https://i2.wp.com/www.thewe.cc/thewei/images2/iraq_war_photos/georgia.jpeGeorgij Chaindrawa, a former minister of Georgian President Mikheil Saakasvili’s goverment, who was in charge of dealing with the conflicts with Abchasia and Ossetia until 2006, accuses Saakashvili of undemocratic behaviour and war mongering.

In an interview with the German news magazine Der Spiegel, Georgij Chaindrawa accuses the United States administration of creating a pro-American Georgian government under Saakashvili.

According to Chaindrawa, Saakashvili’s government bears little resemblance to a democracy. Rather, Chaindrawa claims that the government of Georgia is a totalitarian regime that suppresses civil liberties and the freedom of the press, somewhat similar to the Russian government policies of Vladimir Putin. Chaindrawa states that Saakashvili tried to close down an independent TV station (Imelda TV), declared a state of emergency in 2007 against mass protests of the opposition, and committed election fraud. Chaindrawa also asserts the politics of Saakashvili’s government as a cause of the current war with Russia. He says: “He wanted a victory parade in Zchinwali and got Russian troops marching toward Tbilisi”.

When asked, why he was dismissed from the government in 2006, Chaindrawa stated that he tried to avoid military adventures in the conflict with South Ossetia and that he was highly critical of Saakashvili’s failed 2004 attempt to conquer Zchinwali.

On the question, what the West should do, Chaindrawa replies, the West should support the Georgian population, its civil society and institutions rather than the Saakashvili government. He continues to say that Georgia needs politicians who are pursuing reconciliation and compromise rather than confrontation.

In an article in The Washington Times, Tsotne Bakuria, a former member of the Georgian parliament and now a senior fellow at Global International Strategic Group in the U.S., formulates a similarly harsh criticism of Shakasvili’s government. She calls its government a “reign of terror” and says that the country has no independent judiciary and that Saakashvili uses trumped up criminal charges (alleged money laundering) to silence and suppress members of the opposition. She describes, that the leader of the opposition Shalva Natelashvili was forced to ask NATO secretary Javier Solana for asylum for his wife and his 2 daughters after they’ve received death threats. Natelashvili himself was threatened by a government member with arrest and is facing money laundering charges, as are other members of the opposition.

Source : wikinews

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There has been no substantial withdrawal of Russian troops so far. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has accused NATO of adopting a policy against his country by supporting Georgia, after the alliance declared there can no longer be business as usual with Russia.

While NATO countries have criticised Russian military actions in Georgia over the past 13 days, Mr Lavrov has condemned the alliance’s support of the former Soviet state.

World leaders have continued to dispute whether Russia is pulling out of Georgia, with NATO sending a sharp message that until the Russians leave, relations are on ice: not a cold war but a signal the maps of Europe are not about to be redrawn in Russia’s favour.

“This document is a very clear statement that this alliance, NATO, having come so far after the end of the cold war and the collapse of the Soviet Union in achieving a Europe that is whole free and at peace is not going to permit a new line to be drawn in Europe,” said US Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice.

The Russians were quick to react.

“The way NATO assesses the fulfilment of this condition is biased. They blame us as if there were no requirements for the Georgian side,” Mr Lavrov said.

Mr Lavrov says instead of NATO telling Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili what to do to meet its standards, Mr Saakashvili has told the alliance what to do to meet his ambitions.

Georgia is hoping to join NATO and has been given indications by the alliance that is being considered.

That has infuriated Russia and Mr Lavrov says drawing Georgia into NATO is just an anti-Russian policy that supports an aggressive regime.

Russian withdrawal

Meanwhile, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev says all but 500 of his country’s troops should be withdrawn from Georgia by Thursday or Friday.

He says those that remain will stay in a buffer zone around the breakaway region of South Ossetia.

Earlier the Kremlin quoted Russian President Dmitry Medvedev as saying that Russian forces would pull back by August 22 to the positions set out under a French-brokered ceasefire.

That would require most of them to withdraw to Russia or South Ossetia but parts of the force, under the terms of the deal, will remain in a buffer zone around the breakaway region.

“By 22 August… a part of the peacekeepers will be pulled back to the temporary security zone,” a Kremlin statement quoted Mr Medvedev as telling French President Nicolas Sarkozy in a telephone conversation.

There has been no substantial withdrawal of Russian troops so far, despite official statements that the pull-out is underway.

Russia’s deputy chief of the general staff, General Anatoly Nogovitsyn, says the pullout has been slow because Georgia has not returned all its troops to bases as agreed.

