TBILISI SEEKS TO SPEED UP INTEGRATION INTO NATO

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TBILISI SEEKS TO SPEED UP INTEGRATION INTO NATO

Nezavisimaya Gazeta, March 26, 2003, EV

According to the RBC agency, the Georgian State Chancellery stated that “an accelerated procedure of joining NATO” will be discussed in April, when NATO Secretary-General George Robertson visits Tbilisi. Tbilisi thinks that Shevardnadze and Robertson will also discuss the problem of combating Al Qaida’s terrorists hiding in the Pankissi Gorge, and the Abkhazian conflict. NATO does not confirm or deny this information. Representatives of the alliance refuse to comment on this statement at all. As far as “an accelerated procedure of join in NATO” is concerned, representatives of the alliance say that Brussels is ready to discuss only a plan of individual partnership between Georgia and NATO. In the prospects, a national program aimed at integrating Georgia into the alliance will be created on the basis of this document.

Experts note that the program of integration, which would allow Georgia to receive an official status of a candidate-nation, must include military, political, economic, and social requirements to potential members of the alliance. Tbilisi can only join NATO if it meets all requirements.

FAGLI, FBGS LIVE ACCORDING TO DECREES

Nezavisimaya Gazeta, March 25, 2003, EV

The Russian president’s decrees on reforming some security structures were published on March 24. In addition, the Duma receives bills arising from these decrees. It should be noted the decrees were signed on March 11 and issued on March 22. This confirms Nezavisimaya Gazeta’s theory that the Presidential Administration was improving the documents during this period.

Another indirect fact, which confirms this theory is that the FAGLI’s functions will be divided between the FSB, the Foreign Intelligence Service, and the Federal Service for the Protection of Public Officials; not between the FSB and the Defense Ministry. The FSB director will be renamed the head of the FSB. It is not ruled out that Russia will soon have the federal security minister.

The president commission the government with preparing other bills required for carrying out the reform, including a bill, which will make amendments to the 2003 budget, by May 1. Deputies have received a proposal to consider the bills as soon as possible because Vladimir Putin’s initiatives are to come into force on July 1, 2003.

BEREZOVSKY IS SURE HE WILL NOT BE EXTRADITED

Nezavisimaya Gazeta, March 26, 2003, EV

Russian businessman Boris Berezovsky and Yuly Dubov, one of the leaders of the LogoVAZ company, were arrested by London police on Monday. The Russian General Prosecutor’s Office said that Berezovsky and Dubov were summoned to the UK Interior Ministry “where they were arrested and released on bail of 100,000 pounds”. The Russian General Prosecutor’s Office said that the UK Interior Ministry arrested the businessmen owing to Russia’s request to extradite Berezovsky and Dubov.

Boris Berezovsky said on Echo of Moscow Radio on Tuesday that the UK received an extradition warrant for him. However, he is sure that he will not be extradited to the Russian Federation. He said: “I am sure the Russian Prosecutor’s Office has not presented new evidence against me. I was not arrested.” Berezovsky said that five days ago his lawyer told him that the UK had received an extradition warrant for him. The lawyer also said that he and Yuly Dubov were summoned by police. Berezovsky said: “We came to the police, they showed us a warrant and asked what we thought about it. I said that this is a politically-motivated case.”

IN THE FEDERATION COUNCIL

Parlamentskaya Gazeta, March 26, 2003, EV

At a meeting yesterday, the council of the upper house considered a range of questions connected with the Federation Council’s activities.

Valery Goreglyad, first deputy speaker of the Federation Council, said that the council decided to address the council of the lower house with a proposal to resume the ratification of the US-Russian agreement on strategic nuclear weapons. He noted: “We proceed from the fact that this agreement coincides with Russia’s national interests. We think that the political situation in the world is not an excuse of our colleagues’ unwillingness to consider this issue.”

Mikhail Margelov announced the position of the international committee of the Federation Council. He said that the council of the upper house made a wise decision. The agreement on strategic nuclear weapons is a very important document for the Russian Federation because we need additional security guarantees after Washington’s unilateral withdrawal from ABM. Mikhail Margelov thinks that thanks to this agreement Russia will be able to strengthen its strategic stability at a cheaper price.

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