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Prepared by Christina Tashkevich
Tuesday, April 8
“Shevardnadze’s advice to Nino Burjanadze”
Rezonansi writes that ex-president Eduard Shevardnadze criticized the speaker of parliament for her attitude towards the opposition campaigners on hunger strike last month.

Shevardnadze said Speaker of Parliament Nino Burjanadze lacks “humanity,” and did not take the hunger strikes seriously.

“Burjanadze had the chance to resign, but it was not suitable for [President Mikheil] Saakashvili,” said Shevardnadze, who himself was forced to step down in the 2003 Rose Revolution. “This means that they’re not giving the people their due.”

“The situation is tense in Tskhinvali region”
Rezonansi writes about increased tensions in South Ossetian conflict zone, which they refer to as Tskhinvali region.

Conflict analyst Mamuka Areshidze said he was informed that Ossetian forces are blockading five Georgian villages.

He claimed the villages’ residents are going without food or medicine.

“Roads are being closed by Ossetians and Georgians [in response],” Areshidze said. “As far as I know, the government plans to send humanitarian aid there.”

Areshidze also said 18 Georgian vendors were kicked out of a market in the de facto separatist capital of Tskhinvali, and that food prices are rising in the city.

“Abkhaz administrative border is not closed”
Reports that Russian peacekeepers closed the administrative border with breakaway Abkhazia remain “unverified,” Sakartvelos Respublika says.

A representative of the Tbilisi-backed Abkhaz government-in-exile said they are trying to verify the information, and claimed there is currently a rotation of Abkhaz militia in the border district of Gali.

The Georgian Public Broadcaster was the first to report that Russian peacekeepers shut down the administrative border, the newspaper writes. The closure was reportedly in reaction to the disappearance of a border official from the village of Nabakevi.

“Land transport links with Russia to open soon”
Svobodnaya Gruzia reports that land links between Georgia and Russia, through the now-closed Lars checkpoint, will be restored by the end of 2008.

The Ministry of Economic Development said it has contacted the Russian Transport Ministry to negotiate fees for border crossings.