He says in South Ossetia there are a lot of abandoned Georgian vehicles that have to be cleared.

But the General says the pullout will accelerate on August 22 when Russian peacekeeping posts are in place in South Ossetia.

UN draft resolution

Meanwhile the United Nations Security Council has again failed to take a vote on a draft resolution demanding full compliance with the proposed ceasefire between Russia and Georgia.

After another emergency meeting in New York today, the 15-member UN Security Council has failed to reach agreement on a resolution demanding full compliance with a French-brokered ceasefire and a full withdrawal of Russian troops.

Russia’s ambassador to the UN, Vitaly Churkin, says Russia is withdrawing troops anyway.

“[The resolution] is a waste of time. Let me tell you it’s a waste of time because the process of the withdrawal of Russian forces will continue,” he said.

Georgia’s ambassador, Irakli Alasania, does not believe that.

“There’s no signs, as I mentioned, that they are preparing for the withdrawal,” he said.

“The rampage, the looting is still going on.”

Russia has a veto power in the Security Council.

Refugees

World leaders argue, but 150,000 people displaced by the fighting have little time for politics.

Some have no homes to return to, others – like those at a camp in Tbilisi – simply do not know what is happening.

Desperate, they live in Red Cross tents near the airport, as American aid flights arrive overhead.

Everyone wants to return home but not while the Russians are there.

Liz Ochalachvili fled from a village right near the border.

She told correspondent Philip Williams that Russian troops shot at the wheels of the car she was in. She said they were all beaten, the men stripped and called pigs.

She said they were lined up along the roadside and thought they were about to be executed. Two boys approached in a car and both were shot dead. A man in the street was also killed.

She said three more boys were gunned down, but she did not know if they died.

Sharing the tents was a single mother of two, Tamara Tabutson. She fled the now occupied city of Gori and fears a return could mean kidnap, rape or murder.

“In Gori, no-one told us to leave or helped us to leave. No-one. No car would stop. Now I see that we must take care of ourselves. Even here,” she said.

There are similar stories of atrocities and fear on both sides.

Source : abc.net.au

https://i2.wp.com/www.lightmillennium.org/3rd_april_03/image/slanka_old_parlament2.jpgColombo, Sr Lanka’s largest ever building and construction industry related exhibiting -“Construct 2008” was declared open by the Minister of Construction and Engineering services, Dr Rajitha Senaratne and the guests of honor at the opening ceremony were Piyasena Gamage, Minister of Vocational and Technical Training, Jacques Villemain, Deputy Ambassador of France in Sri Lanka; Richard Vokes, Country Director, Asian Development Bank and Mohamed Ali Janah, President, Maldives Association of Construction Industry .

Dr Senaratne as the Chief Guest said that with the ground breaking construction projects at national level such as power plants, water supply projects, ports, airport, flyovers, bridges, expressways have been commissioned with the participation of the members of the NCASL.

He said that some of these projects have been directly executed by the members of NCASL and the others with the participation of the foreign construction companies. According to official statistics the construction sector has contributed Rs hundred and fifty thousand million to the Gross Domestic Product which is 6.4 percent of the GDP.

He said that if mining and quarrying which has relationship to the construction sector is added, the GDP share would be much higher. he said that the annual cement consumption has increased by 10.7 percent over the previous year which shows that the construction sector has tremendously grown in the recent past.

Dr Senaratne said that the construction sector has contributed to the employment share of the national economy by providing 543,000 direct employment and around another 600,000 indirect employment opportunities. The sector contributed 61 percent of the Gross Domestic Fixed Capital Formation (GDFCF) which shows that the construction is an important base of the national economy.

To beat the escalating high costs of imported building material, Mohammad AliJanah, President, Maldives Association of Construction Industry (MACI) suggested that Sri Lanka and Maldives jointly import in bulk such as cement, steel and other items.

He made this suggestion at the opening ceremony of the ‘Construct 2008’ Exhibition organized by the National Construction Association of Sri Lanka (NCASL) which was held from 8th to 10th August at the BMICH. Mr Alijanah was present at the opening ceremony as a Guest of Honour.

He said that in this Globalization era everyone has room to grow and prosper and in importing in this manner both countries could benefit by the economies of scale and increase their profit margins.

NCASL first organized this exhibition eight years ago with only 47 stalls but every year since then is very successful and this year there were nearly 300 stalls and all the areas of building construction was covered. The stall holders have exhibited all the up-to-date modern construction material and latest technologies that are used internationally.

