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The News in Brief

Thursday, October 8
EU, France firm on their position on Georgia

France’s support for Georgia`s territorial integrity has not changed, French President Nicolas Sarkozy announced during his visit to the capital of Kazakhstan, Astana yesterday.

The French President gave a long interview to a Kazakh journalist and mostly answered questions about the Russia-Georgia war of August 2008. “Only a few countries have recognised Abkhazia and South Ossetia, which means that the international community does not approve of this decision and continues to support Georgia’s territorial integrity and sovereignty. The position of France and the European Union is unchanged and I am glad that Kazakhstan has the same position,” Nicolas Sarkozy said.

The French leader hailed the Geneva negotiations on the Georgia-Russia war and said that they were very significant and had already brought specific results, such as the establishment of the incident prevention and response mechanism. (Rustavi 2)

Radio Liberty to broadcast to Abkhazia and so called South Ossetia in a month

Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, controlled by the US Government, will broadcast to Abkhazia and so-called South Ossetia in a month.

Russian agency Itar-Tass reports, based on information from the radio station’s representative in Washington Martin Zvaners, that a daily programme in the Russian language will be broadcast from 2 November. The programmes will be prepared jointly in the station’s Prague office by Georgian and Russian editorial staff.

Martins Zvaners confirmed that Andrey Babitski is linked with the above mentioned programme, though he didn’t specify who would actually run it.

He explained that the programme will be in the classic format (containing news and a review of events of interest to the local population), peace-promoting and aimed at producing a reconciliation between the sides. (Interpressnews)

Differences on Georgia topical in NATO-Russia relations

NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen could pay a visit to Russia in December. However, a date has not yet been scheduled, NATO spokesman James Appathurai said during a video link from Brussels.

Asked about problems in NATO-Russia relations, the alliance’s spokesman said that the key disagreements are related to Georgia. Russia has recognised South Ossetia and Abkhazia as independent states, but no NATO members have done so, he said.

Commenting on relations between Russia and Ukraine, Appathurai said that NATO would not like to see an escalation in the current tensions. Military cooperation between these two countries is their bilateral issue, he added. (Rustavi 2)

Experts to join discussion of President’s initiative

Economic experts will be involved in the discussion of a new economic initiative voiced by the President during his speech in Parliament on Monday. Under his new Economic Liberty Act special draft laws will be prepared and sent to Parliament for consideration.

The Parliamentary majority has already declared its support for the idea, while the opposition has assessed it as a yet another PR stunt. However the opposition still plans to participate in the discussion of the draft laws. Members of the National Democratic Party say they will send a letter containing seven questions about economic policy to the President soon. (Rustavi 2)

Dimitri Shashkin holds meetings in US

Penitentiary Minister Dimitri Shashkin is visiting the United States. The Minister has delivered a speech about the ongoing reforms in Georgia at the George C. Marshall Foundation. The event was initiated by famous American diplomat David Cramer, who worked as the Assistant Secretary of State for Eurasian Affairs years ago.

During his visit Dimitri Shashkin will also meet the Deputy Assistant on European and Eurasian Affairs of the Secretary of State Tina Kaidanow. (Rustavi 2)

Collapsing wall kills a man in Guria

A 43-year old man died as a result of a wall collapsing at the premises of Turkish company Gulistan in the Guria region yesterday.

Genadi Chantladze died in the company’s granary. The man has two children. Company staff says they will cover the tuition fees of the eldest of his children, who is a second year student at university.

Police have filed a criminal case and launched an investigation to find out whether the building met the appropriate standards. (Rustavi 2)