Thursday, 29 July 2010

''Hibla Gerzmava Invites...'' Classic Music Festival Opened in Sukhum

July 28, SUKHUM -- “Hibla Gerzmava invites …” classic music festival opened on July 27 in Sukhum.

Every summer a world-famous Abkhaz opera singer, a National Actress of Abkhazia, an Honored Actress of the Russian Federation Hibla Gerzmava holds a festival, invites her eminent colleagues to the republic. This year the orchestra of the P. I. Tchaikovsky Moscow State Conservatory conducted by the art director and conductor Felix Korobov has been invited to the festival.

On the first day of the festival young singers Alkhas and Ekaterina Ferzba, Astamur Kvitsinia, Nana Cherkezia, Kristinp Eshba, Astanda Bagatelia, Sofia Narmania and others appeared together with Hibla Gerzmava on stage of R. Gumba Abkhaz State Philharmonic Society.

A well-known expert in literature, music expert and a TV host, a National Actor of Russia, an Honored Art Worker of Russia, Svyatoslav Belza who hosted the concert, said that he “understood Hibla’s message who have invited young singers to the festival”. “It is just the right time to open an Opera Theatre in Sukhum when so talented young people are growing up”, he said.

“Hibla Gerzmava invites …” classic music festival will last till July 31.

On the same day, July 27, Abkhaz classic music devotees had a chance to attend a concert in Pitsunda.

A National Actress of Abkhazia, an Honored Actress of the Russian Federation Alisa Gitsba and “Helicon opera” soloists performed in the Pitsunda temple. A graduate of the Gnesin Academy of Music, a winner of international contests Luka Gadelia (organ) and a winner of international contests Dmitry Zakharchenko (oboe) accompanied the soloists.

On July 29 “Helicon opera” artists will perform their "Viva, opera!" in Sukhum, in the Abkhaz State Philharmonic Society.

Monday, 26 July 2010

The English version of Abkhazia.Travel has been launched!

Welcome to Abkhazia, the land of soul! -- The official tourism website of the Republic of Abkhazia, produced by the State Committee for Resorts and Tourism, is the only official and current resource that provides comprehensive information about Abkhazia's resorts and tourist attractions.

The website includes practical information for tourists, contact details for official agencies, and maps and descriptions of popular tourist destinations and routes, including routes for adventure travel.

The historical section contains extensive information on the history of the region, the emergence of Christianity, the formation and development of the Abkhaz state, and the republic today.

Feature stories discuss Abkhazia's top attractions and events in detail. Audio and video materials supplement your own experience and knowledge about the country.

Each section has unique photographs, prepared especially for the website. You will see a bird's-eye view of Abkhazia, visit the mountains, the rivers and the sea, and see places unlike anywhere else in the world.

All information provided has been produced specifically for the website, based only on proven facts and current data.

All sections of the site will be regularly updated and expanded.

Saturday, 24 July 2010

Chávez to support Abkhazia’s, South Ossetia’s independence

Aysor, July 24 -- President of Venezuela Hugo Chávez promised to support recognition of independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia in South America, President declared in Caracas, when summing up the results of the meeting with Abkhazian and South Ossetian leaders Sergey Bagapsh and Eduard Kokoyty, as reported by RBK.

“I am sure that together with Abkhazia and South Ossetia we will be able to build strong relations with Latin American countries – Paraguay, Uruguay, Cuba, Bolivia, Ecuador, Brazil, and Argentina,” President said.

Note that Abkhazia’s and South Ossetia’s independence was recognized by Russia, Venezuela, Nicaragua and Nauru.

Source: Aysor


Presidents of Abkhazia, S. Ossetia Announced ''Guests of Honor'' of Venezuela's Capital

July 23 -- Presidents of Abkhazia Sergey Bagapsh and South Ossetia Eduard Kokoity, who are in Venezuela on a visit on the invitation of its leader Hugo Chavez, are announced "Guests of Honor" of this country’s capital. According to the information from Caracas, today authorities of the Venezuelan capital presented respective diplomas to the leaders of the Transcaucasian republics.

Kokoity and Bagapsh also received symbolic keys to Caracas from the alcalde of the capital’s municipium Libertador Jorge Rodriguez.

The President of Abkhazia’s Official Representative told Apsnypress that at 11:00am Venezuelan time the President of Abkhazia Sergey Bagapsh and the Abkhaz delegation laid a wreath to the monument to Simon Bolivar.

