Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Russia Recognizes South Ossetia and Abkhazia; Tensions Escalate With US and Georgia

Russia recognizes South Ossetia and Abkhazia to save people’s lives

Front page / Russia / News from the Kremlin
26.08.2008 Source: Pravda.Ru

Russia’s President Dmitry Medvedev recognized the independence of South Ossetia and Abkhazia.

“The people of South Ossetia and Abkhazia have repeatedly supported their independence. We understand that they have a right to determine their fate themselves after what happened recently,” Medvedev said in a televised address.

“They addressed to Russia with a request to recognize their independence. Taking into consideration the free will of the peoples, the UN Charter and OSCE documents, I have signed decrees to recognize the independence of South Ossetia and Abkhazia on behalf of the Russian Federation. This is the only way to save people’s lives,” Medvedev said.

Medvedev compared Saakashvili’s actions with the position of a former Georgian President, Zviad Gamsakhurdia, who unleashed the war under the slogan “Georgia for Georgians.”

"Saakashvili chose genocide to fulfill his political plans," Medvedev said. "Georgia chose the least human way to achieve its goal - to absorb South Ossetia by eliminating a whole nation."

“Russia stopped the extermination of the Georgian people and then showed restraint with a goal to regulate the conflict through diplomacy,” the president said.

“Our warnings were left with no response. NATO and the UN ignored them. It is clear now that the Georgian administration was preparing for the war, whereas the support of its external protectors was only strengthening the feeling of impunity. The Georgian administration chose another way – to disrupt negotiations, launch military provocations and attack peacemakers. The Georgian administration initiated a military conflict in defiance of common sense and contrary to the UN Charter,” Medvedev said.

The Federation Council and the State Duma of Russia unanimously previously voted for the independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

“Russia’s recognition of the independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia is a necessary condition to ensure security for these nations. We are obliged to support the aspiration of the people of South Ossetia and Abkhazia to stability, peace and independence,” Federation Council speaker Sergei Mironov said.

The presidents of the now-recognized republics, Sergei Bagapsh and Eduard Kokoity, thanked Medvedev for his decision.

Residents of Sukhumi and Tskhinvali (the capitals of South Ossetia and Abkhazia) took to the streets to celebrate the news.

Russia ’s decision to recognize the independence of the two republics came out of the blue for its citizens. People started making countless phone calls to share their joy. Everyone started to congratulate each other after Medvedev’s televised address.

Cars blare their horns and people fire guns in the air celebrating their long-awaited independence, Interfax reports from Tskhinvali. People can be seen in the streets waving the flags of the republic, hugging and congratulating each other.

“The president’s decision is a response to those political speculators, who claimed that Russia needed new lands and who referred to Russia as an invader and who said that Russia was going to annex Abkhazia and South Ossetia. The recognition of Abkhazia and South Ossetia as independent states is a refusal from annexation,” Dmitry Rogozin, Russia’s ambassador to NATO said in a statement.

USA to evacuate disgraced Georgian president in case of national coup

Front page / World / Americas
26.08.2008 Source: Pravda.Ru

The USA said that one country [Russia] can not recognize independence of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, and that the process should be conducted by the United Nations Organization. US President Bush urged his Russian counterpart Dmitry Medvedev not to recognize the republics and reiterated that the USA supported the territorial integrity of Georgia.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel also set out a hope that Medvedev would say no to the State Duma and the Federation Council. New EU members are ready to end their relations with Russia. Moscow is prepared for a chill: Medvedev is ready to cut back relations with NATO, whereas Putin does not see any pluses in Russia’s WTO membership.

White House spokesman Tony Fratto stated Monday that the status of South Ossetia and Abkhazia should be solved by the international community and the United Nations, but never by one country alone.

Fratto’s statement followed the decision of the Russian parliament (State Duma) and the Federation Council, which supported the aspirations of the two republics to become independent and sovereign states.

Washington immediately described the decision of the Russian lawmakers as unacceptable. Spokespeople for the US administration stated that Russia must respect the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Georgia.

"I call on Russia's leadership to meet its commitments and not recognize these separatist regions," Bush said in a statement from Texas, where he is vacationing at his ranch.

"Georgia's territorial integrity and borders must command the same respect as every other nation's, including Russia's," the president said.

