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28 Dec 2003 description

Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 2003-12-28 12:43:13 - Georgian media reported on December 27 that around ten Georgians were abducted in Gali district of breakaway Abkhazia in retaliation to the disappearance of three Abkhaz border guards.

Reportedly, an armed group of Abkhazians raided Georgian villages in Gali district and kidnapped civilians.

Earlier three border guards of the breakaway Abkhazia were kidnapped. The Abkhaz side accused Georgian guerrillas in abduction case.

28 Dec 2003 description

Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 2003-12-28 15:01:28 - 24 Georgian rescue workers left for Iran this morning to help search for survivors after thousands of people died in a devastating earthquake in Iran's historic city of Bam on December 26.

The team of the Georgian Interior Ministry's Emergency Situation Department includes rescuers, paramedics and one sniffer dog.

23 Dec 2003 description

Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 2003-12-23 16:45:33 - Eter Astemirova was approved by the Parliament today as a Minister for Refugees and Accommodation.

Eter Astemirova was the member of the Tbilisi-based Abkhaz Parliament-in-exile.

The post is regarded to be the interim as according to the plan of reformation of the state agencies the Ministry for Refugees and Accommodation will be canceled.

04 Dec 2003 description

Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 2003-12-04 18:05:25 - Interim President Nino Burjanadze met today with Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General to Georgia, Ambassador Heidi Tagliavini.

The ways of peaceful settlement of the Georgian-Abkhaz conflict were discussed during the meeting.

Heidi Tagliavini delivered to Burjanadze a letter from UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, which included the UN vision regarding the conflict resolution.

01 Dec 2003 description

Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 2003-12-01 14:10:07 - Maksim Gindjia, the head of the International Department of breakaway Abkhazia's Foreign Ministry, said today the Abkhaz authorities are ready to continue talks with the Georgian side.

"Primarily the Abkhaz leadership condemned the reshuffle of authorities in Tbilisi as a coup, but after the international community recognized the interim government, the Abkhaz side decided not to suspend ties with Tbilisi and continue the negotiating process," Maksim Gindjia told Civil Georgia on December 1.

26 Nov 2003 description

Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 2003-11-26 16:15:26 - A senior United Nations official met with Interim President Nino Burjanadze on November 24, a day after President Shevardnadze resigned, and confirmed the continued commitment of the UN to the Georgian-Abkhaz peace process.

As the news release issued by the UN on November 24 reads, Jean-Marie Guéhenno, Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, emphasized the importance of the observation of the cease-fire agreement and of the UN role in efforts aimed at finding a peaceful settlement of the conflict in Abkhazia, Georgia.

25 Nov 2003 description

Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 2003-11-25 20:40:34 - The United States provided Georgia with USD 3 million in humanitarian medicines and medical supplies.

The air shipment of the aid was delivered by the United States Department of State, in cooperation with the U.S. private voluntary organization A Call to Serve International (ACTS) on November 25.

"This flight illustrates the continued interest of the United States in the well being of the Georgian people as they continue their transition to a free and prosperous democratic society," the statement issued by the U.S.

25 Nov 2003 description

Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 2003-11-25 12:25:42 - Interim President Nino Burjanadze issued on November 24 a decree on cancellation of the state of emergency.

The decree enters into force from the day of its publication. Before resignation ex-president Shevardnadze announced state of emergency on November 22.

However, state of emergency remains in force in Adjara Autonomous Republic. Adjarian leader Aslan Abashidze announced the state of emergency for one month term and ceased railway connection between Batumi, capital of Adjara and Tbilisi on November 23.

24 Oct 2003 description

20 civil police officers, to be assigned to UN Observers Mission in Georgia in the near future, will be deployed in breakaway Abkhazia throughout the UNOMIG area of responsibility.

As UNOMIG reports, civil police officers will work closely with Georgian and Abkhaz sides in building trust and cooperation in areas of law enforcement, good governance and protection of human rights.

24 Oct 2003 description

Georgian Foreign Minister Irakli Menagharishvili said after the meeting with EU's special representative for the South Caucasus Heikki Talvitie on October 23 that Tbilisi is interested in the EU's active role in conflict resolution process.

"During the meeting we discussed the European Union's possible active efforts in resolution of Abkhaz and South Ossetian conflicts," Irakli Menagharishvili told reporters on October 23.