The head of Abkhazia was accompanied by the Foreign Minister of Venezuela Nicolas Maduro and the mayor of Caracas Jorge Rodriguez.

At 12:00pm the official delegation of Abkhazia held a meeting in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela. The parties discussed issues of bilateral cooperation and draft documents that will be signed today in Caracas, Christian Bzhania said.

Thursday, 22 July 2010

If yes to Kosovo, why not Karabakh, Abkhazia and S. Ossetia

Court Says Kosovo Independence Legal, Expect More States

by Armen Hareyan

The International Court of Justice just read that the independence of Kosovo did not violate the international law. Many states are eying Serbia's lawsuit because this ruling opens door to more independnet states such as Nagorno Karabakh from Azerbaijan as well as Abkhazia and Southern Ossetia from the Republic of Georgia.

The court rejected Serbia's claim on Thrusday that Kosovo violated the international law on territorial integrity when it unilaterally declared its independence. The court's opinion was different. The president of the International Court of Justice Hisashi Owada said international law contains no "prohibition on declarations of independence."

This is the first time that on such a high level the people's right of self-determination takes precedence over another UN charter: the territorial integrity. The opposite ruling by the International Court of Justice would not change much about Kosovo's status and would rather propose to make a settlement with Serbia. The resolution is non-binding. However, this resolution is more important for other break-away regions such as Nagorno Karabakh, Abkhazia and Ossetia than Kosovo.

For example consider the case of Nagorno Karabakh. Armenia and Azerbaijan have been in a two-decade long dispute about people's right of self determination in Nagorno Karabakh. Armenia stands for the region's right to express its will in a referendum, which is also marked by the Madrid Principles set forward by the Minsk group. Azerbaijan says it will violate its territorial integrity as clearly the Armenian majority of Nagorno Karabakh will vote for independence. Thus, Armenia and Azerbaijan so far had two different opinions about which principle takes precedence, people's right of self determination or the territorial integrity of states.

Today's ruling on Kosovo clearly says that independence of a region from a state can be legal and that Kosovo's right of self-determination takes precedence over Serbia's claim of territorial integrity.

If yes to Kosovo, why not Karabakh, Abkhazia and S. Ossetia

The leaders in Nagorno Karabakh, Abkhazia and Southern Ossetia have been referencing Kosovo to make their case for independence. Now the leadership of Gerogia and Azerbaijan will have a very difficult time to explain the international community why should these people not have the right to choose their own future.

Hopefully this ruling will instead speed up the process of conflict resolution between Armenia and Azerbaijan and Georgia and its own break-away regions. Hopefully today's ruling makes the peace agreement in the Southern Caucasus one step closer with the leaders of the region looking at the matter in more realistic way.

Source: HULIQ

Kosovo's independence is legal, UN court rules

Decision in favour of Kosovo's independence could have far-reaching implications for other separatist movements

Peter Beaumont, -- Kosovo's unilateral declaration of independence from Serbia in February 2008 did not violate international law, the international court of justice (ICJ) said today in a groundbreaking ruling that could have far-reaching implications for separatist movements around the world, as well as for Belgrade's stalled EU membership talks.

The long-awaited ruling - which the court took up after a complaint to the UN from Serbia - is now likely to lead to more countries recognising Kosovo's independence and move Pristina closer to entry into the UN. At present, Kosovo's statehood is backed by 69 countries but it requires more than 100 before it can join the UN.

Announcing the decision, the court of justice president, Hisashi Owada, said international law contains no "prohibition on declarations of independence".

Although both Belgrade and Pristina had said they were confident of a ruling in their favour, speculation began to emerge a few hours before today's announcement in the Hague that the decision - which is not legally binding - had gone Kosovo's way.

Prior to the judgment, the US vice-president, Joe Biden, had made it clear that the US would not contemplate a retreat from Kosovo's newly independent status.

Key considerations that the UN's top court examined - arising out of dozens of submissions by UN member states as well as by Kosovo's own leadership - have focused on issues of sovereignty, the slim volume of precedent in international law, and how formerly large states such as the USSR broke up along administrative borders.

Serbia has continued to demand Kosovo be returned, arguing it has been the cradle of their civilisation and national identity since 1389, when a Christian army led by Serbian prince Lazar lost an epic battle to invading Ottoman forces.

The ruling is expected to have profound ramifications on the wider international stage, bolstering demands for recognition by territories as diverse as Northern Cyprus, Somaliland, Nagorno-Karabakh, South Ossetia, Abkhazia and Transnistria.

