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The News in Brief

Thursday, June 17
Bill Shuster: Russian forces should leave Georgian territory

Georgian Parliament Vice Speaker Gigi Tsereteli has met US Congressman Bill Shuster in Washington and discussed the local elections and post-election developments in Georgia. The Vice Speaker has been visiting the US and holding meetings in Washington for several days.

At the meeting Shuster confirmed US support for Georgia. He also said that Russia should fulfill its obligations and withdraw its forces from Georgia’s occupied territories.

Gigi Tsereteli plans to hold meetings with other Congressmen during the visit. (Prime News)

European Council adopts conclusion on South Caucasus

The Foreign Ministers of European Union countries met in Luxembourg on June 14 and agreed to further deepen the bloc’s relations with Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia.

“The EU stands ready to promote the mobility of citizens of the South Caucasus countries and other Eastern Partnership countries through visa facilitation and readmission agreements, and once these are successfully concluded and implemented, move towards a controlled process of taking gradual steps towards visa liberalisation as a long-term goal, on a case-by-case basis,” – the statement of the European Council reads.

A statement issued after the meeting says that the European Council will continue to support the establishment of free trade with the South Caucasus and the integration of the region with the European Neighbourhood. It has also tasked the European Commission to develop “a plan on how to take cooperation forward in this area” by the end of 2010. (Prime News)

USD 5,783,000 transferred abroad from Georgia in May 2010

USD 5,783,000 was transferred abroad from Georgia in May 2010, USD 673,000 less than in May 2009.

The greatest proportion of these transfers were to Russia USD 2,364,000 being sent there. USD 1,055,100 was transferred to Ukraine. (Prime News)

Five new Interim Commissions at Tbilisi City Assembly

There are five new Interim Commissions at the Tbilisi City Assembly: Human Rights and Public Relations, Environment Protection, City Assembly Titles and Symbols; Sport and Youth Affairs and International Relations and Investment Policy.

At yesterday’s meeting of assembly staff a resolution to this affect were adopted. Opposition member Koba Davitashvili protested, demanding that this issue be discussed by new Assembly today. He left the meeting in protest.

Davitashvili said that he will not join any faction in new Assembly or agree to any of the Government’s proposals. (Interpressnews)

Police arrest Schengen visa forgers

Georgian police have arrested an organised group of swindlers. One of the four women was the founder of the Fortuna Travel company. They are alleged to have sold counterfeit Schengen visas through the Embassy of France to Ukraine.

As a result of investigative activities conducted with the Prosecutor’s Office Manana Iluridze (born 1966), Irina Esvanjia (born1964), Ketevan Tchelidze (born 1963) and the founder Fortuna Travel Nora Butchukuri (born 1946) were detained. They are alleged to have manufactured forged Schengen visas for 4,000 EU. A search of Fortuna Travel and Nona Butchukuri's apartment discovered forged passports with Shengen visas stamped in them and 11,000 EU which had been gained through this criminal activity.

The French Embassy to Georgia is actively involved in this investigation. It is being conducted by the Patrol Police Main Division of Tbilisi and Mtskheta-Mtianeti under Article 362 of the Criminal Code of Georgia. (Rustavi 2)

Infrastructure Ministry signs memorandum with Tav Georgia

The Georgian Ministry of Regional Development and Infrastructure has signed a memorandum of mutual understanding with Tbilisi Airport operator Tav Georgia.

The memorandum will introduce a privileged tariff period for air transport companies who make domestic flights. To begin with the cost of servicing passengers in Tbilisi and Batumi Airports will reduce from 23 to 9 dollars. This will be reflected in ticket prices, making domestic flights affordable. (Rustavi 2)

Opposition figures meet in Munich

Late yesterday evening it was reported that former Prime Minister Zurab Noghaideli, former Defence Minister Irakli Okruashvili, former Presidential candidate Levan Gachechiladze and former Ambassador to Moscow Erosi Kitsmarishvili, all of whom are now regarded as leading opposition figures, had met in Munich to discuss forming a new opposition configuration. At present the four parties they represent are not aligned with each other.

No further information was available at the time of going to press. (The Messenger)