Bush said independence for the two regions would undercut the international attempt to resolve Georgia's border disputes, a United Nations effort that Russia has supported.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel expects Dmitry Medvedev not to support the appeal of the Federation Council and the State Suma to recognize independence of the two nations.

“I expect that the president will not sign off on the decision, as this would create a critical situation with regard to the territorial integrity of Georgia,'' Merkel said.

The summit of the European Union on Georgia, which opens in Brussels on September 1, is expected to become an arena for more anti-Russian initiatives. Some EU members urge to punish Russia for its politics in the Caucasus.

Former communist countries of Europe offered to freeze partnership and visa-free entry talks with Russia. They also use the support of Britain and Sweden suggesting the boycott of Winter Olympics 2014 in Russia.

Georgia rebels celebrate Kremlin recognition

Tue Aug 26, 2008 9:50am EDT
By Indira Bartsits

SUKHUMI, Georgia (Reuters) - Residents in Georgia's breakaway region of Abkhazia fired into the air, opened bottles of champagne and wept on Tuesday after Russia recognized it and a second breakaway region as independent.

In Sukhumi, Abkhazia's palm tree-lined capital on the Black Sea coast, office workers spilled into the streets moments after Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said in a statement he was recognizing Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

"We feel happy. We all have tears in our eyes. We feel pride for our people," said Aida Gubaz, a 38-year-old lawyer. "Everything we went through, now we are getting our reward," she told Reuters.

A Reuters reporter in Sukhumi said she could hear celebratory gunfire and saw people opening bottles of champagne. She said she saw several people weeping with joy.

In Tskhinvali, capital of Georgia's second rebel region of South Ossetia, a Reuters photographer said about 500 people had gathered in the central square.

He said there was a deafening roar from people firing from Kalashnikov rifles and antique hunting rifles. Other people were waving the flags of South Ossetia and Abkhazia , hugging each other and chanting: "Long live South Ossetia."

"It seems as though people are firing from every courtyard in the town," the photographer, who could barely be heard over the sound of gunfire, said by telephone.

Georgia and Russia fought a brief war over South Ossetia earlier this month after Georgia sent in troops to try to retake the separatist province by force. Russia responded with a massive counter-attack by land, sea and air.

Russia may hit USA very hard below the belt

Front page / World / Americas
25.08.2008 Source: Pravda.Ru

US leading experts analyzed punishing opportunities of both Russia and the West after the recent armed conflict in Georgia. Specialists came to conclusion that the list of potential Western sanctions pales in comparison with what Moscow could do in response. However, the US administration hopes that Russia will not resort to radical measures not to harm its own financial and security interests.

The US administration has issued yet another warning to Moscow recently claiming that Russia’s actions in Georgia would question the future of its WTO bid, as well as Russia’s position in the Group of Eight.

The list of Washington’s threats also includes the blocking of Russia’s membership in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the boycott of Russia’s hosting of Winter Olympics in 2014 and a freeze of US-Russian strategic dialogue.

US experts warn that the list of Moscow’s potential sanctions is a lot longer. Angela Stent, the director of the Center for Eurasian, Russian and East European Studies, Georgetown University, said that Moscow may respond at the UN Security Council, where it can put obstacles on the way of US intentions to punish Iran for its nuclear ambition.

All anti-terrorist programs, the struggle against drug mafia, Syria, Venezuela and Hamas can be added on the list too. There are many questions, on which Russians may stop their cooperation with the USA, with the cooperation in the energy industry on top of that list, the expert believes.

The International Herald Tribune wrote with reference to US outstanding analysts that Washington needed a lot more from Moscow than vice versa. The US needs to ensure the security of Soviet nuclear weapons, to obtain Russia’s help in the endeavor to make Iran and North Korea shut down their nuclear programs.

The sale of Russia’s arms is another problem. The governments of Western countries and Israel are concerned about reports saying that Russia started the shipments of first components of its S-300 missile system to Iran. The latter may subsequently use the powerful systems to down US and Israeli aircraft.

Russia may complicate USA’s and NATO’s supply of the coalition in Afghanistan In April, Moscow gave France and Germany a right to transit non-combatant cargoes via Russia. Russia’s ambassador to NATO, Dmitry Rogozin, said that the West should not bite the hand that feeds 50,000 servicemen in Afghanistan. Moscow can offer show pressure of Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan, which the USA would like to use for their operations in Afghanistan.

No comments: