The News in Brief
Friday, February 15
Six Georgians in Yerevan plane crash
Six Georgian citizens were onboard a plane that crashed in Yerevan yesterday. There were no deaths among the 21 people onboard the Canadian-built CRJ-100, operated by the Belarusian airline Belavia.
The plane reportedly caught fire upon takeoff and crashed close to the airport.
None of the Georgians onboard were seriously injured, according to the Georgian consul in Armenia, Givi Sharangia.
US Senate committee adopts resolution backing Georgian NATO MAP
The US Senate foreign relations committee has adopted a resolution that calls for Georgia and Ukraine to be given a NATO Membership Action Plan (MAP) “as soon as possible.”
The resolution notes the progress made by Georgian and Ukraine in the areas of defense, democratic and human rights reform.
“The United States should take the lead in supporting awarding Membership Action Plans to Georgia and Ukraine as soon as possible,” it reads.
NGO demands disability benefits
The Human Rights Center NGO began a campaign for disabled people’s rights on February 14.
The NGO is pressing the government to reinstate disabled benefits. The campaign kicked off in the eastern province of Kakheti.
The NGO said if their demand is not met they will organize street protests.
Georgian and German foreign ministers discuss visa procedures
Georgian Foreign Minister David Bakradze discussed simplifying visa regimes between Germany and Georgian with German counterpart Frank-Walter Steinmeier at a meeting of EU and Black Sea Economic Cooperation Organization foreign ministers in Kiev on February 14.
The sides also discussed bilateral relations between the two countries and prospects for future cooperation.
The meeting focused on Georgia’s progress in integrating into Euro-Atlantic structures and the implementation of the European Neighborhood Policy action plan.
Putin ready to meet Saakashvili at end of February
Russian President Vladimir Putin is ready to meet Georgian counterpart Mikheil Saakashvili at the CIS informal summit in Moscow on February 22, according to the news agency RIA Novosti.
“Mikhail Nikolayevich and I always meet each other at every given opportunity, at all CIS forums. And if he accepts our invitation and arrives on February 22 then we will meet, of course,” Putin said at a press conference yesterday.
“We never avoid discussion of topical, acute, current economic, political or social problems. We usually discuss practically all the issues on the agenda. This time will be the same,” he continued.
(Black Sea Press)
Lithuania ready to simplify visa regime with Georgia
Lithuania is ready to simplify its visa regime for Georgia, especially for diplomatic passport holders, the Foreign Ministry has said.
Foreign Minister Davit Bakradze met his Lithuanian counterpart Petras Vaitiekunas on February 13 at the EU and BSEC meeting of foreign ministers in Kiev. The pair discussed bilateral relations and ways of deepening relations in the energy sector.
Georgian Academy pressing for referendum on governmental system
The Georgian Academy, a self-described lobby group for the Georgian intelligentsia, is pressing for a referendum on the governmental system, representatives said on February 13.
“Georgian Academy proposes conducting a referendum at the same time as parliamentary elections scheduled for spring in Georgia. The question of which governmental system is preferable, presidential or parliamentary, should be put to the people,” a representative said.
(Black Sea Press)