The ICJ's ruling is not, however, expected to have an immediate impact on the situation on the ground in Kosovo, where a small area with a Serb majority has itself split away around the north of the town of Mitrovica, which has about 100,000 residents. That deadlock has sometimes erupted into violence, despite intense international efforts, with Serbs and Kosovans running their own areas.

Kosovo sparked sharp debate worldwide when it seceded from Serbia in 2008, following the bloody 1998-99 war and almost a decade of international administration. The 1998-99 war, triggered by a brutal crackdown by Serb forces against Kosovo's separatist ethnic Albanians, left about 10,000 ethnic Albanians dead before ending after a 78-day Nato bombing campaign. Hundreds of Serbs were also killed in retaliatory attacks.

Today's ruling will reinforce Kosovo's resistance to any kind of renegotiation - particularly over the status of the Serb majority areas in the north.

Kosovo's foreign minister, Skender Hyseni, said before the ruling that reopening negotiations was "inconceivable".

Speaking yesterday, the Serbian foreign minister, Vuk Jeremic, had warned that even in the event of a ruling against it, Belgrade would not be ready to give up its claim on Kosovo.

"Serbia will not change its position regarding Kosovo's unilateral declaration of independence and necessity of a compromise," he said. "Our fight for such a solution will probably be long and difficult, but we will not give up."

Jeremic, who was in The Hague for the ruling, had said earlier that he expected the decision to vindicate Serbia, which would lead to new negotiations on both sides.

A US state department legal adviser, Harold Koh, said: "Serbia seeks an opinion by this court that would turn back time ... [and] undermine the progress and stability that Kosovo's declaration has brought to the region."Leading the other side of the argument is Serbia's traditional ally Russia, which has fought against its own separatist movement in Chechnya. Moscow has demanded Kosovo's independence be annulled, and last year was joined in its opposition by Spain and China, each also facing major secessionist movements.

Source: Guardian

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Abkhazia, S Ossetia, Nicaragua to sign important documents

MEXICO CITY, July 21 (Itar-Tass) - A number of important documents concerning the development of relations with Nicaragua are to be signed by the leaders of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, Eduard Kokoity and Sergei Bagapsh, who are currently in that Central American country on a visit at the invitation of President Daniel Ortega.

During the talks, government officials from the Transcaucasian republics, who are accompanying Kokoity and Bagapsh, considered bilateral cooperation-related matters. The prepared documents are to be signed shortly during President Ortega's meeting with the leaders of South Ossetia and Abkhazia.

Abkhazia is expected to sign treaties on friendship and cooperation and on visa-free travel. The sides have prepared agreements on economic interaction, transportation by air, merchant shipping, and a Memorandum of Understanding between the Central banks of the two republics.

For its part, South Ossetia intends to sign a Joint Declaration with Nicaragua. In the Declaration the sides will reaffirm their readiness for a further development of relations. Prepared for signature are also a treaty of friendship and economic cooperation, and an agreement on visa-free travel between the two countries.

Source: Itar-Tass

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

World Vision peace forum unites children and youth around a common vision

By Patricia Mouamar - July 20, LEBANON - Children from Lebanon, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Abkhazia met to celebrate their vision of peace and learn from each other’s experiences during World Vision’s first regional children and youth peace forum held in Lebanon.

More than 30 children and youth came together from different ethnic, cultural and religious backgrounds to take part in the forum activities. Their countries have experienced either internal conflict like Bosnia and Herzegovina, cross-border conflict like Abkhazia, or both - as in the situation of Lebanon. For those children peace is not just the ability to play football freely, nor a responsibility left for grown-ups to handle.

“Peace is relationship,” said 14-year-old Aia, from Abkhazia. “When you have good relationships you cannot fall into conflict. All children [at the camp] had lived some sort of conflict, some are based on religious reasons, some on politics, but despite that, our role is to get together and say NO to tears, to wars and destructions.”

“Peace is not to have discrimination, hatred, humiliation and anger; it is like a little tree that needs to be watered with love, generosity, solidarity,” said 15-year-old George, from Lebanon. “A child is peace,” he added.

Children were inspired by their peers and the work they have done such as creating the Children’s Council in Lebanon, the book its members wrote about children’s rights and a song they recorded about living in peace. They listened to one another as they talked about their experiences, difficulties and challenges.

“We don’t have children councils in Bosnia, nor such kinds of activities,” said 13-year-old Amina from Bosnia. “We don’t do any of this. I would like to talk about this with my friends back home and maybe do some of these activities.”

