Just about everyone knows that the FIFA World Cup football tournament gets underway June 12 in Brazil. But in a parallel football universe, a little-known tournament has already been completed, and the champion is a land that stretches across portions of France and Italy.
Georgian police on November 24 released three Russian citizens who had been detained in the vicinity of the breakaway region of South Ossetia in an apparent tit-for-tat response to the recent Russian arrest of four Georgian teenagers.
Peter Semneby, the European Union's special representative to the South Caucasus, has been in the Georgia capital, Tbilisi, for meetings with government officials, opposition members and NGOs. Semneby also visited Sukhumi, the capital of the separatist region of Abkhazia.
An agreement about the non-use of force has again surfaced in discussions between Georgia, Russia and delegations from the Moscow-backed breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. And, once again, it has become cause for deadlock.
Ethnic Georgians living in South Ossetia's contested Akhalgori District state that South Ossetian officials required them to take South Ossetian identification papers and vote in the breakaway region's May 31 legislative elections, Georgian media reported.
To register as an Internally Displaced Person (IDP) with Georgia's Ministry of Refugees and Accommodation, applicants need a residence registration document, a passport and any civil registry document that can verify their address.
It was an opening that even the most experienced negotiator could overlook. While Western diplomats and journalists still scramble for access to the disputed town of Akhalgori in breakaway South Ossetia, broken water pipes have provided a way for the area's former Georgian officials to return.