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Prepared by Diana Dundua
Wednesday, December 26

“Georgian winemakers want to restart negotiations with Russian sanitation agency”

Akhali Taoba reports that the union of Georgian wine producers will push to restart talks with Rospotrebnadzor, the Russian sanitary inspection agency, on reopening the Russian market to Georgian wine exports.

Union chairman Levan Koberidze says they have written an official letter to send to the Russian agency’s head.

The letter includes details on the Russian embargo placed on Georgian wine in March 2006, ostensibly for health concerns, and lays out the case for why the embargo should be reconsidered.

“I hope the Russian side will agree to holding negotiations,” Koberidze said.

“One more journalist left Imedi TV”

Another political news anchor has left Imedi TV, the network founded by billionaire presidential candidate Badri Patarkatsishvili, Sakartvelos Respublika writes.

Sopo Mosidze left the station for the TBC production company, Imedi director general Bidzina Baratishvili confirmed.

“Several days ago, Sopo Mosidze came to me and told me about her decision. As far as I know, she moved to the same analytical TBC production company where Inga Grigolia went sometime ago,” Baratashvili said on December 23.

He said the station has not decided on a replacement for Mosidze.

“Possibly nothing will change until the New Year, and then the political program director, Giorgi Targamadze, will decide on what to do,” Baratashvili added.

Sopo Mosidze, according to Sakartvelos Respublika, is the seventh journalist to leave Imedi TV since it was raided on November 7 for allegedly airing statements inciting the violent overthrow of the government.

“Incumbent Mikheil Saakashvili met with voters in Khobi region”

Sakartvelos Respublika writes on incumbent presidential candidate Mikheil Saakashvili’s continued election campaign in the regions.

On December 23 he visited Khobi, in the western region of Samegrelo.

Saakashvili promised supporters in Khobi that, if reelected, his top priority would be the restoration of Georgia’s territorial integrity.

He also pledged that Samegrelo would be the first region he visits if he wins the January 5 election.

“Elizbar Javelidze and Merab Jibladze support Shalva Natelashvili”

Labor candidate Shalva Natelashvili picked up two endorsements this week for his presidential bid, Akhali Taoba reports.

Elizbar Javelidze, leader of the political movement Century 21, and Georgian Academy member Merab Jibladze will both vote for Natelashvili in the January 5 presidential election, they announced at a December 23 press briefing.

“We are struggling against no one but the incumbent, Mikheil Saakashvili,” they said in a joint endorsement statement. “All of the other presidential candidates are promising to be at the country’s service, but for us Natelashvili’s platform seems the most realistic and acceptable. Implementing this program will rescue Georgia from poverty.”