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The News in Brief

Tuesday, December 16
Georgian President sets tasks for Parliamentary majority

President of Georgia Mikheil Saakashvili has instructed the Government and Parliamentary majority to elaborate a financial legislative package for the salvation and preservation of Georgia’s economy.

According to the Georgian President, part of this package will be reflected in the state budget for 2009. As President Saakashvili stated, the new budget should be realistic and reflect all those serious challenges that Georgia will face next year.

“The Georgian Government will take full responsibility for the expected crisis and people’s problems. Those problems must be resolved jointly with the people. Georgia as never before requires stability, dialogue and consensus in society,” the Georgian President emphasized.

President Saakashvili stressed the necessity of the active work of Georgian Parliament, especially against the background of the existing crisis. According to Mikheil Saakashvili, budget funds “shall serve specific objectives and have concrete results.”

“Our financial system and budget will be saved. We have already overcome corruption and this will be a guarantee of the timely release of salaries and pensions and the implementation of social commitments,” Saakashvili said.

President Saakashvili assured that all large projects would be preserved and implemented. According to the Georgian leader, construction of infrastructure and roads will be expanded in 2009 and local companies will be given advantages in the aforesaid spheres.

Mikheil Saakashvili recalled his meeting with Senator John Kerry, who will chair the External Relations Committee in the U.S. Senate. According to President Saakashvili, the USA’s message is that it is ready to conclude a treaty on free trade with Georgia and therefore investments will come to Georgia.
(Black Sea Press)

Polish Ambassador presents copies of credentials to Georgian Foreign Minister

Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Poland to Georgia Urszula Doroszewska has presented copies of her credentials to Minister of Foreign Affairs of Georgia Grigol Vashadze, Black Sea Press was told at the Press and Information Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia.

At a brief meeting held after the ceremony, the sides discussed the issues of bilateral relations and the latest developments in Georgia. The Minister congratulated the Polish Ambassador on her accession to her new office and expressed his gratitude for the support expressed by the Polish Government. The Ambassador once again reiterated Poland’s full support for Georgia’s European and Euro-Atlantic aspirations and other issues relevant to the country.
(Black Sea Press)

Labour Party accuses authorities of demographic crime

The abolition of financial aid for the mothers of each newborn baby constitutes a crime in terms of the demographic situation of the country, Soso Shatberashvili, Secretary to the Labour Party of Georgia, told journalists on December 15.

“Each day the Saakashvili team is in power brings more new crimes. This time Saakashvili has committed a crime against demography,” Shatberashvili said.

The Labour Party demands the restoration of the decree under which each mother is granted GEL 1,000 (approximately USD 600) financial aid per newborn. The decree was issued on December 17, 2007, during Saakashvili’s tough Presidential campaign. Shatberashvili says that despite the world economic crisis, the current situation and the decline in birthrate, the Georgian Government abolished its own decree on December 5, 2008.

Shatberashvili presented UN statistical data, according to which Georgia is in the list of endangered nations. The difference between birth and death rates is big. If the birthrate continues to decline in this way, the Georgian population will be reduced by 300,000 by 2018, and by 2050 Georgians will have become a national minority in their own country.
(Black Sea Press)

Georgian sailor’s body found on board Actyon

The body of Georgian sailor Enver Varshanidze, who was among 17 Georgians in the crew of the Actyon, which sailed under the Panamanian flag, has been found, Rustavi 2 TV reports.

The Press and Information Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia confirmed this information on Monday, saying that the Head of the MFA Consular Department, Eter Kamarauli, would make an official statement with regard to this at a future date.

The sailor, who was on board the Actyon when it was seized by Somali pirates, was found dead, the captain of the ship, a Georgian national, has informed the vessel’s owners in a letter. The captain said that the pirates had not allowed him to report the death earlier.

The Georgian sailors were captured by pirates a month ago. An agreement on the release of the sailors was reached last week.
(Black Sea Press)