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The News in Brief

Tuesday, October 28
Georgia will have new Prime Minister

Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili has presented Grigol Mgaloblishvili as a candidate for the post of Prime Minister of Georgia, replacing Lado Gurgenidze, who resigned by “personal request” on October 27.

Mgaloblishvili is thirty five years old. He has no prior political experience. Since 2004 he has been the head of the Embassy of Georgia to Turkey, firstly as a plenipotentiary diplomat, then as Ambassador. Between 2003 and 2004 he worked as the Deputy Director of the Foreign Ministry’s Department for U.S., Canada, and South American states, and had earlier been political advisor to the Georgian Embassy in Turkey. Mgaloblishvili studied at Tbilisi State University and also Oxford and Istanbul.

Mikheil Saakashvili thanked now-Caretaker Prime Minister Gurgenidze for his “successful work” and stated that Gurgenidze will be assigned to the position of co-Chairman of a new financial commission tasked with stabilizing the country’s financial sector. He added that Mgaloblishvili will present a new Cabinet in the next few days and that possible Cabinet changes should not hinder the work of the Temporary Parliamentary Commission studying the August war issues.
(By Temuri Kiguradze)

EU to study the possibility of rehabilitation of Yerevan-Tbilisi railway

The European Union is launching a feasibility study for the redevelopment of the railway between Tbilisi and Yerevan, as part of the TRACECA (Transport Corridor Europe Caucasus Asia) programme, - RIA Novosti reports with reference to the EU delegation in Armenia.

The programme is aimed at supporting political and economic development in the Black Sea Region, the Caucasus and Central Asia by improving international transport infrastructures. Today the TRACECA programme encompasses thirteen countries: five in Europe, three Caucasus states and five countries in Central Asia. The main Tbilisi – Yerevan railway link, which was first opened in 1899 and electrified in 1967, suffers from a severe backlog of maintenance and modernization, and thereby cannot cover actual and future transport needs in an effective and competitive way.

Within the scope of the programme, then alternative Yerevan- Tbilisi railway link via Azerbaijan will also be studied. This was first opened and electrified in 1984, but only the section Yerevan – Dilijan has been operational in recent years. During the coming year consultants will assess the current state of this railway and develop a detailed proposal for its rehabilitation.

This project will be implemented by an Italian – Ukrainian consortium, composed by: Lattanzio e Associati S.p.A. (Italy), Khardiprotrans OJSC (Ukraine), International Consulting & Service Group s.r.l. (Italy), International Railway Technology & Service s.r.l. (Italy).
(Black Sea Press)

EUMM officers cross South Ossetian border

EU Monitoring Mission officers operating in Georgia illegally cross the South Ossetian border and do not contribute to stability in the region, Murat Jioev, the Acting Minister of Foreign Affairs of the breakaway Republic of South Ossetia, has told an RIA-Novosti reporter.

A group of EU monitors was detained in Artsevi Village, Tskhinvali district on Saturday. According to the South Ossetian side, they entered the territory, which is under control of Ossetian armed formations, without prior coordination with the South Ossetian side.

“A report came in about the illegal crossing of the South Ossetian border by a group of EU monitors. We did not bring them to Tskhinvali. They were detained until the circumstances were made clear and afterwards we released them,” Jioev said.

According to Jioev, the South Ossetian side has demanded that the EU mission confirms its status.

“They operate in areas adjacent to South Ossetia’s borders. They should not be on the territory of our Republic. We are capable of ensuring security here ourselves. Their task is to prevent an escalation of the situation from the Georgian side,” the de facto Acting Foreign Minister said.
(Black Sea Press)

Georgian Vice-Premier visits Hungary

The State Minister of Georgia for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration, Vice-Premier Giorgi Baramidze, left for Hungary on Monday.

As Black Sea Press was told in the State Minister’s Office, during his visit Baramidze is expected to meet the President of Hungary, the Defence Minister and other Hungarian Government officials. He will also participate in the International Conference “Energy – Factor of Security and Stability” in Budapest, where the Vice-Premier will tell the international community about the Russian aggression.

“Hungary is an important country for the energy security of Europe, especially in terms of the Nabucco pipeline project, which will become an alternative source of gas supply to Europe. These issues are of particular importance to Georgia,” Baramidze told journalists before his departure to Budapest. The State Minister will return on October 29.
(Black Sea Press)

Parliament group to adjust Criminal Code

The Anti-Crisis Council will establish a group to work on adjustments and improvements to the Criminal Code of Georgia, Giorgi Tsagareishvili, Deputy Chair of the Parliament’s Committee on Legal Issues, told journalists on October 27.

“We have decided to establish a group to be engaged in work to adjust and improve criminal legislation. As you know, there are many questions about this among the public,” Tsagareishvili said, adding that draft amendments to the Criminal Code were adopted at first reading by the previous convocation of Parliament. “There are many drawbacks in the Code, which we will first of all address jointly with lawyers-practitioners,” Tsagareishvili said.

Davit Dadiani commented that under Article 79 of the Criminal Code terms of imprisonment were imposed consecutively rather than concurrently, and as a result some sentences reached 30-40 years. “Thus, we will study in detail all articles of the Criminal and Procedural Codes,” Dadiani said.

The decision to establish the group was made after a meeting with Chairman of the Supreme Court of Georgia Konstantine Kublashvili.
(Black Sea Press)