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The News in Brief

Tuesday, May 4
Georgia, Turkey agree on restoration works at Oshki monastery

The Georgian Government is holding negotiations with Turkish colleagues regarding the beginning of restoration works at the Oshki Monastery in Eastern Turkey, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Nino Kalandadze announced at a briefing yesterday. She said Foreign Minister Grigol Vashadze had held negotiations during a recent visit to Turkey.

Negotiations are also underway regarding two other monasteries in Turkey which are part of the cultural heritage of Georgia. The sides have also agreed that Georgian clergymen will be allowed to conduct services in the reconstructed monasteries.

"Negotiations are underway between Georgia and Turkey regarding the restoration of three Georgian monasteries. The Georgian Foreign Minister discussed this issue during his last visit to Turkey too. The terms have been agreed. Georgian experts will survey Oshki monastery and we hope that negotiations regarding two others will also be successful," Nino Kalandadze said.
(Rustavi 2)

Council of Europe monitors meet Inter-Faction Group

The Council of Europe's monitoring mission held a meeting with the members of Parliament's Inter-Faction Group yesterday. The MPs reported on the pre-election situation, the election environment and preparations for the May 30 local government polls.

The monitoring mission has arrived in Tbilisi to observe the election process in Georgia. The MPs reported on the goals of their work and the meetings and activities carried out since the group was formed.

The CoE delegation will stay in Georgia and hold meetings with various opposition parties and NGOs over the next three days. On May 28 the CoE monitors will return to observe the actual polls.

Earlier yesterday, the monitors held meetings at the Central Election Commission and the Christian-Democratic Movement headquarters. Parliament's Inter-Faction Group will monitor the local government election process, the voters list and the conduct of the polls.
(Rustavi 2)

Cooperation Document Signed Between HSBC and Ministry of Economic Development

The Economic Development Ministry and HSBC Bank have signed an agreement concerning providing assistance to exporters and importers in Georgia. Irakli Matkava, head of the National Investment Agency, and Director General of the bank Guy Lewis signed this document at the Ministry on May 3.

The document stipulates that training will be held and online instruments developed for those businesses which plan to increase their activities abroad. One of the main initiatives is to establish an International Trade Academy, at which seminars prepared by the experts of HSBC Bank and the Georgian Investment Agency will be held. The Ministry’s representatives state that the training will fit the requirements of Georgian importers and exporters, who will be provided with detailed information and recommendations regarding international products, instruments and legislation. Irakli Matkava said that promotion of international trade is an important part of the country’s strategy.

The first seminar of the International Trade Academy will be held on May 6. Such academies exist in several countries.

Students demand Rector's resignation

Students and various NGOs have rallied outside Ilia Chavchavadze State University in Tbilisi demanding the resignation of Rector Gigi Tevzadze. The protestors accused the Rector and the management of the university of conducting anti-Orthodox activities and deliberately perverting youth.

The protestors demanded the suspension of anti-Orthodox propaganda at the university. The protest followed the presentation of a book at the university a few days ago which the protestors said insulted the Orthodox Faith and depraved the young generation.

The students also criticised the Rector for his refusal to open a prayer room at the university. Some religious figures were seen at the rally.

Leader of the Conservative Party, Zviad Dzidziguri, who is standing for Tbilisi Mayor, also joined the protest. He said that the demands of the protestors were justified.
(Rustavi 2)

Grigol Vashadze in Syria

Minister of Foreign Affairs Grigol Vashadze has been to Syria on an official visit. Deputy Foreign Minister Nino Kalandadze stated at the traditional briefing that relations between the states, bilateral cooperation issues and joint projects were discussed. She stated that Vashadze returned to Georgia yesterday.

Grigol Vashadze will visit Kazakhstan on 6 May to meet Kazakhstan’s Secretary of State and Foreign Minister, who is also the OSCE Chairperson–in-office. Kalandadze stated that Vashadze will inform his Kazakh counterpart about the situation in Georgia and in the occupied territories.

Civil servant arrested for swindle

Officers of the Isani-Samgori district police division of the Ministry of Internal Affairs have detained Beqa Bregvadze (born 1987), who works for the Old Tbilisi and Didgori district of the Social Service Agency. It is alleged that Bregvadze contacted citizens, presented himself as a Social Service agent and demanded credit cards with pin codes claiming he wanted to activate these credit cards. It is alleged that the suspect illegally appropriated certain quantities of cash with these credit cards.

The suspect has already pleaded guilty. The investigation is being conducted by employees of Isani-Samgori district police division of the Ministry of Internal Affairs under Article 180 of the Criminal Code of Georgia.
(Rustavi 2)