HOME About Blog Contact Hotel Links Donations Registration
NEWS & COMMENTARY 2008 SPEAKERS 2007 2006 2005

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Russia continues to deport Georgians despite EU appeal

EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS - Russia deported 148 more Georgians on the same day EU foreign ministers "urged" Moscow "not to pursue measures targeting Georgians in the Russian Federation" and voiced "grave concern" at the "economic, political and humanitarian consequences" of Russian economic sanctions against its southern neighbour.

On top of this, one of the Georgian deportees, 58-year old Tengiz Togonidze, died in Moscow's Domodedovo Airport while waiting to be put on a plane after five days of detention and repeated refusals to be allowed to see a doctor, the BBC reports.

The EU foreign ministers' statement made in Luxembourg on Tuesday (17 October) also called on Georgia to comply with UN resolution 1716 on pulling unauthorised troops out of the Georgian breakaway republic of Abkhazia and for Abkhazian separatists to allow the return of ethnic-Georgian exiles.

The EU's remarks will add another sensitive point to the agenda when EU leaders meet Russian president Vladimir Putin in Lahti on Friday, with the murder of anti-Kremlin reporter Anna Politkovksaya and the recent setbacks for European energy firms in Russia's Shtokman and Sakhalin gas and oil fields already in the air.

The EU statement - originally drafted by Finland - faced some opposition from France, Greece and Luxembourg, which wanted to tone down Russia criticism ahead of the Lahti meeting. But most EU states decided to press ahead with the harsh wording despite the fact Brussels has said it will not intervene concretely in the Russia-Georgia dispute.

Russian sensitivity
Russia had earlier showed its sensitivity to any EU intrusion into the Georgia issue by criticising a visit by top EU diplomats to Tbilisi in October, with the EU "trojka" trip falling at the height of the Russia-Georgia spy row.

"The timing and the way this was presented, only created additional illusions on the part of the Georgian leadership that the west is behind them," Russia's ambassador to the EU, Vladimir Chizhov, told EUobserver last Friday, before going on to describe Georgia as an all-but-failed state torn apart by separatism and unfit to join NATO.

For its part, Georgia continues to accuse Russia of "ethnic cleansing" and of trying to topple the pro-EU and pro-NATO government of president Mikhali Saakashvili, while calling for ever stronger statements condemning Russia from the EU side.

Georgian rhetoric
"The severity of the Russian reaction [to the recent spy row] surprised the whole world and I would be very ashamed now if I had to represent the Russian nation," Georgia's EU ambassador Salome Samadashvili told EUobserver last week.

Reacting to the UN resolution on Abkhazia - passed over the weekend - Georgian foreign minister Gela Bezhuashvili saw only the defeat of an earlier, more-strongly worded Russian resolution proposal and the tacit approval of Tbilisi's military presence in Abkhazia's Khodori Gorge.

"The final text of the resolution by the [UN] security council did not share the rigid and aggressive position of the Russian side," he said in a statement.
Web IntelligenceSummit.org
Webmasters: Intelligence, Homeland Security & Counter-Terrorism WebRing
Copyright © IHEC 2008. All rights reserved.       E-mail info@IntelligenceSummit.org