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The News in Brief

Thursday, January 28
Armenian President says Armenia considers Georgia its friend

Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian yesterday received Georgian Prime Minister Nika Gilauri, who is in Yerevan to participate in the session of the Armenian-Georgian Intergovernmental Commission. The Presidential Press Service told Armenpress that when greeting the Georgian Prime Minister the President had said that Armenia considers Georgia a friendly country and is ready for greater cooperation with it.

The President was interested in the work of the bilateral Intergovernmental Commission. Noting that the session was held effectively, the Georgian Prime Minister said that many issues had been discussed connected with infrastructure and cultural, social and other issues. He also said that the next session will be conducted in Georgia.

Agreeing that Armenian-Georgian relations have always involved a wide range of issues of mutual interest, the sides referred to the issues on the agenda. The Armenian President and Georgian Prime Minister exchanged thoughts on the economic situation in the two countries and regional issues (GHN)

Government adopts state strategy concerning the occupied territories

The Georgian Government has adopted a state strategy regarding the occupied territories. The title of the strategy is ‘Involvement through Cooperation’. It is an all-inclusive document on Georgia’s planned actions regarding the occupied territories, Temur Yakobashvili, State Minister for Reintegration Issues, said after the Government session at which it was adopted.

Yakobashvili said that Georgian citizens live on the occupied territories. Their fate should not depend on the goodwill of the occupiers.

The strategy is public and will be presented to the international community. The first such presentation is scheduled at the Council of Europe for 3 February. It will also be presented to the OSCE, the UN and the EU. It is also possible for it to be presented during the Geneva consultations today, Yakobashvili said, and the Georgian Government has various mechanisms for presenting this document to the Ossetian and Abkhazian sides.

The strategy will be funded by the state, donors and businessmen. It says that Georgia regards peaceful methods as the only way to resolve the conflict. The Georgian Government has no illusions regarding the difficulty of the implementation of the strategic document, but work will start being done gradually, step by step, in order to resolve all problems, in the interests of all sides, Temur Yakobashvili told Interpressnews. (Interpressnews)

Georgian delegation leaves for Geneva

The Georgian delegation has left for Geneva to attend the 9th round of international talks. It will raise the issue of the replacement of Russian border guards on the occupied territories, Dimitri Sanakoev, head of the interim administration of South Ossetia, said before departure.

"We will raise the issue of substituting Russian border guards with international police. We'll try to explain why this is necessary for the local population. We'll also discuss humanitarian problems," he said.

According to Shota Utiashvili, who heads the Analytical Department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, an agreement on non-use of force will be discussed in the group working on security issues. "We’ll acquaint ourselves with variants of this agreement, presented by the Co-Chairs. The issue of the return of IDPs will be discussed in the group working on humanitarian issues," Utiashvili said. (Rustavi 2)

Finance Minister meets businessmen in Hotel Radisson

Minister of Finance of Georgia, Kakha Baindurashvili, has met Georgian businessmen at the Hotel Radisson and discussed reforms made in the customs sector and the effect of the electronic submission of declarations which has been introduced.

The Ministry of Finance has conducted several significant reforms in the customs sector, which have been effectively utilised by many organisations, including oil importers. The Government plans several other reforms this year too, a presentation on which will be held in February. By the beginning of February the Government will have prepared the relevant legislative initiatives, including amendments to the customs code. (Rustavi 2)

Patriarch congratulates nation on Saint Nino's Day

Georgian Catholicos Patriarch, Ilia II has congratulated the nation on the feast of Saint Nino and expressed the hope that Georgian emigres would return to their homeland soon. His Holiness conducted a divine liturgy at the Holy Trinity Cathedral yesterday.

"Let the prayers of Saint Nino help many Georgian emigrants return to their homeland and see our country unified again," His Holiness said in his sermon.

Saint Nino's preaching of Christianity in Georgia bore fruit during her lifetime and the King of Kartli, Mirian, declared Christianity the state religion in 326 AD. Since then Georgia has always been a part of the Orthodox Christian world. The Georgian Church celebrates two Saint Nino's Days, on June 1 when she first stepped on Georgian soil and on January 27, the day she reposed. (Rustavi 2)