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The News in Brief

Thursday, November 12
Secretary-General’s Representative focuses on problems of IDPs

“All displaced persons, whether they were displaced in 1991-1992 or 2008, have the right to return and the right to the restitution of their property. Return for everyone, regardless of where they live now, must be facilitated by both sides in a pragmatic way, respecting the rights of internally displaced persons,” Walter Kaelin, the Secretary-General’s Representative on the Human Rights of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), has announced after visiting Georgia’s breakaway South Ossetia region.

It is estimated that 680 houses, in addition to a number of public civilian installations, were destroyed in Tskhinvali during the fighting last year as well as many villages, he noted in a news release issued following his 5 to 6 November visit. Kaelin said that a mechanism “involving international expertise” is probably needed to effectively address property issues, given the different waves of displacement in the region.

Kaelin encouraged both sides to make use of the Geneva discussions and other channels of communication to agree on first steps to alleviate unnecessary hardships for the civilian population, while continuing to work towards a more comprehensive solution. (Rustavi 2)

Saakashvili awards Minister of Agriculture Order of Honour

The Georgian President has awarded Minister of Agriculture Bakur Kvezereli with the Order of Honour for the achieving a high grape harvest. Mikheil Saakashvili gave the decoration to the Minister during yesterday’s Government meeting in recognition of the success of Vintage 2009 in Kakheti.

The President thanked the Minister and employees of the Ministry of Agriculture. This year’s vintage was processed more successfully than in previous years as viticulturists got the chance to deliver their harvest to the nearest wine plants. A Vintage 2009 headquarters was opened in Gurjaani which worked for two months and guaranteed the grapes’ quick and organised delivery.

“The main judges of the success or otherwise of the vintage were the Georgian viticulturists, and they declared it a success. I am happy with the President’s decision,” declared Bakur Kvezereli after the Government meeting. (The Messenger)

Belarusian MPs to visit Abkhazia and Tskhinvali region on 17-19 November

Belarusian MPs will visit Abkhazia and the Tskhinvali region on 17-19 November.

According to the Regnum news agency Sergei Maskevich, Chairman of the International Affairs and CIS Relations Commission of the House of Representatives of Belarus, has made the following statement: “Belarusian Senators and MPs will acquaint themselves with the situation on the spot regarding acknowledgment of the independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.”

Belarusian MPs will also visit territories controlled by the Georgian side and hold meetings with the population and representatives of Governments, Maskevich added. (Interpressnews)

Georgian MP ready to offer himself in place of the underaged hostages

MP Gia Tortladze is waiting for a reply from the Generals of the Russian occupation army deployed in so-called South Ossetia. The MP has already met the Deputy Commander of the occupation troops and a representative of the Security Service and handed over a letter of demands to them, in which he says he is ready to be held in place of the four Georgian teenagers who were kidnapped by Russian occupiers from the village of Tirdznisi.

Gia Tortladze read his address to the South Ossetian puppet regime at the Ergneti checkpoint on Wednesday. If the separatists do not accept the MP’s proposal, Gia Tortladze will ask the separatists to place him in the isolator beside the four hostages until they are released.

The opposition MP is still in Ergneti waiting for their reply. (Rustavi 2)

Labour Party leader holds meetings in U.S.

Labour Party leader Shalva Natelashvili is holding meetings in the United States. Member of the party Kakha Dzagania says that Natelashvili delivered a lecture at Columbia University about the political situation in the Caucasus, the development of democracy and geopolitical processes. He also participated in a discussion on the political situation in the Caucasus at the Department of State.

“Shalva Natelashvili has called on the Department of State to send a monitoring group to Georgia which will learn about the activities of Saakashvili’s terrorist regime, its repressions, murders and other illegal activities. Natelashvili has also demanded monitoring of the expenditure of American loans, credit tranches and grants allocated to Georgia over the years which have been embezzled by Saakashvili’s regime,” Dzagania said. (Rustavi 2)

Russian occupiers assault families of ethnic Georgians in Gali

Russian occupiers have assaulted several families of ethnic Georgians in the Gali district. They have beaten up and robbed members of the Tordia, Tsikolia and Shonia families in the villages of Saberio and Sida. The occupiers plundered their houses for a whole hour. They tortured their victims and took away jewellery and domestic appliances.

Afterwards the perpetrators attacked a vehicle, injuring its passengers, who were taking a sick child to Zugdidi hospital. (Rustavi 2)