“When I go home, I want to pass my ideas of building peace not war,” said 13-year-old Malik, from Bosnia. “My friends may laugh at the idea of peace building; they think that others just want war, but having a camp [forum, like this] would help them understand.”
“Children were communicating among each other as if they knew each other for ages,” said Ali, a youth volunteer with World Vision programmes.

Children also celebrated tolerance and diversity during a cultural night where they performed traditional dances, songs and played music from their own countries.

In many countries around the world, World Vision aims to support and empower children as peace builders in their communities. In Lebanon, the Children’s Council project is equipping children with tools, knowledge and skills to involve them in influencing their communities and peers to contribute to a more just, peaceful and tolerant society.

“Children’s interaction was very touching, especially in a country where people think that children are divided the same way adults are,” said Patricio Cuevas Parra, World Vision Advocacy Director in Lebanon.

The forum was funded by the Eagle Down Foundation and World Vision Switzerland.

Saturday, 17 July 2010

Minister of Education considers expedient merger of some village schools

July 16, SUKHUM, Abkhazia -- The Minister of Education Indira Vardania declared.

Small schools work in 20 villages of the republic.

“There are villages with two, and at times - three schools, and the number of pupils does not exceed 70”, Vardania said.

The Minister of Education drew attention to the fact that in the village of Jashtkhua of the Sukhum district two schools with 118 pupils function today, in the village of Eshera there are two schools where no more than 20 pupils study. Two schools are in the village of Primorskoye of the Gudauta district, two schools with 70 pupils are in the village of Kulanurkhua, two schools are in the village of Pakuash of the Ochamchira district.

“We share the opinion of our intellectuals that a village lives until the school lives, but small schools are not a solution. Merger of schools in the country will make it possible to solve problems of shortage of teachers of some disciplines and equipping with training and material resources”, Indira Vardania believes.

Prime Minister Sergey Shamba received representatives of Jordanian Business Circles

15 July, SUKHUM, Abkhazia -- Prime Minister Sergey Shamba received representatives of business circles of Jordan, the Prime Minister’s Press Secretary Ruben Migranyan said.

“The possibility of foreign investments penetration and creation of joint ventures in the Republic of Abkhazia was discussed at the meeting. The guests were interested in the possibilities of developing business in different spheres of economy, communications, state guarantees for investments and so on”, Migranyan specified.

The Prime Minister acquainted businessmen with the priority areas of the national economy, home market needs and its possible development. Sergey Shamba called Jordanian businessmen to cooperate, reaffirming Abkhazia’s interest in the development of mutually beneficial contacts. Businessmen from Jordan also expressed their interest in cooperation.

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

President Bagapsh: ''Adressing Abkhaz Diasporas in Turkey, Syria and Western Europe is important''

July 7, SUKHUM, Abkhazia -- Work with Abkhaz Diasporas in Turkey, Syria and Western European countries, establishment of strong contacts with cultural organizations of compatriots, creation of favorable conditions for their repatriation to the historical Motherland is an important area of foreign policy activities of the Republic of Abkhazia, President Sergey Bagapsh declared today, delivering to the Parliament his annual message on the state of affairs in the country.

“We face the task of working out a state concept on the problem of repatriation, including the fine-tuning of mechanisms of social, cultural and political adaptation of repatriates in the environment new to them”, he said. “From the point of view of intensification of contacts with compatriots and the process of their return, opening of direct sea and air communication with the Turkish Republic is one of the top priorities since that would simplify communication with the historical Motherland for many our compatriots”.
At the same time, according to the President, Abkhazia continues to participate actively in the Community For Democracy and Rights of Nations. The emphasis is placed on the sphere of political, cultural and socio-economic relations with the member-countries of this interstate association.

“We are vitally interested in maintaining stability and solid peace in the Caucasian region, in its socio-economic and political development. Forming a friendly environment and strengthening good-neighborliness on the principles of respect of sovereignty and territorial integrity is of key value for our country. Abkhazia's neighborhood with the Russian Federation creates favorable conditions for overcoming isolation from the outer world, for dynamical, peaceful development and prosperity”, the President of Abkhazia declared.

GDP per capita in Abkhazia is higher than in Moldova, Uzbekistan, Kirghizia, Mongolia

July 7, SUKHUM, Abkhazia -- GDP per capita in Abkhazia is higher than in such countries as Moldova, Uzbekistan, Kirghizia, Mongolia, Laos, Myanma, Tajikistan, as well as almost all African states, except for three ones, the Minister of Economy of Abkhazia Christina Ozgan believes.

