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The News in Brief

Tuesday, January 15
Lado Gurgenidze leaves for Austria

Prime Minister Lado Gurgenidze left for Austria on January 14 to meet OSCE secretary general Marc Perrin de Brichambaut, according to the press department of the State Chancellery. The prime minister is due to deliver a speech at a conference on Central and Eastern Europe. (Prime News)

Saakashvili celebrates ‘Old New Year’ with refugees and the elderly

Mikheil Saakashvili, the newly re-elected president of Georgia, visited a soup kitchen in Tbilisi’s Gldani district to celebrate Old New Year with the elderly on January 13. Saakashvili discussed the recent presidential election, expressing gratitude toward his supporters. He also said the election was the most democratic Georgia has seen.

“No one can stop democratic processes in Georgia,” Saakashvili stated.

The ruling party leader also visited a refugee settlement near Tbilisi Sea, where IDPs from Abkhazia and South Ossetia reside, to wish them a happy New Year. (Prime News)

195 Convicts are pardoned

Acting president Nino Burjanadze signed a decree pardoning 195 convicts, the press department of the Ministry of Justice announced on January 14. Among those pardoned were 19 women and 10 juveniles. Over the past two weeks 410 prisoners have been pardoned, including former opposition MP Irakli Batiashvili, former chairman of state audit agency Sulkhan Molashvili and former energy minister David Mirtskhulava. (Black Sea Press)

“Moscow-Tbilisi” concert to be held in Moscow

A festive concert entitled “Moscow-Tbilisi” will be held in the Great Hall of the Moscow international music house on January 19. The concert, which is organized by the Union of Georgians in Russia, will celebrate Christmas and New Year.

A number of Russian and Georgian celebrities are due to appear, including the Golden Fleece ensemble. The celebrations will be opened by fashion designer Bakur Bakuradze.

“We hope the party will be unforgettable for everybody who loves Georgia, its culture, and who respects its many centuries-old traditions and the good neighborly relations of the Georgian and Russian peoples,” said a spokesman for the Union of Georgians in Russia. (Black Sea Press)

Bagapsh says dialogue with Saakashvili not feasible

Sergey Bagapsh, de facto president of the breakaway region of Abkhazia, says that a dialogue with Mikheil Saakashvili, the confirmed winner of the January 5 presidential election, is unfeasible.

“If any other candidate had won the elections, resumption of a dialogue would be possible on any issue apart from the status of Abkhazia within Georgia, but dialogue with Saakashvili is unfeasible on any issue,” the news agency Interfax quoted Baghapsh as saying.

He also said that the presidential election would have no influence on life in Abkhazia. “The Georgian election means nothing for Abkhazia, because Georgia is a neighboring state,” Bagapsh stated. (Prime News)

Sandra Roelofs meets Georgian diaspora in Baku

Sandra Roelofs, wife of president-elect Mikheil Saakashvili, met with Georgian Diaspora members on a recent visit to Baku, according to the news agency Trend.

Rafael Gvaladze, chair of the Georgian Community in Azerbaijan, gave a brief speech on the history of the Georgian Diaspora and thanked the state and people of Azerbaijan for their tolerance toward Georgians in the county.

“Georgians have the same rights as Azerbaijanis in taking active participation in Azerbaijani life,” he said. Roelofs was congratulated on the re-election of Mikheil Saakashvili. (Prime News)