The messenger logo

The News in Brief

Thursday, March 23
Putin Meets South Ossetian Leader in Moscow

Russian President Vladimir Putin met with South Ossetian leader Leonid Tibilov in Moscow on March 21 to discuss the upcoming presidential polls and “the issues of security, defense capacity building” in the breakaway region, the Kremlin reported.

“Russia and South Ossetia have built truly allied relations,” Putin told Tibilov before the meeting. “We are building our relations on the basis of our basic Treaty [the treaty on “the Alliance and Integration”], we have also signed the agreements in various areas and on the whole, all of them are being implemented.”

“Of course, in a large-scale effort as such, there are issues that require special attention from our side,” Putin noted, but added the Russian side is “generally pleased” that the situation in South Ossetia is stabilizing. “In fact, we can say that it has already stabilized,” he said, echoing the electoral slogan of Leonid Tibilov, who is campaigning in the South Ossetian presidential polls on ‘stability’ ticket.

“By the way, I wish you good luck,” Putin went on. “I hope the voting will proceed in accordance with the constitution, in strict compliance with the laws of South Ossetia, and will ultimately lead to a new, favorable environment for [further] development.”

Tibilov thanked the Russian President for the country’s “the full-scale assistance” to South Ossetia, which, in the words of the South Ossetian leader, has changed the region “for better” from the “appalling state of affairs” five years ago, when he entered office.

“Hundreds of square meters of new buildings, new roads and social facilities [were built] in our republic. These are all tangible results. Of course, we owe all of that to great Russia.” Leonid Tibilov told Putin.

“Mr. President, I would like to express my gratitude to you personally for the trust that has been expressed [towards me] over the years,” Tibilov added. “And today, I can confidently say that all the assistance that went to South Ossetia always found its target. This, I believe, is very important, and I always considered this to be the priority in my work.”

Putin met with leader of Georgia’s breakaway region a week after endorsing a new defense agreement with South Ossetia, formalizing the merger of the region’s military units into the Russian armed forces.

The meeting also comes amid the growing controversy over the decision of the local election administration to turn down former South Ossetian leader Eduard Kokoity’s bid for the region’s presidential polls, prompting series of protest rallies in Tskhinvali, the region’s capital.

Simultaneously with the presidential polls scheduled for April 9, Tskhinvali will also hold a referendum on renaming the region to “the South Ossetia – the State of Alania.” (

Georgian PM opens C Hepatitis management center in Zugdidi

The C Hepatitis management center has launched functioning in Zugdidi from today, - Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili has said.

He has opened the center together with Georgia’s Health Minister Davit Sergeenko and U.S. Ambassador to Georgia Ian Kelly.

He says the full spectrum of services will be offered in the center.

The PM has congratulated Zugdidi population on the event adding any residents of breakaway Abkhazian territory having neutral passports will be able to benefit from the center-provided services.

’35 000 people have already got treatment service. 25 000 has finished the course, reached the 98% recover. This is very good. It is also important that the center will serve to those with neutral passports living on breakaway Abkhazia’s territory. The U.S. government and Gilead company took this factor into account and made treatment available for them,’ Giorgi Kvirikashvili has said.

Tbilisi was the first place where the C Hepatitis Center was initially opened. Zugdidi hosts the second one. Zugdidi municipality was selected as the virus indicator is high there. (ipn)

Georgian and de-facto Abkhazian officials discuss security issues in Gali

An Incident Prevention and Response Mechanism (IPRM) meeting was held in Gali in Georgia's breakaway region of Abkhazia, where security conditions along the Administrative Boundary Line (ABL) were on the top of the agenda.

The IPRM was created in February 2009 following the 2008 Russia-Georgia conflict to address security concerns and ensure the protection of human rights in the occupied regions.

The State Security Service of Georgia reported that the case of Giga Otkhozoria – a Georgian citizen killed in the village of Khurcha in Zugdidi region last May – was once again put on the agenda. Georgian government representatives continue to call for the arrest of the individual accused of the murder, Rashid Kanjioghli, who was sentenced to 14 years imprisonment in absentia.

The release of Georgian citizen Giorgi Lukava was also demanded: also a Georgian citizen, he has been illegally detained in an Abkhazian prison since May 2011 and sentenced to 20 years imprisonment.

Deputy Head of the Information-Analytical Department under the State Security Service Kakha Kemoklidze believes that any kind of prohibition restricting the fundamental rights of the local population "will not only complicate their everyday lives, but also pose a threat to security on the ground”.

Lukava’s wife Lali Basaria has said her husband has been pardoned by de-facto authorities some time ago, but Tbilisi has refused to exchange him with another detainee.

However, Kemoklidze said he has no information on Lukava’s pardon. On the contrary, the de-facto authorities keep on claiming that Lukava remains in detention.

Kemoklidze said the Government of Georgia is doing everything to secure the release of Lukava and other illegally-detained Georgians from the Drandi penitential facility.

The next meeting of the IPRM will be held in Gali on April 25. (