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The News in Brief

Wednesday, April 1
Eduard Shevardnadze comments on 9 April action

Ex-President of Georgia Eduard Shevardnadze has commented on the forthcoming 9 April protest action.

Itar-Tass reports that Shevardnadze has stated that if more than 100,000 people assemble demanding Saakashvili’s resignation, the President must not oppose the people and must resign.

The ex-President states that he has not met Saakashvili for several years nor had telephone conversations with him. “I’m a pensioner. I don’t meet with state officials and Georgian politicians. Talk about my return to politics or Government is fairy tales and fiction,” Shevardnadze stated. (Interpressnews)

Zaal Samadashvili – Tbilisi will never resemble a ghost town

Tbilisi ‘Sakrebulo’ Chairperson Zaal Samadashvili has responded to comments made by Giorgi Gachechiladze (Utsnobi).

Giorgi Gachechiladze, the prisoner of the ‘Cell Number 5’ TV programme, stated in an interview with Aaval-Dasavali that nothing would be working in Tbilisi during the April actions and the capital would resemble a ghost town. “Not even a political group extremely opposed to the Government in any country of the world aims to turn the capital into a ghost town. I don’t know what sort of responsibility a political power bears towards the society when it promises such a thing to Tbilisi,” the Sakrebulo Chairperson replied.

Samadashvili said that if Tbilisi turns into a ghost town, Georgian society will be damaged by it first of all. “We have already overcome the hardest periods when the country and our city looked as if they were dead. I don’t know who needs to see this repeated. Tbilisi and its population need peace, the development of business and the economy, new jobs,” Samadashvili stated. (Interpressnews)

March 31- 70th birthday of Zviad Gamsakhurdia

The 70th birthday of the late Zviad Gamsakhurdia was celebrated yesterday.

Zviad Gamsakhurdia was born on March 31, 1939. He joined the national liberation movement in 1956, when he and his friends spread proclamations in the Tbilisi streets condemning the bloody intervention of the Soviet Union in Hungary. The Helsinki Group of Georgia was established in Tbilisi in 1976 by the initiative of Zviad Gamsakhurdia and Merab Kostava. Zviad Gamakhurdia represented this group till the end of his life.

The US Congress nominated Zviad Gamsakhurdia for the Nobel Peace Price in 1978. He was arrested in 1956 and in 1977-1979 for his dissident activities. Zviad Gamsakhurdia was dismissed from the Union of Writers of Georgia in 1977 for “Anti-soviet Propaganda.”

The Round Table – Free Georgia political bloc was founded by Zviad Gamsakhurdia in 1990, and gained victory on October 28, 1990 in the first democratic and multi-party Parliamentary elections in Georgia. Gamsakhurdia was as a representative of the Supreme Soviet until 1991, when the Supreme Soviet elected him President of the independent Republic of Georgia, his position being confirmed by general Presidential elections on May 26, 1991.

The opposition launched a military coup on December, 1991. Zviad Gamsakhurdia and representatives of his Government left Georgia on January 6, 1992. Gamsakhurdia and his supporters fled to Grozny at the invitation of President of the Republic of Chechnya Jokhar Dudaev.

The first President of Georgia died in the Georgian village of Khibula, in Tsalenjikha region on December 31, 1993. His body was taken to Grozny in February.

After the Rose Revolution, on the initiative of President of Georgia Mikheil Saakashvili, articles were adopted for the rehabilitation of Zviad Gamsakhurdia and his Government on January, 2004. The right embankment of the Mtkvari, the central street of Zugdidi and the secondary school of Rustavi were renamed after Zviad Gamsakhurdia. 2004 was officially declared the Year of Zviad Gamsakhurdia.

The remains of the first President were returned to Georgia on March 28, 2007 and buried in the Mtatsminda Pantheon of writers and public figures on April 1. (Interpressnews)

Tbilisi denies purchasing gas from SOCAR at inflated prices

Georgia’s Energy Minister Alexander Khetaguri has denied the statement of KazMunayGas President Kairgeldy Kabyldin that Georgia is buying gas from Azerbaijan at the highest prices in the CIS - $400 for 1,000 cu metres.

Khetaguri told journalists that “Kabyldin should know better, as the price is stated in the contract with SOCAR, signed by KazTransGas-Tbilisi. According to my information, KTG-T buys gas from SOCAR at $167 per 1,000 cu metres, which is much lower than the Gazprom price - $280”, the Minister said.

“A Kazakh company is free to choose its customers and prices and is allowed to supply gas cheaper than an Azeri one. Azerbaijan has quoted the same price for 5 years, and this contract is profitable for us and is a helpful gesture from Azerbaijan, but if the Kazakh party has a cheaper supplier, let it supply gas at a cheaper price,” Khetaguri said.

Kabyldin said the gas tariff was the reason for KTG-T’s growing losses. In this connection, Khetaguri noted that the Tbilisi gas distribution company could not adjust its management strategy properly and had thus accrued $40 ml in debts. “This is the debt to Georgia’s Oil and Gas Corporation for last year, and it is a current debt, not an old one,” the Minister said.

Khetaguri said that the recent decision to appoint a special manager of KTG-T is a temporary measure explained by the desire to ensure the company pays its debts. The decision is not aimed at taking KMG’s assets. As for the possible sale of the gas distribution network, “this decision is the full responsibility of the Kazakh party – which refused the suggestion of the Georgian Oil and Gas Corporation that it could restructure its debt,” the Minister said. (KazTAG)