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The News in Brief

Monday, February 9
Foreign Minister of Greece to visit Georgia next week

Foreign Minister of Greece and current OSCE Chair Dora Bakoyannis will visit Georgia next week, she has stated in Munich.

”I will pay a visit to Georgia next week. The position of the Georgian side is interesting to the OSCE Chairmanship. Greece’s support for Georgia is unchanged,” Bakoyannis stated.

Bakoyannis says that negotiations about retaining the OSCE mission in Georgia and enabling its observers to monitor the conflict regions continue. She expresses her hope that a specific outcome will be reached.

Scheffer hopes Russia will convince Kyrgyzstan not to close Manas American base

Representatives of NATO hope that Russia will convince Kyrgyzstan not to close the Manas American army base. The Secretary General of the alliance, Jaap De Hoop Scheffer, has declared this in an interview with Echo Moscow.

Scheffer said that on the fringes of the negotiations in Munich between Russia and NATO agreements had been reached on many issues, including Afghanistan, and the struggle against terrorism and drugs.

“I hope the decision of the Kyrgyz Government will not be final if Russia and NATO continue their cooperation in this regard,” the Secretary General said.

Hostage escapes from Russian occupiers

Alesiya Nikobenko, one of the fifteen hostages captured during the Russian-Georgian war, is free. The hostage, seized by Russian occupiers on August 13, escaped from her abductors yesterday.

Russian servicemen initially seized the members of four families from the Kombinati settlement in Zugdidi town in August. Several were seized on the Enguri Bridge at the administrative border between Gali and Zugdidi while they were seeing off their guests. Nikobenko’s Russian by origin family was captured because the occupiers could not tolerate the fact they had settled in Georgia.

The sixteen hostages were kept in Sukhumi for two days and then taken to Russia over the Psou River. Alesiya Nikobenko says that they could have been freed if they had said bad things about Georgia. The hostages are being detained on Russian territory for now, and have been deprived of their documents. The captors are threatening to kill the family’s young children.

Alesiya Nikobenko paid three hundred US dollars to go over the Psou River to Abkhazia from Russia. An old acquaintance from Gali district helped her go from Psou to the Enguri River at the administrative border.
(Rustavi 2)

Givi Targamadze links processes taking place in Georgia and Ukraine

Chairman of the Defence and Security Committee of the Georgian Parliament Givi Targamadze has spoken about the implementation of the Kremlin’s plan in Ukraine.

Targamadze has stated at a briefing held for Georgian TV companies that the Kremlin-backed Viktor Yanukovich has announced that he has begun a fight to call preterm elections. “Yanukovich has stated that intends to throw out the Government of Ukraine. The Kremlin has a concrete timeline by which to conclude all these processes,” the Georgian Deputy stated.

Targamadze says that this deadline is the beginning of June and extends to Georgia too.

Distributor wounded in store robbery

A robbery has occurred in the Ortachala district of Tbilisi. Genadiy Osmalov, 26, was attacked when he was providing a store with supplies. Some armed persons, perhaps three, assaulted the distributor and wounded him badly.

Genadiy Osmalov has been taken to the First Clinical Hospital of Tbilisi. His assailants seized money from the distributor as well, although the exact sum is unknown. The suspect has not been identified.
(Rustavi 2)