Archive for Georgia
Even skilled diplomats sometimes stumble, especially when they think the microphones are off. U.S. Ambassador Richard Norland in the former Soviet republic of Georgia found himself sputtering in outrage over comments he made earlier this month to students at Tbilisi State University in the capital of the Black Sea nation. “This was a discussion with students. Actually it was off the record, and it was [a] secret recording,” he said in remarks posted on the U.S. Embassy website. Mr. Norland suggested the quotes that appeared in the Georgian media were taken out of content, but the damage was done. In his Nov. 15 address at the university, he complained about how the Georgian government treated residents of the breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, which have been restive since the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union. Responding to a student’s question about his opinion of the cauldron of tension in the region, Mr. Norland said: “If you ask me about my opinion, I can tell you that when I was in Georgia 20 years ago, I saw that Georgians were treating Abkhazians and Ossetians the same way as Russians were treating Georgians, and Georgia will have to apologize for mistakes of the past.” His remarks sparked protests from opposition politicians, while the government tried to play down the ambassador’s gaffe.
New York-based DelShah Capital LLC is seeking buyers for the Embassy of Georgia building at 2209 Massachusetts Ave. NW as it plans its exit from D.C.’s commercial real estate market. DelShah has retained Greysteel LLC to market the historic 9,000-square-foot building by R and 22nd streets NW as an investment property. The Georgian Embassy is locked into a lease through January 2016, and the building is generating net operating income of about $288,900, according to Greysteel marketing data. Greysteel is marketing 2209 Mass to groups including other embassies. Built in 1911, the building was previously home to the United Arab Emirates and the Ukraine.
Georgia, a small state in the South Caucasus, recently opened an embassy in Jakarta. Indonesia’s trade, according to the Central Statistics Agency (BPS), has been growing in double digits. In 2012, bilateral trade between the two countries surged to US$58.75 million, a 41.69 percent increase from $40.93 million in 2011.
Temur Yakobashvili, who has served as Georgia’s ambassador to the United States for past two years, said he was going to resign. “I am sure that Georgia’s new government should be represented in Washington by a new ambassador,” Yakobashvili wrote on his Facebook page. Yakobashvili, who was State Minister for Reintegration from January, 2008 till November, 2010, said he had already informed the Foreign Ministry about his decision to step down and added that he would spend next few months in “civilized transfer” of duties.
Georgia’s Interior Ministry is looking into a foreign trace in the search for those responsible for placing a bomb in front of Israel’s Embassy in Tbilisi in February. There are no further details about the investigation. On February 13, police reported about finding an artificial explosive device under the car of the embassy’s chauffeur, Roman Khachaturian. The interior ministry said the bomb was immediately deactivated. The same day a bomb exploded outside Israel’s Embassy in Delhi in India.
Georgia’s breakaway region Abkhazia has opened an embassy in Nicaragua. According to Apsnypress, Abkhazia’s ambassador to Venezuela, Zaur Gvajava, will also take on the function as ambassador to Nicaragua. Nicaragua will help Abkhazians in their relations with other countries and will offer support in their attempts at getting recognition for Abkhazia’s independence, Zaur Gvajava said. He notes that a so-called foreign affairs delegation will arrive from 20 to 27 May and sign an agreement about visa-freedom. “The document is already prepared and only signatures are necessary.” Also Georgia’s other breakaway region, South Ossetia, have opened an embassy in Nicaragua, thereby establishing diplomatic relations. Ambassador will be Namir Kozayev, who is also ambassador to Venezuela. Officials in Tbilisi say nothing has changed legally by this. On August 26, after a five-day war in August 2008, Russia recognized the independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. In total, five countries have recognized the separatist regions. Nicaragua was first to follow Russia on September 5, 2008. The President of Venezuela followed suit in September 2009, and after him, the Pacific island states of Nauru and Vanuatu. The Republic of Vanuatu is located on 83 islands in the Pacific Ocean. Its area is 12 000 square kilometers, and the population was 243 000 in 2009. In the western part of the Pacific is Nauru with a population of 14 000.
Israeli diplomats were targeted by bomb attacks in Delhi and Tbilisi on Monday, officials said, with two people injured in New Delhi when an embassy car exploded in a ball of fire. The car which blew up in a high security area of central Delhi, a short distance from the Israeli embassy and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s official residence, was badly burnt. Police in the Georgian capital defused an explosive device found in the car of an Israeli embassy employee, the ex-Soviet state’s interior ministry said. Israeli embassy spokesman in New Delhi David Goldfarb said that one of the injured occupants of the car was an Israeli diplomat but declined to comment further. An Israeli security official said the diplomat was a woman. Indian police cordoned off the area surrounding the burnt-out station wagon and investigators were at the site. Israeli foreign ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor told in Jerusalem that Israeli authorities were investigating the blast in New Delhi as well as the incident Tbilisi. “We are looking into both of these incidents and cooperating with the local law enforcement agencies,” Palmor said. The attacks came between the anniversaries of the deaths of two top Hezbollah militants, Imad Mughniyeh and Abbas Mussawi, which spark annual travel warnings from the Israeli government. Top Hezbollah commander Mughniyeh was killed in a car bombing in Damascus on February 12, 2008, while Mussawi, the group’s secretary general, was killed by an Israeli missile on February 16, 1992. Both attacks were blamed on Israel and sparked vows of revenge from the Shiite militia group.