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The News in Brief

Tuesday, March 25

Two in critical condition after South Ossetia explosion

Two men, including one peacekeeper, injured in an explosion in breakaway South Ossetia are reported to be in critical condition at a Tskhinvali hospital.

“Inal Koliyev and Vladislav Doguzov are in rather grave condition. We hope that their lives are not in danger anymore,” said a spokesman for the hospital in the de facto secessionist capital.

Irina Gagloyeva, head of the separatist South Ossetian press and information department, says the incident is being investigated as an attack.

“We have drawn conclusions from the report of law enforcement officers working at the scene… What is obvious, is that this was a terrorist attack,” she said.

Doguzov, who has variously been reported as a North Ossetian or South Ossetian peacekeeper, was wounded together with Koliyev, linked to the South Ossetian security service, after a bomb blew up their car on March 23 near the village of Okona.

The South Ossetian press and information committee said a 400-gram bomb of dynamite destroyed the two men’s Niva, and blamed the apparent attack on Georgian forces.

Georgian State Minister for Reintegration Issues Temur Iakobashvili denied any Georgian involvement with the incident.

“De facto Tskhinvali authorities are using every method to provoke the Georgian government into making inappropriate moves. Georgia has never resorted to terrorism, and it has no need to,” he told reporters.

The South Ossetian security service said the bomb was disguised as a household item, and “passed over by a Georgian national to the men in the car at the Georgian-South Ossetian border and went off several minutes after that.”

(Black Sea Press)

Georgian MPs consider response to Russian Duma resolution

Yesterday, parliament discussed possible responses to the Russian Duma’s March 21 resolution advising increased links with Georgia’s breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

Shota Malashkhia, chair of the parliamentary temporary committee on territorial integrity issues, told reporters that Georgia will once again take its case to the international community.

He said the government is working on withdrawing Russian peacekeepers from Abkhazia and South Ossetia

In its March 21 resolution, the Duma advised their government to consider the “expediency” of recognizing the secessionist regions as independent, and pushed for increased ties and a commitment to protecting Russian citizens in the regions.

(Prime News)

EU co-rapporteurs to visit Tbilisi

Matyas Eorsi and Kastriot Islam, co-rapporteurs of Council of Europe’s monitoring committee, will visit Georgia from March 26–28.

They are scheduled to meet Speaker of Parliament Nino Burjanadze, Interior Minister Vano Merabishvili and State Minister for Reintegration Issues Temur Iakobashvili, as well as representatives of the opposition and local NGOs.

(Prime News)

Central Election Commission preparing for elections

The Central Election Commission has begun preparing for the May 21 parliamentary elections.

Its work commenced with the registration of four political parties hoping to stand in the elections, and the approval of deadlines throughout campaign season.

(Black Sea Press)

Villages cut off by avalanche in western Georgia

Several villages in western Georgia have been isolated by avalanches on the Zugdidi–Mesta highway.

No injuries have been reported, but at least one village is reportedly without electricity.

Local officials say the road should be cleared within two days.

(Black Sea Press)

Iakobashvili denies disruption of Russian-Georgian talks

State Minister for Reintegration Issues Temur Iakobashvili has denied reports that Russian–Georgian talks on jointly monitoring border checkpoints in the conflict zones have fallen apart.

Iakobashvili said agreements were reached at a recent Geneva meeting, and that talks are now focused on a technical level.

According to the state minister, Russia has not changed its position on the issue.

(Black Sea Press)

Poll suggests Giga Bokeria most criticized politician

MP Giga Bokeria deserves the most criticism of any Georgian politicians, according to a poll carried out by the newspaper Kviris Palitra

Bokeria is deputy chair of the legal affairs committee and widely regarded as highly influential in the ruling party.

The newspaper polled 545 people. It did not specify its methodology or the location of the respondents.

Following Bokeria was Interior Minister Vano Merabishvili, then President Mikheil Saakashvili and Parliamentary Speaker Nino Burjanadze.

Parliamentary co-chair of the ruling party faction MP Davit Kirkitadze came next, then Tbilisi Mayor Gigi Ugulava, chair of the parliamentary regional policy committee MP Pavle Kublashvili and Prime Minister Lado Gurgenidze.

(Black Sea Press)