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The News in Brief

Wednesday, February 10
Givi Targamadze may resign as chair of Defence and Security Committee

Chair of the Defence and Security Committee of the Parliament of Georgia Givi Targamadze may be encountering problems in Parliament. Lobby gossip suggests that Targamadze will have to leave the post of Chair of the committee. It is also reported that President Mikheil Saakashvili is dissatisfied with his work, primarily his sending of the observer mission to the Ukrainian Presidential election.

Some Deputies believe Givi Targamadze has returned to Georgia, while others maintain that he is still in Ukraine. InterpressNews has tried to contact him but has received no response from either his Georgian or Ukrainian phone numbers. (Interpressnews)

Minister of Economic Development hopes to attract Spanish businessmen

Minister of Economic Development Zurab Pololikashvili hopes that the visit of representatives of business circles of Spain to Georgia will contribute to the improvement of business relations between the two countries. He made this statement prior to a bilateral meeting in the Radisson hotel.

The Ministers of Power, Engineering, Environment and Regional Development and Infrastructure took part in the Radisson meeting. They familiarised Spanish businessmen with the investment potential of Georgia. Pololikashvili said that Spain holds the rotating Presidency of the EU and that is why the development of economic relations with this country is very significant.

The Spanish delegation, whose members were mainly from the infrastructure and construction spheres, arrived in Georgia on Monday. They also met the Minister of Finance. (Caucasus Press)

Gamsakhurdia Commission to visit Shevardnadze

Bezhan Khurtsidze, a member of the temporary commission probing into the death of first President of Georgia Zviad Gamsakhurdia, has said that the commission has many questions to ask ex-President Eduard Shevardnadze. He told journalists that if Shevardnadze refuses to come to Parliament, members of the commission will visit him at home.

Khurtsidze believes that information obtained from ex-security chief Igor Giorgadze and ex-Defence Minister Tengiz Kitovani in Moscow seems to be broadly reliable. He said that Giorgadze was the one who refused to sign the official conclusion that Zviad Gamsakhurdia had committed suicide in the early 1990s. (Caucasus Press)

Thomas Hammarberg plans to visit Tskhinvali region

Thomas Hammarberg, Commissioner for Human Rights of the Council of Europe, plans to visit so-called South Ossetia in February, the Tskhinvali regime’s chief negotiator Boris Chochiev has said while meeting ICRC representatives.

The Res agency reports that Chochiev and ICRC representatives discussed the prospects of a Geneva meeting between Tskhinvali and ICRC officials to discuss the issues of missing “citizens” of so-called South Ossetia. He said that the meeting will be held on ICRC’s initiative and that they had agreed on the date.

Chochiev also said that Thomas Hammarberg will invite independent international lawyers to investigate the cases of the missing people. (Caucasus Press)

Speaker pays official visit to Turkey

Georgian Parliament Speaker Davit Bakradze is paying a three-day official visit to Turkey. He will hold meetings with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Turkish lawmakers. He is also expected to meet the Ecumenical Patriarch in Ankara.

Davit Bakradze left for Turkey yesterday morning with the members of the Georgia-Turkey friendship team. Vice Speaker Mikheil Machavariani chaired Parliament`s first plenary session today in his absence. (Rustavi 2)

Labour Party urges Saakashvili to resign

The Labour Party's demand for the President`s resignation is still in force, Shalva Natelashvili, the leader of the party, reiterated at a briefing yesterday.

Natelashvili said that the policy of the Georgian Government was "destructive" to the country. He stated that that Georgia had already lost control of the Caucasus mountains, as Russia now controlled 25 passes out of a total of 44. He added that another cause for concern was the plan to build a new Tskhinvali-Akhalgori-Qsani Gorge-Mleta-Stepantsminda military road, which would give Russia better connection with the occupied territories. (Rustavi 2)