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The News in Brief

Monday, March 9
Ilia II – God is not the Father to those who don’t regard the Church as their mother

Catholicos-Patriarch of Georgia Ilia the Second congratulated the congregation on the feast of the Triumph of Orthodoxy yesterday and spoke about the importance of the Church.

“God is not Father to those who don’t regard the Church as their mother. Life without this understanding is impossible. This is the most sacred place. Orthodoxy is the greatest treasure of mankind and it is a happiness for a person to be part of Orthodoxy, under its protection and mercy. God bless you, and God bless, save and unite Georgia,” the Patriarch stated in Holy Trinity Cathedral.

The Orthodox Church celebrates the first Sunday of Lent, as the Triumph of Orthodoxy. It commemorates the return of icons (sacred images) to the churches (842) and the end of the long iconoclast controversy. Accusations of idolatry had led to an official proscription against icons in 730.

Lent started on March 2 and will end with the celebration of Easter on April 19.

Ruslan Abashidze will probably replace Viktor Dolidze

Irakli Alasania’s team member Viktor Dolidze will probably be replaced by Ruslan Abashidze as Georgian Ambassador to the OSCE and Vienna.

The appointment of a Permanent Representative at the OSCE and Vienna will be discussed at a Parliamentary Bureau session today. Viktor Dolidze has resigned his post and moved into the opposition as part of Irakli Alasania’s team. Ruslan Abashidze is the Deputy Reintegration Minister.

Candidatures for Ambassador of Georgia to Uzbekistan and Afghanistan will also be discussed at the Bureau meeting.

Grigol Vashadze to pay working visit to Japan

As the Press Centre of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia reports, on 8-13 March 2009 Minister of Foreign Affairs of Georgia Grigol Vashadze will pay a working visit to Japan. In the framework of this visit Vashadze will meet his Japanese counterpart, Minister of Foreign Affairs Hirofumi Nakasone. A meeting will also be held with the Parliamentary Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs, Member of the House of Representatives Yasutoshi Nishimura.

Grigol Vashadze will subsequently visit the Japan Association for Trade with Russia and Central-Eastern Europe (ROTOBO) and will address it concerning the investment environment in Georgia. Together with his spouse Nino Ananaishvili Vashadze will also meet the managers of the Japan Art Corporation.

At the end of the working visit, the Georgian Foreign Minister will give interviews to Japan’s leading news media.

Attack on car of Abkhaz Minister may be linked with confrontation with Russians

The official car of the separatist Abkhazian Interior Minister Otar Khetsia has been burnt out in the centre of Sokhumi.

As the head of the Tbilisi-backed Government of the Abkhazian Autonomous Republic’s Samegrelo-Zemo Svaneti representation Paata Shamugia told Interpressnews, this was presumably the result of confrontation between Russian forces and the de facto regime.

“Abkhazian and Russian forces have severely confronted each other. Russia wants to appoint representatives of its security forces and other special units to all separatist Government departments. This creates dissatisfaction among Abkhazians, as they perceive that the idea of an Abkhazian state is an illusion,” Paata Shamugia stated.

According to one version, the murder of de facto Interior Minister of Abkhazia Zakan Jughelia was linked with confrontation between Russian and Abkhazian forces. Jughelia was killed in one of the cafes in the centre of Sokhumi in broad daylight on January 27.

Georgian Labour Party discords with part of political opposition

The Georgian Labour Party will not participate in the protest rally scheduled by part of the opposition for April 9. Party members assert that the protest rally has been scheduled by Nino Burjanadze, the ex-Chair of the Georgian Parliament. Soso Shatberashvili, the Secretary General of the Labour Party, said this on the Position programme on Rustavi 2 TV and accused the ex-Speaker of receiving funds from abroad as well.

The organisers of the rally have replied to the Labour accusations. They assert that the April 9 protest rally was scheduled on November 7 and Nino Burjanadze has no connection with it. Eka Beselia, the Secretary General of the Movement for United Georgia, and Koba Davitashvili, the leader of the People’s Party, stated that Nino Burjanadze will however participate in the April 9 protest rally with the rest of the opposition. Koba Davitashvili says he also has certain complaints against the ex-Speaker but will not make them public at this stage.

Representatives of Nino Burjanadze`s party have replied to the Labour accusation as well. They call Shatberashvili`s statements groundless slander. Tamar Tsintsabadze asserts that the Government is using Soso Shatberashvili of the Labour Party for its own interests. “A well-founded suspicion exists that some opposition members are carrying out the Government`s order,” Tamar Tsintsabadze said.
(Rustavi 2)