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The News in Brief

Friday, September 19
Gamsakhurdia released on bail

Tsotne Gamsakhurdia, son of the first President of Georgia, has been released on bail of 20,000 GEL. It was reported that the decision of the judge to release Gamsakhurdia was motivated by his willingness to co-operate with the investigation.

Gamsakhurdia had been detained on charges of conspiracy and the wounding of a citizen.

America’s position the same - Rice

US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, in a speech about US-Russian relations at the Marshall Foundation, devoted a large part of her address to a discussion of the current Georgian-Russian conflict. Confirming the position expressed by other US political figures and diplomats, Rice once again condemned the Russia’s aggression against Georgia and its recognition of the separatist regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

Georgian Parliament extends State of Emergency

On Thursday the Parliament of Georgia extended the duration of the State of Emergency in regions of Georgia where Russian troops, including peacekeeping forces, are located.

Under a decision of Parliament, all parts of the country where Russian soldiers are located have been declared occupied territories. The State of Emergency in these occupied territories has been extended until October 3, 2008.

“Notwithstanding the ceasefire agreement, Russian troops have been withdrawn only on the line from Senaki to Poti. In the other occupied regions of Georgia, including Abkhazia and South Ossetia, citizens of Georgia still being oppressed, provocations are continuing and obstacles are put in the way of the delivery of humanitarian aid and visits by representatives of international organizations”, the resolution passed on Thursday says.

The Chairman of the Parliament of Georgia called on the initiative group which elaborated the draft law “On Occupied Territories” to accelerate the process of document elaboration so that it can be passed on October 3”, Black Sea Press reports.

After the armed conflict in South Ossetia Russia recognized the independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. In response, Georgia broke off diplomatic relations with Russia. A conflict settlement process is being mediated by the European Union.

From August 9 till September 3 a State of War was in force on the territory of Georgia. This was announced by Presidential decree due to the “extreme aggravation of the situation on the territory of the former South Ossetian Autonomous Region” and the “Armed attack on Georgia by the Russian Federation.” On September 3 Parliament made the decision to rescind the State of War and impose the lesser State of Emergency on territories occupied by Russian troops. (Black Sea Press)

IDPS receive privileges for credits and education

Persons internally displaced by the events of August will receive privileges for covering credits. This was stated by Prime Minister of Georgia Vladimir Gurgenidze, in response to the inquiry of Georgian Ombudsman Sozar Subari, who requested this.

As the Ombudsman’s Office informs, Gurgenidze gave recommendations to the Georgian banks Association to elaborate, together with commercial banks of the country, a common position on the settlement of the problem of granting preferential credits to IDPs.

Students who cannot pay for their studies as a result of the hostilities will also enjoy privileges. This concession will apply to students who either completely or partially lost their property, whose family members lost jobs or whose future source of income is unknown.

The Georgian Ombudsman was notified at the Ministry of Education that a special programme of student financing, envisaging the allocation of funds for the education of students in special categories, now functioned in the ministry. People residing in the conflict zones fall into one of these special categories.

It should be noted that students from Abkhazia and Tskhinvali region have been using their privileges at David Agmashenebeli University. This year students from the village Karaleti in Gori region, which is controlled by Russian soldiers, will be exempted from payment for studies. Pupils at another school will be also exempt from payment. (Black Sea Press)

Inter-Parliamentary relations between Georgia and Russia to be established

“Sooner or later inter-Parliamentary relations between Russia and Georgia will be established and a group on relations between these two legislative bodies will be formed,” says first Vice-Speaker of the State Duma Oleg Morozov, as reported by RIA Novosti.

He told journalists that he was “skeptical” with regard to a decision of the Parliament of Georgia to refuse to participate in such a group. “This is their choice, but relations between Parliaments in this form, let’s call it a group on ties or on friendship, guarantee regular contacts in which we can inform each other at Parliamentary level what is happening in the country,” Morozov said.

In Morozov’s opinion, diplomatic relations can be broken off “because it is another level of interrelations”, but inter-Parliamentary contacts must be preserved “as an information channel and a channel for discussions.” “Whether we like it or not, we will have to establish inter-Parliamentary dialogue with Georgia and with any other country of the modern civilized world. Such a group will appear sooner or later”, the Russian Parliamentarian said. (Black Sea Press)

Grapes almost rotted near factories

For three days farmers have not been able to present their grapes to the wine factories. According to radio Hereti, dozens of farmers are approaching the Akuri, Vachnadzeani and Tsinandali factories, trying to deliver their grapes, but in vain.

“Now the grapes are getting sour and therefore the price for them will go down. If we do not get the grapes in very soon, this year’s harvest will just rot near the factory,” the farmers said.

Radio Hereti contacted the regional administration for comments. The Deputy Governor Giorgi Botkoveli declared that lines of farmers standing outside the factories is an ordinary event and there is not a problem. He said that the reason for such huge lines was that tanks were being filled, and that grape processing would restart at the end of the day. (Hereti)