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The News in Brief

Tuesday, March 11

Christian-Democratic Party protest Russia sanctions decision

The Christian Democratic Party held a protest outside the Russian Embassy in Tbilisi yesterday protesting Russia’s decision to lift economic sanctions on Abkhazia.

“We protest the decision of the Russian Federation on Abkhazia, which is provocative and destructive. The Russian government should know that even though the Georgian opposition has serious disagreements with the government, there are issues such as territorial integrity on which society stands firm,” Giorgi Targamadze, leader of the Christian Democratic Party, said. (Prime News)

Student newspaper to be presented at Sokhumi University

The student newspaper Message was presented at Sokhumi University in Tbilisi yesterday, according to the press department of the Tbilisi-backed government-in-exile.

Officials from the government-in-exile, MPs and university representatives attended the event, which included a concert performed by Georgian musicians. (Prime News)

Targamadze claims ethnic Georgians’ rights violated in Azerbaijan

Giorgi Targamadze, leader of the recently formed Christian Democratic Party, claims ethnic Georgians’ rights are being violated in Azerbaijan. The former Imedi TV anchor was arrested and briefly detained when he visited the Qax region of Azerbaijan last week to meet local Georgians.

“Georgians residing in Qax are limited in their rights. They cannot move freely, or receive education in the Georgian language,” Targamadze said at a news conference on March 8.

“Those citizens are also deprived of the right to attend the Orthodox Church,” he added.

“Given the current attitude among the Georgian people and our government toward ethnic Azeris living in Georgia, the way Georgians are treated in Azerbaijan is absolutely unacceptable,” he concluded. (Black Sea Press)

Georgians arrested in Ukraine on suspicion of kidnapping

Two Georgian citizens have been arrested in Dnepropetrovsk, Ukraine on suspicion of kidnapping a Ukrainian businessman.

Alexander Turchin was held hostage for several hours by a group demanding USD 300 000 from his family to secure his release before he was freed in a police operation. (Black Sea Press)

German ambassador visits western Georgia

German Ambassador to Georgia Patricia Flor will visit Imereti, Guria and Samegrelo-Zemo Svaneti provinces in western Georgia from March 12–14, according to the press department of the German Embassy.

The ambassador will observe joint Georgian-German cultural and economic projects in the provinces and will present new equipment to the Georgian-German center in Kutaisi on March 12.

She is also due to meet Samegrelo-Zemo Svaneti governor Zaza Zoidze and will deliver a lecture on conflict resolution issues at the Zugdidi resource center. (Black Sea Press)

Natelashvili: Lifting embargo on Abkhazia means losing territory

Russia’s lifting of economic sanctions on Abkhazia means Georgia will lose this territory, Labor leader Shalva Natelashvili said at a press conference yesterday.

“[President] Mikheil Saakashvili should have the courage to resign, as if he takes any rash decisions Russia will recognize independence of Abkhazia in response,” Natelashvili said.

On March 7, the Russian Foreign Ministry released a statement announcing Russia’s withdrawal of a 1996 Commonwealth of Independent States treaty that bans links with the separatist authorities. (Prime News)

Oil tanker washed ashore returns to port

An oil tanker that ran aground at Makhinjauri in Adjara province has been towed to a nearby harbor, Environment Minister Zaza Gamtsemlidze told journalists yesterday.

The Georgian tanker ran aground during a storm on February 21 and leaked oil for a short time afterward.

“The coast and the sea itself have been cleaned of oil. All the necessary tests have been conducted and no threat is posed to the public. Makhinjauri can receive visitors safely,” Gamtsemlidze said.

The operation to take the boat to harbor was carried out with the assistance of US specialists from Florida and with Ukrainian equipment. The tanker will be taken to Turkey for repairs. (Black Sea Press)

Workers at sewing factory on strike

Workers at a sewing factory in Makhinjauri went on strike yesterday accusing factory management of violating their rights.

They are demanding better working conditions and higher salaries, and claim that they are frequently verbally abused by management staff.

Trade union representatives are in talks with management. The factory, owned by a Turkish businessman, was officially opened by President Saakashvili two years ago. (Prime News)