Today for the first time the State Statistics Department has submitted to the republic leadership GDP of Abkhazia for 2009 that amounts RUB 15 billion 676 million 584 thousand. GDP per capita amounts RUB 72 thousand 543.

“Much work has been done, and I want to say, that taking into account these circumstances, we have certain prospects. This indicator will make it possible to trace back our macroeconomic policy in very many aspects”, Christina Ozgan said. According to the Minister of Economy, calculation of such indicators, as a share of GDP budget deficit, stock of money in per cent, velocity of money, level of taxation, energy intensity, metal consumption is to be done.

Grand opening of a sports hall held in Ochamchira

July 7, SUKHUM, Abkhazia -- Grand opening of a sports hall was held in Ochamchira. It was attended by President Sergey Bagapsh, Vice-President Alexander Ankvab, the "Abhazsstroi” head Ruslan Tvanba, representatives of district Administration, townspeople and, certainly, children, young athletes for whose sake much work had been done to restore the sports hall.

RUB 20 mln was spent on the repair that had lasted for a year and a half. The basketball court, stands, three shower cabins had been overhauled. Independent power supply had been installed in the hall.

A duty of honor to cut the ribbon was conferred to Vice-President Alexander Ankvab and one of the Ochamchira sports school pupils.

“There is no other sports hall like this anywhere in Abkhazia. It is possible to hold republican tournaments and competitions on an international scale here”, Bagapsh said. He said that similar halls would be built in Gudauta, Gagra, Sukhum.

“The development of sports favors nation's health. We will focus a great attention on it henceforth”, he stressed.

The President pointed to the Vice-President Alexander Ankvab's special role who had supervised the sports hall reconstruction personally.

The head of Ochamchira district administration Murman Dzhopua said the district that had been damaged much during the 1992-1993 Patriotic War of the Abkhaz nation, had received much aid over the last 4-5 years, the government placed high emphasis on its development.

In honor of sports hall opening basketball teams of Sukhum and the village of Tamysh of the Ochamchira district played an unofficial match.

Friday, 2 July 2010

Abkhazia Will Have to Live Under International Law - Sergey Bagapsh

July 1, SUKHUM, Abkhazia -- “Abkhazia is no longer as it has been before August, 2008 events. The international recognition of independence imposes heavy responsibility on us”, President Sergey Bagapsh said at a meeting with the “United Abkhazia” activists.

Abkhazia will have to live under international law. “All disputable issues including endless housing complaints must be settled as required by the law”, he said.

The head of state lays certain hopes on the judicial system reform, qualitative improvement of its work.

According to the President, he and other members of the government receive a lot of complaints about judges’ illegal decisions, officials’ utterly rude attitude, unsatisfactory work of law enforcement bodies, violations at the border, and insults to the people coming on vacation to Abkhazia.

The President also drew attention to violations at the Georgian-Abkhaz border. “The control check we have conducted has shown that money has been illegally taken from a man when he crossed the border on the river Ingur. Another shift has taken money from him when he came back”, Bagapsh said with indignation.

The President promised to establish order there till the end of his second term in office with support from his associates.

Touching upon the country’s budget, he said, the following year it would possibly increase for RUB 500 mln.

“We owe much to our people. Increase of the budget will give us the chance to increase their salaries, benefits and other social payments. First of all it applies to disabled veterans, orphans, mothers who have lost their sons. Our teachers’ salaries are inadmissibly low”, Bagapsh said. “At the expense of what can we boost salaries? Certainly, at the expense of the increase of the budget, at the expense of the development of economy, creation of industry, transit, re-export. And we have a lot of such programs.

Source: AbkhaziaGov.

Sergey Bagapsh Supports Multi-party Political System in Abkhazia

July 1, SUKHUM, Abkhazia -- President Sergey Bagapsh supports multi-party political system in Abkhazia. “The political system of Abkhazia must be based on a multi-party system. We are now in the situation when the necessity of changes in the political system of the country has become obvious. There should be three-four parties in Abkhazia, competing with each other in a civilized manner, struggling for power legally, politically”, President Sergey Bagapsh said at a meeting with the “United Abkhazia” activists.

“Like it or not, but we have and will have both a party that has won, and oppositional political forces. We will have to take it as a given”, the Head of State said.

At the same time Bagapsh also emphasized the enormous responsibility of the party, whose candidate wins the presidential election.

Source: AbkhaziaGov.