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Prepared by Diana Dundua
Monday, March 17
“Mikheil Kareli’s health condition is critical”

An ally of arrested ex-minister Irakli Okruashvili, now facing criminal charges, is in desperate need of surgery, according to Akhali Taoba.

Former Shida Kartli governor Mikheil Kareli needs an operation unavailable in Georgia, says Teo Tlashadze of Movement for a United Georgia, the opposition party set up by Okruashvili before his arrest.

“Jondi Baghaturia does not want to comment on the meeting between Gogi Topadze and Mikheil Saakashvili” Leader of the populist Kartuli Dasi party Jondi Baghaturia, an opposition coalition member, told Rezonansi that opposition politicians should not be meeting with President Mikheil Saakashvili.

Former presidential candidate Gia Maisashvili and Industrialists leader Gogi Topadze met with Saakashvili on March 12 to discuss Georgia’s secessionist regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

“I think that Maisashvili should not have had dialogue with the illegitimate president, as the united opposition is against negotiations [with Saakashvili],” Baghaturia said.

Baghaturia, however, refrained from commenting on Topadze, saying only that “everyone knows Topadze cannot solve the Abkhaz issue.”

“Latvia and Georgia will begin close cooperation on environmental issues”

The environment ministries of Georgia and Latvia signed a memorandum of cooperation on environmental protection, Sakartvelos Respublika writes.

Through the five-year agreement, Latvia will give assistance to Georgia.

“Latvia is an EU member state and has already traveled the road to the European integration. Therefore, sharing their experience and their support is rather important. We should not miss the chance, since they provide a link between us and the Western states,” Minister of Environmental Protection and Natural Resources Zaza Gamtsemlidze said.

The two sides also agreed to continue cooperating in biodiversity issues and efforts to combat pollution.

“We have rich experience in developing legislation, since the level we have reached in the environment protection sphere is rather high. Therefore we are prepared to share our experience with Georgia, since we are willing for new states to join the EU,” Latvian Minister of the Environment Raimonds Vejonis reportedly said.

“Turkish grant for Georgian Navy”

Rezonansi reports that Turkey has given radar equipment to the Georgian Navy as part of a 2005 agreement.

“The Georgian navy will be equipped with modern systems,” said Georgian vice-colonel Aleksandre Osepaishvili at the handover ceremony. “Soon the equipment will be installed on military vessels by the Turkish side. They will also help us train specialists. I want to express my gratitude towards the Turkish side for their assistance.”

The Turkish military attache said that cooperation will continue in the future.

“We are always ready to assist and support our Georgian colleagues in the future to deepen cooperation between the two countries,” he said.