The messenger logo

The News in Brief

Friday, March 5
Rasmussen downplays concerns about Mistral

NATO has played down security concerns in Eastern Europe provoked by France’s decision to sell four warships to Russia, which fought a war against would-be alliance member Georgia less than two years ago.

"I understand very well the concerns raised by a number of allies and I think it’s understandable, taking into consideration history as well as recent events, but I take it for granted that Russia will not use or misuse such military equipment against any neighbour," North Atlantic Treaty Organisation Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said at a Brussels press conference yesterday.

Rasmussen said there was no need for France to clear the sale with allied headquarters in advance and promised that "NATO has all necessary plans in place to protect and defend all allies." (Rustavi 2)

Abkhazia’s so-called First President dies in Moscow

The so-called First President of Abkhazia has died in Moscow, Interfax reports. "He was brought to Moscow in a serious condition. He died this morning," Vladislav Ardzinba's widow said. Ardzinba had been brought to the Moscow hospital on 26 February.

Vladislav Ardzinba was born in the village of Lower Eshera, Sokhumi district. After graduating from the Historical Department of the Sokhumi Pedagogical Institute he studied at Tbilisi State University and received a doctorate. He then worked in Moscow for eighteen years as an academic specialising in ancient Middle Eastern civilizations, under Yevgeniy Primakov, then head of the Institute of Oriental Studies in Moscow and later Russian Foreign and Prime Minister.

In 1994 the de facto Abkhazian Parliament elected Ardzinba to the Presidency, a move condemned by Georgia and the United Nations as illegal. He won the first direct polls on October 3, 1999 without an opponent. He installed an autocratic regime and remained politically untouchable until his health seriously deteriorated in 2003. He was replaced by the winner of the Presidential election of 12 January 2005, Sergei Bagapsh.

Vladislav Ardzinba had a wife and two daughters. (Interpressnews)

Russian Prosecutors’ Office files suit against Georgia

The Investigative Committee of the Prosecutor’s Office of the Russian Federation has filed a suit against Georgia, RIA Novosti reports. "The suit is about the use of forbidden methods of war by Georgia and attacks on people enjoying international protection," Vladimir Markin, official representative of the Committee said.

Markin alleged that multiple violations of international humanitarian law and the human rights and freedoms of the Russian peacekeepers and the civilian population of South Ossetia by Georgian soldiers have been confirmed. "As a result of the Georgian military aggression, which was not provoked by anyone or anything," 10 Russian peacekeepers were killed, 40 were wounded and the infrastructure of the Russian peacekeeping forces was destroyed, he said.

Markin further alleged that hired members of the Ukrainian organisation ‘Una-Unso’ fought for the Georgian side during the Georgia-Russia war. "They were funded by officers of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Georgia," Markin said. (Interpressnews)

Latvian representatives to observe 30 May local elections in Georgia

Latvian representatives will observe the local government elections in Georgia. Parliament Speaker Davit Bakradze made this statement at a joint briefing with Gundars Daudze, Chairman of the Latvian Saeim.

Bakradze said that at his meeting with Daudze deepening relations between the Parliaments of Georgia and Latvia was discussed. Latvia, which will host the NATO Parliamentary Assembly session in May, will organise a special meeting between a Georgian Parliamentary delegation and the NATO Assembly within the framework of the Assembly session, Davit Bakradze said. (Interpressnews)

Emergency Service advises people to stay at home

On Thursday the Tbilisi Emergency Service advised people to stay home because of the heavy wind, which was likely to last until the end of the day, Temur Giorgadze, head of the City Emergency Service, told Interpressnews.

Giorgadze said that rescuers had been mobilised in the city. Several trees had fallen in the streets and a building under construction had been ruined damaging a car. No one was injured.

The heavy wind has not impeded the work of Tbilisi International Airport, Interpressnews was told by its spokesman. "The airport has not been affected. Consequently, flights have been proceeding without obstacles," the spokesman said.

The wind rose in Tbilisi yesterday morning. It was most fierce where the airport is. (Interpressnews)