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The News in Brief

Wednesday, January 30

Bush hails Georgian democracy in State of the Union address

US President George W. Bush hailed Georgian and Ukrainian democracy in his State of the Union address on January 28.

“Our foreign policy is based on a clear premise: We trust that people, when given the chance, will choose a future of freedom and peace. In the last seven years, we have witnessed stirring moments in the history of liberty. We have seen citizens in Georgia and Ukraine stand up for their right to free and fair elections. We have seen people in Lebanon take to the streets to demand their independence. We have seen Afghans emerge from the tyranny of the Taliban to choose a new president and a new parliament. We have seen jubilant Iraqis holding up ink-stained fingers and celebrating their freedom. And these images of liberty have inspired us,” Bush said in his speech. (Prime News)

Saakashvili: election was ‘best’ in country’s history

Georgia needs the help of Russia as well as Europe, President Mikheil Saakashvili said in an interview with the television channel Euro News.

He also discussed the upcoming parliamentary elections and Georgia’s separatist conflicts in the interview.

“We believe that separatists and especially this kind of violent separatists that generates ethnic cleansing and long-standing problems for individual human beings—in our case, this is hundreds of thousands of innocent people—carries risks and threats for everybody including the Russian Federation, nobody is less vulnerable to it,” Saakashvili stated.

Saakashvili said the January presidential election was “basically the best in Georgian history.”

“The main thing was that despite all bad expectations and prognosis that were out there the pre-election period went very smoothly, very calmly, peacefully, the election was peaceful and smooth, and post-election period was very, very civilized. There were peaceful rallies, expressions of discontent, but they didn't escalate to any kind of serious upheavals or anything, that was predicted by some,” Saakashvili said. (Prime News)

Auction at environment ministry

An auction of licenses for mineral mining was held at the Ministry of Environment Protection and Natural Resources on January 29.

The ministry said 15 assets, located in Gardabani, Martvili, Ozurgeti, Marneuli, Aspindza, Baghdadi, Akhalkalaki, Ambrolauri, Dusheti, Chokhatauri, Oni, and Zugdidi were auctioned. (Prime News)

Labor leader in Vienna for treatment

Labor leader Shalva Natelashvili departed for Vienna on the morning of January 29 to seek treatment for a heart condition.

“This is not surprising. Georgia feels bad and it’s natural that I feel bad too. I love you all very much,” Natelashvili said to journalists.

He has been in hospital since January 14 and doctors in Vienna will decide whether he needs surgery or not. (Prime News)

Acting agriculture minister meets factory workers in Rustavi

Petre Tsiskarishvili, acting agriculture minister, met workers at a nitrogen factory in Rustavi on January 29. (Prime News)

Caspian Oil and Gas Trade and Transport Conference to be held in Baku in April

The second Caspian Oil and Gas Trade and Transport Conference will be held in Baku from 23–25 April, according to the Azerbaijani news agency Trend.

Over 150 businessmen and specialists from 20 countries, in addition to government representatives from Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Russia, Iran and Georgia are expected to take part in the conference.

The conference is scheduled to include discussions on the macroeconomic aspects of the Caspian Sea region development, export routes from the region and transport infrastructure. (Prime News)