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The News in Brief

Friday, January 22
Pupils from Gali district to go through checkpoints

By the decision of the Sokhumi de facto regime Georgian pupils from the Gali district will now have to pass checkpoints in order to cross the administrative border, the Caucasian Knot reports quoting Ruslan Kishmaria, representative of the so-called President of the Sokhumi regime.

Kishmaria made this statement at the meeting held within the framework of the Incident Prevention and Response Mechanism on Wednesday. As for restoration of bus movement, he said "this issue will be decided after the Georgian-Abkhazian border starts functioning".

Russian occupiers detained 12 pupils, residents of Gali region villages, on 20 January. They were released in a few hours. (Interpressnews)

US State Department delegation visits Georgia

Alina Romanowski, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State at the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, and Spencer Boyer, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State at the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs, have come to Georgia to lead the U.S. inter-agency delegation participating in a People-to-People working group meeting under the auspices of the U.S.-Georgia Charter on Strategic Partnership.

During the meeting the sides will confer about cooperation on a range of education and cultural programmes essential for people-to-people relations, including educational exchange programmes, English language teaching, higher education management, vocational training and cultural exchanges. The delegation will also meet with Government officials and representatives of the media and civil society.

The U.S.-Georgia Strategic Partnership Charter was signed in Washington in January 2009. The Strategic Partnership Commission established four specific working groups tasked with implementation of Charter provisions in June 2009, when the first meeting was held in Washington. The working groups are tasked to focus on priority areas identified in the Charter: democracy, security, economic development and people-to-people relations. (Interpressnews)

Georgia, Egypt sign four documents of cooperation

On 19-21 January Prime Minister of Georgia Nika Gilauri paid a visit to the Arab Republic of Egypt. During this visit the second meetings of the Georgian-Egyptian Economic, Scientific and Technical Cooperation Commission and Georgian-Egyptian Business Forum were held.

The Prime Minister held meetings with President of the Arab Republic of Egypt Muhammad Hosni Mubarak, Prime Minister Ahmed Nazif, Minister of International Cooperation Fayza Abol-Naga and the Minister of Foreign Affairs Ahmed Aboul Gheit.

As part of the visit the following documents were signed: 1) The Protocol of the Second Meeting of the Georgian-Egyptian Economic, Scientific and Technical Cooperation Commission; 2) The Programme of Cooperation in the Sphere of Tourism between the Governments of Georgia and the Arab Republic of Egypt; 3) The Memorandum of Understanding between the Port of Alexandria and the Port of Poti; 4) An Agreement between the Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Georgia and the Arab Republic of Egypt. (Rustavi 2)

4.0 magnitude earthquake reported south of Oni

South of the town of Oni, in Racha region, a 3.5 4 magnitude earthquake has struck, Interpressnews has been told by the seismology centre.

"The quake was quite strong. However, it did not damage anything," a seismology centre representative said. The quake took place at 22:52 on Wednesday night.

A 5-6 magnitude earthquake also occurred on September 8, whose epicentre was again near Oni. (Interpressnews)

Neutral Georgia welcomes the victory of Yanukovich

Leader of the opposition movement Neutral Georgia Valeri Kvaratskhelia has welcomed the victory of Viktor Yanukovich in the first round of Presidential elections in Ukraine and accused the Georgian Government of rude interference in the internal affairs of Ukraine. He declared his support for Yanukovich and has even sent him a special letter of congratulation.

"Yanukovich has already stated that Ukraine will adopt a policy of neutrality if he wins, therefore the Georgian people are being lied to when they are told that Ukraine will recognise the independence of Abkhazia and the Tskhinvali regions if Yanukovich becomes President. Yanukovich has said nothing of the kind. I think that the chances of regaining control of our occupied territories will grow after the victory of Yanukovich," Kvaratskhelia said. (Rustavi 2)

Traffic restrictions imposed on Gudauri-Kobi road

Transport movement is still being allowed on the Gudauri-Kobi part of the Mtskheta-Stefantsminda-Larsi highway, however stopping is prohibited.

Traffic is being allowed only under the supervision and coordination of the police, Interpressnews was told by a Highways Department spokesman. (Interpressnews)