Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Indian companies to pay USD 37.1 million for oil and gas licence blocks

More foreign companies are ready to invest in the energy sector, the Ministry of Energy of Georgia has declared. According to released information, two Indian companies are about to pay USD 37.1 million for 5 oil and gas licence blocks. The Oil and Gas Agency of the Georgian Ministry of Energy has already received bank guarantees from the companies, EN Search Petroleum Ltd. and JSPL Oil and Natural Gas Ltd.

Four detained for illegal import of vehicles and bribery

As the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Georgia reports, officers of its General Inspectorate have detained a group of criminals suspected of purchasing stolen vehicles. Employees of the Customs Department were also involved in the case, having allegedly illegally imported high-priced vehicles with forged identification codes from the Russian Federation.

For performing a registration and examination service the above mentioned detainees, allegedly part of an organised group, asked an employee of the Service Agency of the Interior Ministry for a 500 GEL bribe. As a result of this they were detained.

OSCE to send 100 observers to Georgia

The OSCE will increase the number of its international monitors in Georgia, envoy Goran Lennmarker announced at a meeting with Georgian MPs. Lennmarker reiterated that the OSCE supports Georgia's territorial integrity and announced that the organization would send 100 observers to make an unbiased assessment of the August developments.

After meeting with the Members of Parliament the OSCE representative discussed the Georgia crisis with Georgian Deputy Foreign Minister Giga Bokeria and State Minister for Reintegration Temur Iakobashvili.

European Parliamentarians propose freezing funds to Russia

The budgetary committee of the European Parliament is considering freezing financial assistance to Russia. The funds allocated to Russia in 2009 equal Euro 60,500,000.

German diplomat Reimer Böge, the committee Chair, asserts that freezing funds to Russia will send a strong signal to the country about its aggressive actions against Georgia. The European Parliament will discuss the proposal in October.

Grigol Vashadze meets Swedish Ambassador

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia reports that a meeting was held at the Ministry between the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Grigol Vashadze and Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Kingdom of Sweden to Georgia Hans Gunnar Aden on September 2. The sides discussed the results of the Russian aggression against Georgia and numerous instances of ethnic cleansing of the Georgian population. The prospects of establishing and further deepening a special relationship between the EU and Georgia, as well as the results of the EU Summit held in Brussels on September 1, were also discussed at the meeting.

OSCE envoy holds meetings in Tbilisi

OSCE Parliamentary Assembly President-Emeritus Goran Lennmarker held meetings with Davit Bakradze, Chairman of the Parliament of Georgia, Lasha Zhvania, the Chairman of its Foreign Relations Committee, Eka Tkeshelashvili, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Ruslan Abashidze, Deputy Minister for Reintegration Issues, on September 3. Lennmarker, recently appointed as Special Envoy for Georgia by the OSCE, will leave the country on September 4.
Lennmarker said that OSCE President Joao Soares and he are personally engaged in the process of resolving the conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia regarding Nagorno-Karabakh. Mr. Lennmarker, a member of the Swedish Parliament, aims to work to support the conflict settlement process particularly at Parliamentary level.

Dmitry Medvedev – Russia is not afraid of internal separatism, unless its boundaries are altered from outside

Internal separatism isn’t dangerous for Russia unless its boundaries are altered from outside the country, Russian Federation President Dmitry Medvedev has stated in an interview with EuroNews.

Medvedev is sure that Russia will be able to explain its position on the Georgian-Ossetian conflict to its European partners. According to Medvedev, the EU’s decision shows that Russia’s actions were not clearly understood by EU members. “Of course we are concerned about this, but we think we can explain our position. What we did had only good intentions,” the Russian President stressed.

Alexander Khetaguri – There are no problems with electricity and gas supply

There are no problems with the electricity and natural gas supply, Alexander Khetaguri, the Georgian Energy Minister stated before the Government session on September 3. According to his statement rehabilitation works are being conducted to avoid problems this winter.
Khetaguri mentioned that Georgia gets its natural gas from a variety of sources, and thus there won’t be any supply problems in winter.

Parliament of Georgia revokes State of War

The Georgian Parliament has revoked the previously declared State of War, as Chairman of Parliament David Bakradze declared the following a meeting of the Parliamentary Bureau.
The State of War will be replaced by a State of Emergency, but this will only apply in the areas where Russian armed forces units are located.

The State of War was declared on 9 August and on 23 August Parliament prolonged it until September 8. Davit Bakradze remarked that the State of War was harming the national economy.

The Foreign Minister of Italy visits Georgia

The Foreign Minister of Italy, Franco Fratini, is visiting Georgia. Meetings have been scheduled with his Georgian counterpart Eka Tkeshelashvili and Prime Minister Lado Gurgenidze.

Fratini also visited the Museum of the Soviet Occupation after a brief meeting with President of Georgia Mikheil Saakashvili.

US will think about responsive steps against Moscow

The US Administration will consider taking adequate steps against Russian activities in Georgia. White House spokesperson Dana Perino stressed that the option of imposing sanctions against Russia is still on the table and the Bush Administration is thinking through the issue in active cooperation with European partners.

European Parliament: the location of the Winter Olympic Games should be changed

The European Parliament has suggested that the International Olympic Committee reconsider its decision to hold the Winter Olympic Games in Sochi in 2014. Its resolution urged the International Olympic Committee reconsider the issue and assess its appropriateness under the current circumstances.

Telephone conversation between Medvedev and Sarkozy

Another round of telephone conversations has taken place between Russian President Medvedev and his French counterpart Nicolas Sarkozy. The agenda of their meeting scheduled for September 8 has been discussed and a brief exchange of opinion regarding the EU Summit decisions also took place.

The Press Office of Kremlin has expressed its concerns over the summit’s decisions as the aggressive actions of Georgia in South Ossetia and Abkhazia were not reflected in the final document it produced.