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The News in Brief

Thursday, March 11
Bilateral “Agreement on Cooperation in the Fight Against Crime” to be signed in Rome on March 11

Minister of the Interior of Georgia Vano Merabishvili will visit Italy on 11 March to meet his Italian counterpart, Minister Roberto Maroni. The visit will be part of an intense agenda of bilateral meetings between the Government of the two countries during the first half of 2010, which began last February with the visits of Ministers Grigol Vashadze and Giorgi Baramidze to Rome.

During the meeting the parties will sign the new bilateral Agreement on Cooperation in the Fight Against Crime, which will strengthen cooperation in preventing, detecting, solving and suppressing crimes, with particular focus on organised crime, terrorism, illicit trafficking, money laundering, illegal migration and computer crimes. A number of tools such as rapid exchange of information and constant updates will be provided by this Agreement.

The two Ministers will also discuss a number of other relevant issues in the fields of police cooperation, migration and training for police experts. (Ministry of the Interior of Georgia; Embassy of Italy to Georgia)

Giorgi Baramidze not excluding lifting of Russian embargo

Giorgi Baramidze, State Minister for Euro-Atlantic Integration Issues, says Russia plans to lift its embargo against Georgia for two reasons.

"It seems that Russia plans to remove the embargo. However the reason for this is not love of Georgia, but its intention to establish customs relations with Belarus and Kazakhstan, which will themselves allow Georgian products to enter the Russian market again," Baramidze told journalists. He added that the second reason is that Russia needs marionettes in Georgia. It is trying to create some political capital for Georgian traitors so that they can say that they are important politicians who have done great things.

"It is not excluded that the restoration of transport and air traffic will be discussed in the future, though these were suspended by Russia itself in order to destroy Georgia's statehood. Russia is trying to do the same thing now – overthrow the Georgian state and bring its slaves to power," Gia Baramidze said.

As is known Zurab Noghaideli, leader of the Movement for Fair Georgia, is in Moscow. Reportedly Noghaideli will discuss the restoration of air traffic and the resumption of the export of Georgian products to Russia at meetings there. (Interpressnews)

Opposition party rallies outside Foreign Ministry

The members of the youth wing of the Alliance for Georgia held a protest rally outside the Foreign Ministry of Georgia when the President of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly, Joao Soares, appeared outside the building. Soares talked with the protestors and listened to their demands.

The protestors called upon the OSCE to conduct the local elections in Georgia to ensure this was done in an unbiased and democratic way. The OSCE is the chief observer at the elections, which will be held on May 30, 2010. Soares said he would discuss issues connected with the conduct of the elections at meetings with the Georgian authorities.

After talking to the protestors Soares held a meeting with Deputy Foreign Minister Aleksandre Nalbandov, at which he discussed the situation in Georgia's occupied territories, Abkhazia and South Ossetia. The OSCE Parliamentary Assembly President said that the organisation was still working on restoring its mission to Georgia. (Rustavi 2)

Negotiations on visa simplification with EU to conclude by end of year

Negotiations regarding the simplification of the visa regime with the EU will presumably be over by the end of the year, Giorgi Baramidze, State Minister for Euro-Atlantic Integration Issues, has said.

Baramidze summed up the work of his Ministry at the Government session yesterday and presented the Ministry's action plan for 2010. He said last year was very effective for his Ministry, as negotiations on the simplification of the visa regime had begun and preparatory work for free trade and associate membership agreements with the EU had been launched.

Those agreements will promote investment to Georgia and will continue next year, Baramidze said. (Interpressnews)

Education Ministry starts working out general plan for Georgian school infrastructure development

The school infrastructure development plan has been discussed at a seminar involving the Ministry of Education and Science and the Educational and Scientific Infrastructure Development Agency.

The tasks to be fulfilled to ensure school infrastructure development were outlined at the seminar. Hired consultants of the International Company MGT also presented the General Plan for School Infrastructure Development within the framework of the programme World Learning/Forecast, financed by USAID. First Deputy Minister Akaki Seperteladze, representatives of the Ministry of Infrastructure and Regional Development and local government and educational resource centres and schools took part in the seminar.

World Learning/Forecast Georgia is implementing this project with USAID financing. The agency and abovementioned organisation signed a memorandum to this effect on December 4, 2009. The goal of the one year project is to develop modern standards of school construction and rehabilitation and a general plan for school infrastructure through close cooperation with local government and resource centres.

As the result of this project every city, village and regional centre will receive a concrete and impartial plan of school infrastructure development. Financial resources will be distributed to the concrete construction and refurbishment projects outlined therein. (Interpressnews)