The messenger logo

The News in Brief

Friday, September 26
Ministers of Culture and Education report to Parliament on situation after armed conflict

Minister of Education and Science Georgi Nodia and Minister of Culture, Monuments Protection and Sport Nikoloz Vacheishvili have supplied detailed information on problems in those spheres which resulted from the Russian aggression and ways of overcoming them to the Parliamentary Committee on Education, Science and Culture.

According to Committee Chair Georgi Gabashvili, “the occupiers deliberately liquidated cultural monuments and schools on the territory of Georgia after the ceasefire, and that is why it is necessary to inform the appropriate international organizations of such barbarian acts.”

Regretably, there is no information on the present condition of educational institutions and cultural monuments on territories not currently controlled by Georgia, but the Ministers expressed the hope that foreign experts would assist them in gathering that information, the official website of the Parliament of Georgia explains.

According to the Minister of Education, the school year failed to start in only one school in Gori, near the zone of the Georgian-Ossetian conflict. Despite some material damage to the schools, term began in the other 23 schools as usual. Speaking about the situation in the capital, Nodia noted that 16 schools out of the 190 that were used for settlement of IDPs were still occupied by them and 24 schools were partially occupied. Tbilisi kindergartens have not opened yet as IDPs are still settled there. Nodia expressed hope that due to budget replenishment the Ministry would be able to supply textbooks and other materials for IDP pupils.

The Minister of Culture stated that foreign experts had responded to the request by the Ministry to render assistance in researching the state of cultural monuments in the conflict zone and had expressed readiness to start working in the near future. According to Vacheishvili, UNESCO and European Union specialists will assess the damage caused to historical, architectural and religious monuments in the Tskhinvali region. The expert mission will arrive in Georgia in two weeks.

According to information held by the Ministry of Culture, Russian occupiers and Ossetian armed formations have organized pogroms in the monastery complex in Nikozi and in Machabeli’s palace. Over 20 libraries have been plundered and liquidated in the conflict zone. But over a space of two years the Ministry had researched all the monuments of cultural importance in the Tskhinvali region, and photos were taken of them. “These are documentary materials which can be used in the restoration of monuments,” Vacheishvili said. (Black Sea Press)

Ossetian diaspora to hold rally - “South Ossetia Accuses!”

Beginning from September 26 representatives of all Ossetian diasporas will hold a rally entitled “South Ossetia Accuses!” in Tskhinvali, Vladikavkaz, Moscow, Western European countries and the USA, the de facto Government’s Committee of Information and the Press said on Thursday. “All Ossetian diasporas, political parties and youth organizations will participate in the rally,” a statement says.

The rally will begin on Friday at 13:00 Moscow time at the central square in Tskhinvali and afterwards will be continued in Vladikavkaz and Moscow. “From September 29, 2008 such rallies will be held in countries of Western Europe, and in October in the USA”, acting Minister for Youth Affairs of the self-proclaimed republic Eleonora Bedoyeva has stated. According to her, “Accusations and speeches made during the rallies will be used as evidence in the international court.” (Black Sea Press)

Car blows up near Security Service of Abkhazia building

A car filled with explosives blew up on Thursday night near a building belonging to the Security Service of the self-proclaimed Republic of Abkhazia in Sokhumi, the official on duty that night has said, as RIA Novosti reports.

According to the official the car was parked near the building but did not belong to anyone in the service. The shock of the explosion was so strong that glass in the windows of the nine-story block opposite the security service building broke and of its doors were broken, he said.

At present investigators are working at the scene. (Black Sea Press)

Latvian Seim does not recognize the independence of South Ossetia and Abkhazia

On Thursday the Seim of Latvia rejected a proposal by opposition party “For Human Rights in Integral Latvia” to recognize the independence of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, the Press Service of the Parliament of the Republic stated, as RIA Novosti reports.

The bills acknowledging of the separatist regimes of South Ossetia and Abkhazia were supported by only 5 Deputies. 68 Deputies opposed them, 14 abstained. The party “For Human Rights in Integral Latvia” represents the interests of Russian-speaking residents of the Republic, and is represented in the Seim by five Deputies out of a total membership of 100.

The bills envisaged commissioning the Cabinet of Ministers to recognize both Republics, establish diplomatic relations with them and promote their accession to the UN, OSCE and Council of Europe. It was stated in the bills that South Ossetia actually became independent in December 1990 and Abkhazia on September 30, 1993. They also proposed that Lat 2 mln (US $4 mln) of humanitarian aid should be rendered to South Ossetia from the state budget.

The President and Foreign Minister of Latvia have previously condemned Russia’s decision to recognize the independence of South Ossetia and Abkhazia. Russia took this decision on August 26.