Monday, September 1, 2008

G8 countries meet in Japan in parallel with EU Summit

A G8 meeting was held in Japan in parallel with the EU summit on September 1. In addition to other significant issues the Chairmen of the Parliaments of G8 countries discussed the situation in Georgia.
Seven countries of G8: Japan, Germany, France, Italy, Canada, USA and Britain condemned the recognition of independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia by Russia, which is the other G8 member. Russian Duma chairman Boris Grizlov attended the meeting, which woulds last until September 3.

Vladimir Putin - Russia will not cut oil and gas supplies to Europe

Russia will not cut oil and gas supplies to Europe, Vladimir Putin has declared. “We do not intend to cut anything. We will meet the commitments of the contracts strictly,” Vladimir Putin noted.
Putin sees no signs of “freezing” relations with the western countries. A lot of things have been talked about but no concrete steps have yet been taken, he insisted. Putin hopes that relations will not be “frozen” in the future either. “Justice is on our side. We act absolutely within the framework of morality and international law,” said the Russian Prime Minister.

Australia to review nuclear fuel agreement with Russia

Australia has decided to review an agreement about giving nuclear fuel to Russia, Australian broadcasting company ABC has reported. According to the report the country’s Labour Government took this decision after Russian forces participated in the Georgian-Ossetian conflict.

Canada supporting Georgia’s integration in NATO

Canada will actively support Georgian integration in NATO, the Chairman of the Georgian Parliament, David Bakradze, reported to journalists after a meeting with the Canadian Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs. According to Bakradze, they discussed Georgia’s integration in NATO at the meeting and received the promise of Canadian support. Economic sanctions against Russian aggression, which must be led by the international community, were also discussed.

Valdas Adamkus – Russia is obliged to honour the norms of international law

Russia is obliged to honour both the norms of international law and the territorial integrity of Georgia, Valdas Adamkus, the President of Lithuania, has stated during a phone conversation with his French counterpart Nicolas Sarkozy. The President of Lithuania stated the recognition of the independence of South Ossetia and Abkhazia as illegal.

The two Presidents underlined that the EU has a joint position on the conflict, in favour of Georgia. The leaders called on Russia once again to meet its commitments under the six point agreement brokered by France.

Adamkus has also held a telephone conversation with Mikheil Saakashvili, in which he expressed his hope that the EU will not allow the abrogation of the territorial integrity of Georgia.

Matthew Bryza – Russia not telling the truth about buffer zones

Russia is not telling the truth when it says it has the right to create so-called buffer zones in Georgia under the terms of 6-point agreement, Matthew Bryza US Deputy Secretary of State, declared in Slovenia where he was attending an energy summit. “According to the fifth point, Russia has the right to take additional security measures. The decree acknowledged by Nicolas Sarkozy clearly shows that Russia can patrol in the Tskhinvali region and a few kilometers outside it only”, says Bryza. According to him, what has happened in Georgia proves that it’s important that Europe diversifies its gas supply. Europe must quickly decide how long it wants to be dependent on Russian gas, the Deputy State of Secretary stressed.

Iran rejects reports that it backs Russia

As Iran Foreign Ministry spokesman Hassan Qashqavi declared yesterday, Iran has adopted an independent stance on developments in the Caucasus.

Talking to reporters at his weekly press briefing, he added that the Caucasus region borders Iran and thus the country is sensitive to developments there. Rejecting reports that Iran backs Russia in the current crisis, he reiterated that adopting regional policies is the best possible way to settle it. Stressing that the foreign intervention would only escalate the situation, Qashqavi added that it would also make the issue more complicated. Such a move would not promote peace and stability in the sensitive Caucasus region, he stated.

Qashqavi said that Iran supplied fuel to Georgia during the country's fuel crisis last year, adding that Tehran's principled policy is based on independence and preserving national interests. “Tehran has no special tendency towards any particular power,” he reiterated. Tehran makes decisions on the basis of the principles of the Islamic Revolution as well as the national interests of its own and other regional states, he concluded.

Turkey to impose commercial embargo on Russia

Turkey will ban the import of some Russian-made products. Ankara intends to take this step in response to Russia imposing an embargo on Turkish goods.

Moscow banned the importation of Turkish goods not only from Turkey, but also from Europe last week. Kursat Tuzmen, the Minister of State in charge of Customs and Foreign Trade, while visiting China, underlined that Russia’s embargo on Turkish goods will cause damage to both sides. “This is illegal. They impede the importation of Turkish products to their country. Therefore Turkish exporters, Russian importers and world brands suffer. We will give an adequate answer to Russia. Import of Russian-made products will be banned as from today,” he said.

EU preparing civilian mission for Georgia

EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana says that EU nations are preparing to send a civilian monitoring mission to Georgia. The force could be deployed across the country to verify Russian forces are complying with the ceasefire agreement. Solana says that the mission could involve hundreds of monitors.

Solana told reporters on Monday before an EU leaders’ summit that he expects EU nations to approve the plan in the coming weeks. EU nations have already sent 40 observers to Georgia.

Labour Party refuses to join national protest

The Georgian Labour Party has refused to join the live chain, a national demonstration held after an appeal by the Catholicos-Patriarch of All Georgia. Party leader Shalva Natelashvili announced at the briefing that it was “Saakashvili's rally” and the Labour Party would not participate in it.
Natelashvili also outlined his position to the EU Ambassador to Georgia. The opposition party has asked the United States to renounce its recognition of Kosovo’s independence in order to avoid more problems in Georgia's breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.