgyz leader announced a wide-reaching reorganization of the apparatus of government, which, he said, was "cumbersome and incapable of timely responding to crises and swift changes in the situation." He cut the number of ministries and introduced a smaller number of agencies instead, giving more power to the presidency. Igor Chudinov resigned as prime minister after the announcement. Former presidential chief of staff Daniyar Usenov took office after the pro-presidential Ak Zhol party, which dominates the legislature, voted for him almost unanimously. Bakiyev said the overhaul would save the former Soviet state about $11.5 million in budget funds.

12:43 13/11/2009

Tajikistan rolls out 10 projects under $3 bln Chinese loan

DUSHANBE, November 13 (RIA Novosti) - Tajikistan presented on Friday 10 business projects to China, worth a total of $3 billion, a government official said. In June 2009, the Chinese government said it would provide member countries of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization with a soft $10 billion loan to deal with the effects of the global economic crisis. Abdugaffor Rakhmonov, deputy head of the State Investment and Property Management Committee, said the projects, to be financed with the loan, were presented at a Tajik-Chinese business forum that opened earlier on Friday in the Tajik capital. They prioritize regional development, in particular energy, road construction and other infrastructure projects He said project funding would be provided by six Chinese banks.

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