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The News in Brief

Wednesday, March 17
PM in Brussels

Prime Minister of Georgia Nika Gilauri held meetings with the Belgian authorities on March 15-16 as part of his working visit to Brussels. Gilauri held talks with his Belgian counterpart Yves Leterme, EU President Herman Van Rompuy and President of the European Commission Jose Manuel Barosso.

At a meeting with EU Commissioners Siim Kallas (Transport), Andris Piebalgs (Development Issues), Gunter Oettinger (Energy), Karel De Gucht (Trade) and Stefan Fule (EU Enlargement and Neighbourhood Policy) the Georgian PM discussed various aspects of Georgia-EU relations. “The most important part of our discussions concerned the agreement between the two sides which will encourage our air companies to conduct flights to more EU cities,” Nika Gilauri stated.

“Billions of dollars were promised to Georgia at the Brussels Conference [January 2010]. The Government has been using this amount to support IDPs. We are still going to continue building houses for them with this EU financial support,” he added. (The Messenger)

Labour Party accuses authorities of preparing election falsification

The Georgian Labour Party has accused the Government of spending millions on training its supporters in how to commit election falsification. Paata Jibladze of the party briefed in this regard yesterday and said Mayor Gigi Ugulava had spent municipal funds bribing voters.

"While President Mikheil Saakashvili is busy writing screenplays for bestsellers, Tbilisi Mayor Gigi Ugulava spends municipal funds, our funds, on bribing voters. Instead of spending this money on helping the vulnerable, they are holding feasts for their activists every evening, whom they train in election forgery. The Labour Party of Georgia demands an investigation of the municipal budget expenditures which will find out where the people's money goes," Paata Jibladze said.

Jibladze also commented on the audio recording of a purported telephone conversation between Imedi TV's Giorgi Arveladze and Eka Tsamalashvili which suggested the involvement of the authorities in producing the hoax news programme which caused panic and confusion in Georgian society. He said that even before this it was clear that Saakashvili was behind this programme. (Rustavi 2)

Foreign Ministry has no comment on Irakli Alasania’s statement

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia has not yet commented on Irakli Alasania’s statement that the dismissal of Maia Fanjikidze, the former Ambassador of Georgia to the Netherlands, was due to her family connection with him. Interpressnews was told by the Foreign Ministry that journalists would be able to ask questions concerning this at the joint briefing with Foreign Minister of Slovakia yesterday evening.

Irakli Alasania, leader of the Alliance for Georgia, said that Maia Fanjikidze had been dismissed a year earlier and that this might be related to his political activities. Fanjikidze is the sister of Alasania's wife. The official reason for Fanjikidze’s dismissal is said to be related to the recent detention of Fanjikidze’s husband in Holland. (Interpressnews)

Relatives of dead soldiers object to pro-Russian policy of some opposition leaders

Relatives of soldiers who died in the Georgia-Russia war of August 2008 assembled at the Mukhatgverdi cemetery yerterday and read a special statement protesting against the pro-Russian policy of some Georgian opposition leaders. They slammed leader the Movement for Fair Georgia Zurab Noghaideli and leader of the Democratic Movement-United Georgia Nino Burjanadze for their frequent visits to Moscow.

The relatives said that the two opposition leaders meeting Russian Prime Minister Putin was an insult to the people who had sacrificed themselves for the unity of Georgia. After reading the statement the protestors moved to Hero Square and laid wreaths at the memorial of heroes. (Interpressnews)