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Russian soldier jailed for spying for Georgia

by Staff Writers
Moscow (AFP) Dec 29, 2009
A Russian military court has jailed a soldier for eight years for spying for Georgia, the Interfax news agency reported Tuesday.

The court in Russia's North Caucasus region, which borders Georgia, found Badri Kushashvili guilty of "high treason by means of espionage", an Interfax reporter present at the judgment said.

"Instructed by the Georgian secret service, Koushashvili obtained military intelligence in North Caucasus that amounted to state secrets, and passed it on to the Georgian secret service," the agency reported.

Russian courts have made a number of such rulings since the brief war between Russia and Georgia in August 2008.

Fighting erupted when Russian forces poured into Georgia to repel a Georgian military attempt to retake the separatist region of South Ossetia.

The conflict ended after five days with Tbilisi's defeat and Moscow recognising South Ossetia and Abkhazia -- another separatist region of Georgia -- as independent states.

Tensions between Moscow and Tbilisi have eased recently. On Thursday the land border re-opened between the two countries and on Monday Russia authorised the first direct flights from Georgia since the war.

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US seeks to relaunch Mideast peace talks: diplomats
Cairo (AFP) Dec 28, 2009
The United States is drafting two letters of guarantee for Israel and the Palestinians to serve as a basis for the relaunch of stalled Middle East peace talks, Arab and Western diplomats in Cairo said. "US special envoy George Mitchell will present two draft letters of guarantee, one for Israel and one to the Palestinian Authority during his next visit to the region," one Arab diplomat told ... read more

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