European Union's Special Representative for the South Caucasus Heikki Talvitie arrived in Georgia on October 22 for a six-day visit to …

02 Oct 2003 description

The Russian plane, which arrived in Tbilisi on September 29 to repatriate Chechen refugees willing to return to Chechnya, left Georgia with none of Chechens on the board. Russian authorities' second try to convince refugees living in Georgia's Pankisi gorge since 1999, to return to the war-torn Chechnya failed again.

30 Sep 2003 description

Chechen refugees living in the Pankisi Gorge of Georgia categorically refused to return to Chechnya, claiming there are no security guarantees.

The Russian delegation led by Minister for Chechen Affairs Stanislav Iliasov arrived in the Pankisi Gorge on September 30 to convince Chechen refugees to repatriate on a voluntary basis.

The delegation brought 20 tons of humanitarian aid consisting of warm clothes and food; however the refugees refused to receive the Russian humanitarian aid.

"We do not trust them [Russian authorities]. They need us only to score points on the eve of …

29 Sep 2003 description

(Tbilisi, September 29, 2003, Civil Georgia) - The Russian delegation led by Minister for Chechen Affairs Stanislav Iliasov will arrive in Tbilisi on September 29.

The delegation will bring 20 tons of humanitarian aid to the Chechen refugees living in the Pankisi Gorge and will try to convince them to return to Chechnya on a voluntary basis.

The delegation visited the Pankisi Gorge in early September.

16 Sep 2003 description

(Tbilisi, September 16, 2003, Civil Georgia) - Head of the OSCE Mission to Georgia Roy Reeve met with Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Vyacheslav Trubnikov in Moscow on September 16.

10 Sep 2003 description

(Tbilisi, September 10, 2003, Civil Georgia) - A UN Observer Mission in Georgia (UNOMIG) patrol was launched on September 7 to carry out a preliminary investigation of an incident regarding alleged maltreatment of locals and rape of women by four uniformed Abkhaz customs officers (of the Abkhaz defeacto government) in Tagiloni village, Gali district, on September 5-6.

04 Sep 2003 description

Russia is intensifying its efforts to repatriate Chechen refugees back to Chechnya as local presidential elections loom in the war-torn region.

A Russian delegation visited Georgia on September 1-2 to hold talks with Georgian authorities on the return of Chechen refugees living in Pankisi Gorge. According to the latest census held by the Georgian Ministry for Refugees and Accommodation in cooperation with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, up to 3,800 Chechens are in Georgia at the moment.

03 Sep 2003 description

(Tbilisi, September 3, 2003, Civil Georgia) - The Georgian Foreign Ministry does not agree with First Deputy Foreign Minister of Russia Valerie Loshchinin, who said that the problem of the return of IDPs to breakaway Abkhazia has been settled, Georgian Deputy Foreign Minister Kakha Sikharulidze said on September 2.

"Relying upon an unreliable source, Loshchinin says that the relevant bodies of the UN confirm the the return of IDPs to the Gali district [of breakaway Abkhazia].

02 Sep 2003 description

(Tbilisi, September 2, 2003, Civil Georgia) - The representatives of the Russian delegation and the Interior Ministry of Georgia today set up a special commission that will work over the repatriation of Chechen refugees to their homes.

Russian Minister for Chechnya Stanislav Iliasov told reporters in Tbilisi that the commission will also include the representatives of the Russian-backed Chechen administration, who will arrive in the Pankisi Gorge in late September to convince Chechen refugees to return.

01 Sep 2003 description

(Tbilisi, September 1, 2003, Civil Georgia) - Deputy Minister for Emergency Situations of the Russian Federation Yuri Brazhnikov arrived on August 31 in Tbilisi to hold talks with the Georgian authorities over repatriation of the Chechen refugees living in Georgia.

Up to 3,700 Chechen refugees, who fled from the second war in Chechnya in 1999, live in Georgia's Pankisi Gorge at the moment.

The Russian delegation visited Georgia in June.

26 Aug 2003 description

(Tbilisi, August 26, 2003, Civil Georgia) - The Georgian Ministry of Defense (MoD) confirmed today that four Georgian peacekeepers were injured while conducting mine clearing operations in Northern Iraqi city of Tikrit on August 21.

All the four soldiers were hospitalized and are now undergoing medical treatment.

"One of them has been severely injured and will probably be hospitalized to the United States for further treatment," Spokesperson for the Defense Ministry Nino Sturua told Civil Georgia.