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The News in Brief

Friday, March 14
Opposition outlines conflict settlement plan

On March 12 opposition leaders Giorgi Maisashvili, of the Party of the Future, and Giorgi Topadze, of the Industrialists, presented their vision for settling the conflict in Abkhazia to President Mikheil Saakashvili.

“I propose forming a special negotiation group which will comprise independent persons without political leanings who can hold a dialogue with the Abkhaz side and offer them concrete political and economic projects,” Maisashvili told journalists after the meeting.

Topadze proposed increasing Georgian business activity in the breakaway region.

“We must show that we do not want hostility, we want to develop business and make friends with [the separatists]. The Abkhaz people are afraid that we shall take revenge. But if we enter Abkhazia by means of investment [we will show we want friendship],” he said.

Saakashvili reiterated his statement last week that the government and opposition should unite on matters of territorial integrity.

“Despite the political differences and despite the fact that we may disagree on some issues, there are issues that can not be a source of dispute between us… Those who understand this, they are real patriots and have the future in our country. This is true. I am ready to listen to your views on these issues,” Saakashvili said on March 12. (Black Sea Press)

NATO official: NATO has not made a decision on Georgia and Ukraine

NATO has not make a decision on the accession of Georgia and Ukraine to the alliance, NATO representative James Appathurai told journalists.

“We had a discussion at the ministerial level… But no decision was made,” he said at a video press conference organized by the news agency RIA Novosti, adding that discussions were ongoing.

“NATO’s door is open for European democracies, but the countries [interested] must meet [NATO] standards,” he said.

Appathurai also said that the alliance takes Russia’s views into account. “We take into consideration Russia’s opinion, but only NATO members can make a decision on this issue. The question is whether new countries are ready to meet our requirements,” Appathurai said. (Black Sea Press)

Freedom Party loses 24 members

24 members of the Freedom Party have left and joined the recently established Christian Democratic Party, the press center of the Freedom Party confirmed.

The Christian Democratic Party was founded by former Imedi TV anchor Giorgi Targamadze in February. (Black Sea Press)

Burjanadze and New Rights spat on media access to hunger strikers

Parliamentary Speaker Nino Burjanadze and New Rights Party representatives clashed over apparent restrictions on media access to hunger strikers camped out in the lobby of her office yesterday.

MP Manana Nachkebia was reportedly prevented from taking a photograph of New Rights Party protestors by Burjanadze’s personal security, prompting complaints from the party representatives.

Burjandadze said the party representatives were simply making a noise to attract more attention.

“The authorities are trying to break us morally, but we do not intend to back down,” New Rights leader Davit Gamkrelidze said. (Prime News)

65 MPs support Patriarch TV

65 MPs support a proposal to hand over the second channel of the Georgian Public Broadcaster (GPB) to the office of Catholicos-Patriarch of All Georgia Ilia II, National Christian Movement leader Giorgi Andriadze and MP Bezhan Khurtidze said at a press conference.

Andriadze said the party appealed to the board of the GPB with the proposal and that 65 MPs have registered their support for the proposal. (Prime News)

PM meets president of Azerbaijan

Prime Minister Lado Gurgenidze met Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev on a trip to Baku yesterday.

The pair discussed developing cooperation between the two countries and emphasized the importance of increasing official visits between them.

Gurgenidze also met with his Azerbaijani counterpart Artur Rasizadeh, and president of the state oil company of Azerbaijan, Rovnag Abdullayev. (Prime News)

Industrialists support boycott of parliamentary elections

Members of the parliamentary faction the Industrialists said they support Labor leader Shalva Natelashvili’s call for a boycott of the forthcoming parliamentary elections.

Zurab Tkemaladze, a leader of the Industrialists, told journalists the action would be worthwhile if a joint decision to boycott the elections is made by the opposition.

Tkemaladze also said he supports the demands of the opposition but not with the hunger strike. (Prime News)