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The News in Brief

Monday, January 11
John McCain to visit Georgia

Republican Senators John McCain, John Barrasso and John Thune will visit Batumi in the Adjara Autonomous Republic on January 10-11, the Georgian President’s Press Office has reported.

“The main goal of the Senators’ visit is to once again express the United States’ unwavering support for Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity,” the President’s administration said in a press release on Saturday. “The visit also aims at strengthening the U.S.-Georgia strategic partnership,” it added.

John McCain is considered the biggest lobbyist for Georgia in the US Senate and is quite an influential figure in US political circles. The former Republican Presidential candidate visits Georgia quite often and his visits always result in certain decisions being made.

One of McCain's best known sayings is “Today we are all Georgians!” He said this to the American people when Russian tanks were moving towards Tbilisi.
(The Messenger)

One year since US-Georgia Partnership Charter signed

One year has passed since the Georgia-US Charter on Strategic Partnership was signed. The bilateral charter was signed by ex-Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Georgian Foreign Minister Grigol Vashadze in Washington DC on Januray 9, 2009.

The 6-page document envisages the expansion of partnership and cooperation between the two countries in the fields of defence, security, economy, energy, democratic reforms, diplomacy and culture. According to its basic points, partnership between the two countries is based on the common national values and interests of the Georgian and American people, including respect for democracy, economic freedom, security and territorial integrity, rule of law and human rights and the return of all internally displaced people, including their right to voluntary and secure return. The document also promotes innovation and technological achievement and strengthening energy security in Eurasia.

According to the charter, the common goal of the sides is Georgia's full integration into European and Euro Atlantic structures.

US appreciates Georgia's contribution to Afghansitan

On January 7, the Brookings Institute hosted Richard C. Holbrooke, Special Representative to Afghanistan and Pakistan, in a conversation on the way forward in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

In his one-hour speech, Holbrooke talked about US policy in the region. He also talked about Georgia`s contribution to the operation in Afghanistan and called it significant assistance. He added that he intends to visit Tbilisi.

"First of all, I want to acknowledge that the battalion being trained out in Tbilisi will take 950 Georgian soldiers to the country in March, and on a per capita basis this will make Georgia the largest single troop contributor in Afghanistan. I should acknowledge not only President Saakashvili's personal role in this but that of all the Georgian people. And I look forward to going out to Tbilisi to visit the troops before they leave. We should all recognise this, because Georgia's own history, and particularly in the last year, has been so extraordinary, and they have made this commitment without any request for anything in return," Holbrooke said.
(Rustavi 2)

Yulia Latynina disapproves of Russia's accusations against Georgia

Russian journalist Yulia Latynina discussed the situation in Georgia on the Access Code radio programme of Ekho Moskvi on Saturday. She said that as the Transcaucasian motorway has been closed due to heavy snow and therefore the Tskhinvali region isolated from Russia Georgia has had a wonderful chance to attack the occupation regime, but the Georgian Government has not even thought about this.

The journalist emphasised that accusations about Georgia wanting to assault the occupied regions are only made when the Russians are conducting large-scale military exercises in the region, which is full of Russian soldiers.

Yulia Latynina also said that people still in Tskhinvali damaged by the August 2008 war have not been assisted, while the Georgian Government has constructed special houses for over 30,000 Georgians, who were victims of ethnic cleansing.
(Rustavi 2)

Construction continues in Batumi

The Chair of the Adjaran Government and the Batumi Mayor personally viewed the ongoing construction work in Batumi on Saturday. Over 60 blocks of apartments are being built there. Over 100 locals per building are being employed.

Levan Varshalomidze, the Chair of the Adjaran Government said that despite the world economic crisis the construction process has not been halted in Batumi. He also said that the prices of the new apartments are quite accessible for the population. Most have already been sold.
(Rustavi 2)

Dead man's body found in Black Sea Coast village

The dead man found in the village of Gonio, on the Black Sea coast of Georgia, has been identified. He is Mirian Ananidze, 38, who was from Batumi. It has been ascertained that the man was killed several days ago, presumably murdered. His hands and legs were tied and a boulder was attached to his foot.

Fishermen found the body on the coast after the water level had lowered.
(Rustavi 2)