ADB Country Director Mr Vokes said that since 1968 the Bank has been assisting in Development Projects in Sri Lanka and a amount so far disbursed stands at US $ 4.5 billion and the amount that is expected to be disbursed in next three years is estimated at 660 to 750 at an annual rate of US $ 220 to 250.

He said that these funds will be spent on infrastructure development such as water supply and sanitation, road and power in all parts of the country including the East and some parts of the North.

Mr Vokes said that the ADB is concerned of high inflationary conditions in the country that would affect the building construction industry and to facilitate some kind of relief ABD is considering the introduction of ICTAD price adjustment formula for contracts of more than six months – less then one year which would imply that price escalations to be allowed. He said that the formula is still under consideration. What is now applicable is for projects that are more than one year’s duration.

Mahanama Jayamanne, Chairman, “Construct 2008” Exhibition Organizing Committee expressed his confidence that this would be a positive networking platform and resource centre for all construction industry related players in the whole of the Asia Pacific region. He said that the main objective of this exhibition is to develop Sri Lanka’s construction industry by introducing world-class products, services and state of the art technology, specially since “Construction 2008” has been viewed as the number one networking platform for all buyers and suppliers in the industry.

– Asian Tribune –

https://i2.wp.com/static.ibnlive.com/pix/sitepix/06_2007/jayalalitha_new248.jpgIndia is duty-bound to take action against the Tamil Nadu publication Kumudam for violating the immigration laws of a friendly country and SAARC member state by getting its reporter Pushkin Rajkumar to enter Katchativu islet on the sly and escape before being detected. An official of an important Sri Lankan state agency expressed this view when the Asian Tribune contacted him. What would be India’s reaction if a Sri Lankan journalist resorted to a similar act in Indian territory, he asked, stressing that Delhi should not allow itself to be swayed by Tamil Nadu politics over the Katchativu issue.

Rajakumar was fortunate that he did not suffer the fate of Marie Colvin of London’s Sunday Times who crossed into a LTTE dominated area without government permission. She lost an eye when she was caught in Sri Lanka Army-LTTE crossfire while trying to return on the sly to state controlled territory on April 16, 2001.

Rajkumar’s entry to the 300-acre islet is obviously linked to a bigger jingoistic show staged in Tamil Nadu in connection with the forthcoming elections. The ‘show’ is in the form of a call for retrieving Katchativu which the Indian Government ceded to Sri Lanka in 1974. .

SLBC Chairman Hudson Samarasinghe yesterday (August 18) remarked that Rajkumar’s antics recalled the ‘kallathoni’ days when the Sri Lankan authorities regularly rounded up illegal immigrants from South India. Conducting the Isira radio channel’s daily news discussion program, Samarasinghe observed that with elections round the corner, former TN Chief Minister Jayalalitha Jayaram was now shuffling the pack of political playing cards to select a trump. She has apparently found it in the form of Katchativu.

So now she has vowed to go to courts over the issue of the ownership of this islet, which was settled between the governments of Sri Lanka and India in 1974. Sri Lanka’s ownership was re-emphasized in 1984, 1994 and 2004, the SLBC Chairman noted. Nevertheless in a State like TN where herd mentality is a prominent feature, the absurdity of trying to retrieve what was given to Sri Lanka under an internationally recognized treaty will not dawn on the majority those who will vote for Jayalalitha, Nedumaran, Vaiko and company.

However we can well imagine the threat Sri Lanka would have faced if Tamil Nadu State enjoyed greater powers than it is having now. Then even without seceding from the rest of India perhaps TN would be in a position to dictate terms to Delhi on the latter’s Sri Lanka policy

Nedumaran’s so-called World Tamil Confederation, a proxy LTTE organization has already resolved that Katchativu be retrieved immediately and brought under the Tamil Nadu state government’s administration. The performance of Sri Lanka’s Tamil National Alliance’ on this issue is not even worth citing since it is a disgrace to the parliament in which they are represented and treachery to the land of their birth.

As one reader asked, why does not the Speaker demand an explanation from these jokers? It appears that is only in Sri Lanka these things are possible.

TNA Parliamentarians Mavai Senathirajah and Sivajilingham had participated in the conference as guest speakers on the LTTE’s behalf. Instead of calling them guest speakers it would be more appropriate to call them LTTE ventriloquists’ puppets.

– Asian Tribune –