Monday, September 22, 2008

U.S. Commerce Secretary meets Georgian Economy Minister

US Commerce Secretary Carlos M. Gutierrez met Georgia’s Economy Minister Eka Sharashidze in Washington on September 19. “We look forward to working with Minister Sharashidze to expand the U.S.-Georgia trade and commercial relationships. We are committed to ensuring that the democratic and economic gains that Georgia has made over the past several years are not lost,” Gutierrez said after the meeting.
On October 27, U.S. Deputy Secretary of Commerce John Sullivan will host a US-Georgia Business Summit in Tbilisi. At the Summit, US companies will be able to develop new business opportunities and learn how to participate in reconstruction projects in Georgia, according to the US Department of Commerce.

Kazakhstan drops grain terminal plans in Poti

Kazakh Agriculture Minister Akylbek Kurishbayev has told lawmakers that Astana had abandoned plans to build a grain terminal in the Georgian port of Poti, the Kazakh official news agency, Kazinform, reported on September 22. The Minister said that this decision had been taken due to “the current situation in Georgia.”

Kazakhstan, one of the main foreign investors in Georgia, signed a deal with the Georgian Government in June 2007 to construct the terminal. It was announced then that Kazakhstan planned to invest USD 10 million in this project.

Fillion demands international discussion on Abkhazia, South Ossetia recognition

François Fillon, the Prime Minister of France, announced in the Russian resort of Sochi on September 22 that the recognition of Georgia's breakaway regions by Russia would become the subject of international discussion in the future. Mr. Fillon said special meetings and forums would be dedicated to Russia’s unilateral recognition of Abkhazia and the Tskhinvali region.
According to the French Prime Minister, at present the goal of the international society was to see a complete pullout of the Russian Army from Georgia. Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, responding, said that Russia was determined to meet the commitments laid down in the ceasefire agreements.

Poll suggests that the Russian Federation will break up

408 people participated in a poll organised by Kviris Palitra, on September 15-19. In answer to the question: “Does the Russian Federation face the danger of losing its autonomous regions?” 80.2% of respondents said yes, 7.5% no and 12.3% had no answer.

Sokhumi hopes to reinstate sea communication with Ankara

According to Soren Gogua a member of the Abkhazian de facto Parliament, Turkey has officially discussed with the self-declared independent state the reopening of sea links with Sokhumi. He maintains that the Turkish Government would not be against restoring sea communications with Abkhazia, and he discussed this issue during a meeting with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkey.

Soren Gogua is sure that all the practical details of the resumption of sea links will be worked out in the near future and ships will soon use the route. Turkey however has not confirmed that it has had any official communication with a country it has not recognised.

Belgian Defence Attaché visits Georgian Defence Ministry

The Ministry of Defence of Georgia reports that the Defence Attaché of Belgium, Brigadier General Patrick Nopens, visited the Ministry on September 22 and met with the Head of International Relations and Euro-Atlantic Integration Department, Nino Bakradze, and the Head of that department’s International Relations Division Ioseb Jikia.

At the meeting the present situation in Georgia and international society’s response to recent developments were discussed, along with the outcome of the NATO Council’s meeting in Tbilisi and the importance of the establishment of the NATO-Georgian Commission. The prospects of future bilateral cooperation in the defence sphere between Georgia and Belgium were also discussed.

Brigadier General Patrick Nopens is stationed in Moscow. He visits Georgia periodically and holds meetings with the leadership of the Defence Ministry and Georgian Armed Forces. The Brigadier General is to personally inspect military infrastructure damaged during the recent Russian aggression.

Anti-Crisis Council session to be held in Gori

A session of the new Anti-Crisis Council is to be held in Gori. The members of the Council will arrive in Gori on Wednesday to become familiar with the work being carried out in the city.

The Gori session will be the third since the Council was formed on the initiative of President Saakashvili. One of the main purposes of the Council is to monitor the eradication of the results of the Russian aggression. Gia Tortladze, Chairman of the Strong Georgia – Christian Democrats parliamentary opposition faction, will also chair the Council.