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The News in Brief

Wednesday, November 19
Obama supports territorial integrity of Georgia

Newly elected President of the USA Barack Obama supports the territorial integrity of Georgia and considers it necessary to continue the reforms in the country, as he stated during a telephone conversation with President of Georgia Mikheil Saakashvili.

As Black Sea Press was informed on Tuesday, Saakashvili congratulated the newly elected President on his victory. “The talk was friendly and concerned future relations between Georgia and the USA. The President of the USA expressed hope that the leaders of the two states would meet in the nearest future,” the Chancellery of President Saakashvili said.

Later Saakashvili talked on the phone with future Vice-President Joseph Biden. The parties discussed in detail the situation in Georgia, the consequences of the Russian occupation, measures to minimize the damage, modes of conflict settlement and the future role of the US Administration in this process.

On Monday Obama also phoned President of Turkey Abdullah Gul and President of the Philippines Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, a statement reads. Biden also had telephone talks with the High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy of the EU Javier Solana, Prime Minister of Spain Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero and Foreign Minister of Greece Dora Bakoyannis.

Last week Biden held telephone conversations with President of Poland Lech Kaczynski, Prime Minister of Great Britain Gordon Brown, former British Premier Tony Blair, President of Afghanistan Hamid Karzai, King Abdullah of Jordan, Foreign Minister of Israel Tzipi Livni, Defence Minister of Israel Ehud Barak and Israeli Likud alignment leader Benjamin Netanyahu, Obama’s headquarters has announced. (Black Sea Press)

Coordination Council on Issues of Financial Policy begins working

The first sitting of the Coordination Council on Issues of Financial Policy has been held in the Chancellery. Prime Minister of Georgia Grigol Mgaloblishvili is the Chairman of the Council, ex-Premier Vladimir Gurgenidze is a co-Chairman.

Vladimir Gurgenidze told journalists that the aim of setting up the Council was to improve coordination and the investment policy of Georgia. The new Government tax-reduction initiative and issues of investment relations will be discussed. “This Commission will determine the macroeconomic effect of the aid allocated by donors,” Gurgenidze said.

President of Georgia Mikheil Saakashvili put forward the initiative to set up the Coordination Council at the end of October. Minister of Economic Development Yekaterina Sharashidze, Minister of Finance Nikoloz Gilauri, Acting President of the National Bank David Amaglobeli and Minister of Justice Zurab Adeishvili will also be members of it. (Black Sea Press)

Ukrainian Security Service disproves illegal delivery of arms to Georgia

Statements made by Valeri Konovalyuk about illegal deliveries of arms to Georgia do not correspond with reality, the Security Service of the Ukraine (SSU) stresses.

“In the framework of an investigation into the making public of a state secret, SSU investigators have finished clarifying the circumstances of the delivery of military goods to Georgia. No violations of the national legislation of Ukraine or international agreements were observed in connection with these deliveries. Thus, the affirmations and suppositions of Deputy Valeri Konovalyuk are groundless and damaging to the national security of Ukraine,” a statement of the Security Service of the Ukraine reads. The SSU says that on November 17 it sent this information to the Committee on National Security and Defence of the Supreme Rada and the Foreign Ministry of Ukraine.

On November 12 the SSU instituted criminal proceedings after the placing on the internet of a copy of a letter from arms exporter “Ukrspetsexport,” headed “secret,” with comments on its contents by Parliamentary Commission head Valeri Konovalyuk appended. Konovalyuk was summoned to the SSU for interrogation. Konovalyuk had stated before that during the delivery of Ukrainian arms to Georgia national and international legislation was violated, specifically, arms were sold to Georgia after the conflict in South Ossetia had begun and assets from these and current sales were not transferred to the state budget. Konovalyuk also implicated President Viktor Yushchenko in the legislative violations. (Black Sea Press)

Two Georgians die in bus incident in Turkey

Two Georgian citizens have died in a bus incident 40 kilometres from the Georgian-Turkish border. The bus was speeding along the road and flipped over near the town of Hopa. The bus, belonging to the travel agency Mahmud Tour, was travelling from Tbilisi to Istanbul.

A further 35 passengers were injured in the incident and transferred to hospitals in Hopa and Artvin. The Healthcare Ministry of Adjara Autonomous Republic has reported that ambulances have already been dispatched to bring the injured Georgians to Batumi, the administrative capital of Adjara region.

This is the second such incident in the last 2 years involving “Mahmud Tour.” (The Messenger)