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The News in Brief

Wednesday, March 10
Saakashvili - they won't drag us back to dark past

"Georgia will never become a minor annex of any other country," the Georgian President announced at the presentation of the rehabilitated Georgian -Turkish school in Batumi yesterday.

The President said that Georgia was on a new road of development and nobody would succeed in returning the country to its dark past. "Georgia has always had people, who do not love their homeland. There are people in the country today whose criticism of the Government has grown into hatred of the Government and finally into hatred of the country. I would like to tell them that we have much wider prospects of development than they can even imagine. Our country has made its choice - we will be free and powerful without Russia. We will never be a minor appendage of anybody," the President said.

Saakashvili hailed the bravery of Georgian emigrants in Russia. He said that despite their large numbers the Russian Government has failed to win them over.

"Over 400,000 Georgian nationals live in Russia today and this is an elite part of our society. They have failed to find and use any successful Georgian against their homeland. We are far from our final goal, but we are standing on this road and nobody will be able to drag us back into the dark past," Saakashvili said. (Rustavi 2)

Sweden has differences with Russia on Georgia

"Despite the close relationship and partnership between Sweden and Russia there are issues on which the two countries have different positions and these differences also refer to Georgia," Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt announced in an interview with Radio Ekho Moskvy yesterday.

Bildt also spoke about the Iskander missile defence system which Russia plans to station in Kaliningrad and said the issue was a kind of political game by the Russian authorities. "Discussion of similar issues would have been much more reasonable at the negotiating table. Russia has an anti-missile system around Moscow and this means that it sees the danger and this can be understood. However the problem must be solved in such a way that this process does not deteriorate relations with other partners in Europe," Carl Bildt said. (Rustavi 2)

Sergey Mironov reports details of his meeting with Nino Burjanadze

Chair of the Russian Federal Council Sergei Mironov has commented on his meeting with Georgian opposition leader Nino Burjanadze. The ex-Speaker of the Georgian Parliament, who now leads the Democratic Movement - United Georgia, held meetings with senior Russian officials in Moscow a few days ago, including Prime Minister Putin.

"We had a very honest dialogue. Mrs. Burjanadze gave details of the political situation in Georgia. We had not met since 2007 and therefore this conversation was very interesting. At this moment, we are not going to sign any agreement between our parties, just exchange information about the situation in our countries. I lead an opposition party in Russia and therefore our cooperation is very interesting," Mironov said, adding that he was prepared to meet Burjanadze in future too. (Rustavi 2)

Dimitry Lortkipanidze creates commission to drug test public officials

Opposition Deputy Dimitry Lortkipanidze has taken the initiative to create a state commission on the drug testing of public officials. He stated this at yesterday's sitting of Parliament, saying members of the public must take part in the commission's work.

Lortkipanidze welcomes legal force being given to his initiative. (Interpressnews)

‘The Whites’ start consultations with opposition on impeachment of President

The political movement ‘The Whites’ has started consulting opposition parties on the possible impeachment of President Mikheil Saakashvili, Interpressnews has been told by the Press Service of the movement. Leader of ‘The Whites’ Temur Shashiashvili has already met leader of the Alliance for Georgia Irakli Alasania, NGOs and representatives of civil society.

"Irakli Alasania’s attitude is positive and the opposition spectrum is talking about the necessity of holding consultations regarding the President’s impeachment," Shashiashvili stated. He accused the President of "neglecting his dignity" and called on the population to demand Saakashvili’s impeachment at a briefing held near the Avlabari Residence on 5 March. (Interpressnews)

Republican Party members join Noghaideli's party

Some Republican Party activists have defected to another opposition group, the Movement for Fair Georgia, led by Zurab Noghaideli. The defectors, members of the Senaki regional branch of the Republican Party, announced this at the briefing yesterday.

Maia Tsurtsumia, Loti Kobalia and Giuli Kukhia disapprove of the policy of the leader of the Alliance for Georgia, which includes the Republican Party. They say that Irakli Alasania has a hesitant character and also complain about a lack of funds and work at the office. (Rustavi 2)