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Compiled by Etuna Tsotniashvili
Thursday, July 16
Secret talks are underway regarding Georgian Railway

The opposition are openly stating that secret talks are going on aimed at selling Georgian Railways to Russia, conducted by a close ally of Saakashvili, the businessman Merab Sharangia, and his family members, Rezonansi writes. Conservative Party member Bidzina Gujabidze has stated that some years ago Sharangia held negotiations with Badri Patarkatsishvili regarding selling the Railway. So far members of the ruling party have not made any comment about this matter.

“Sharangia is conducting negotiations with the Russian authorities on behalf of the Georgian Government in order to ensure the privatisation of the railway. Temur Alasania, Saakashvili’s uncle, is also involved in these talks. When Saakashvili was in Armenia recently, Sharangia was also there. Russia wants to have the whole Caucasus rail network in its hands,” Gujabidze says.

Economic experts also have some information regarding these secret talks. Soso Tsiskarishvili says that the Government has wanted to sell off the Railway since 2006 and has always conducted negotiations about this in secret. “We saw an example of a similar thing with Engurhesi, where the Georgian Government signed an agreement with the Russians and the text of it is still unknown to the public,” Tsiskarishvili says.

Saakashvili is the main problem in NABUCCO project implementation

Economic analyst Ramaz Klimiashvili has stated that the NABUCCO project is not serious from an economic point of view but it makes political sense, Akhali Taoba writes. “This project was well planned at first but then Saakashvili showed that Georgia is not a stable country by getting involved in last year’s war. The recent NABUCCO summit is not the first regarding the project itself. This year another summit was held in one of the European countries, where the agreement to start implementing the project was signed. The major problem is that Saakashvili is in power and the implementation of such project on Georgian territory has thus become difficult,” the analyst said.

Leader of the Green Party Giorgi Gachechiladze has also highlighted that Saakashvili is the main barrier to NABUCCO project implementation. Gachechiladze claims that Saakashvili was not named at any of the meetings held in Turkey about this project. “It is strange that the President of a transit country is not invited to such summits and meetings. It seems the attitude towards Saakashvili is very negative. Wile he remains in post Saakashvili causes troubles for Europe and this project itself. A project that costs USD 8-9 million is now at risk. So if anyone wants to implement this project the Saakashvili problem must be solved, and I’m sure it will be solved,” Gachechiladze said.

Romania shows interest in Georgia’s energy potential

Romania is interested in the energy potential of Georgia, Akhali Taoba reports. A group of Romanian experts will arrive in Tbilisi in two weeks to examine the possibility of constructing a liquid gas terminal on the Black Sea. The terminal will be used for refining natural gas supplied from Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan which will then flow to Romania.

Russia`s former partners in the energy sectors are focusing on Georgia’s transit potential now that NABUCCO is getting off the ground. The Georgian President discussed cooperation in the energy sector with the Romanian President in Ankara on July 13. The Georgian and Romanian Energy Ministers have also discussed details of the project.