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The News in Brief

Tuesday, January 24
UN Deputy Secretary General to arrive in Georgia

United Nations Deputy Secretary General Rebecca Grynspan and Director of the Regional Bureau for Europe and CIS Kori Udovicki will arrive in Georgia for a two-day visit on January 26. The goal of the visit is to evaluate ongoing programs and devise future projects, Deputy Foreign Minister Nino Kalandadze said at a briefing Monday.

According to Kalandadze, the United Nationís Development Program has been rendering assistance to Georgia, in various fields, for 20 years.

Members of the delegation will meet representatives of Georgiaís legislative and executive authorities.

Putin reviews his policy for the Caucasus

Russian Prime Minister addressed the issue of the Caucasus and nationalism in an article published by the Nezavisimaya Gazeta. Putin wrote that new sanctions should be imposed and current legislation regarding the registration of migrants should be reinforced.

"Reinforcement of the judiciary and the effectiveness of law enforcement structures are very important for immigration, especially from the North Caucasian regions," the Prime Minister stated.

Putin has also responded to the slogan, "Enough to Feed Caucasus", which has been growing in popularity. He expressed concern that this movement may soon demand the elimination of funding to the Urals, Siberia and other Eastern Russian regions. Emphasizing the dangers of this kind of ideology, Putin identified such internal conflict as the cause of the Soviet Union's collapse.
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Slutsky: Russian issue will be discussed at Obama-Saakashvili meeting

Leonid Slutsky, head of the Russian delegation to the Council of Europe, is confident that the Russian issue will be discussed at the upcoming meeting between U.S. President Barack Obama and Mikheil Saakashvili.

Speaking to an InterpressNews correspondent in Strasbourg, Sluksky explained, "The presidents must meet and discuss important issues... I'm sure the Russian issue will be discussed at the meeting." While he believes that it is time for an improvement in Russia-Georgia relations, he insisted that the Delegation withhold comment until the content of the meeting in released.

The summit between the presidents of Georgia and the U.S. will be held at the White House on January 30.

President Saakashvili visits new contemporary clinic in Lagodekhi

Mikheil Saakashvili posed for photos with newborn babies, presented gifts, and spoke to staff at a new hospital in Lagodekhi on December 2.

The Archimedes hospital was opened in accordance with the "30 in 30 program", which aims to open 30 hospitals across the country in 30 days. The 25-bed hospital is equipped in compliance with contemporary standards. It employs 110 persons, with medical staff having completed special training courses in preparation for the opening.
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Free Georgia calls on government to establish a dialogue with Russia

The Free Georgia Party has called on the Georgian government to launch a dialogue with Russia.

A statement from leader Kakha Kukava asserts that Georgian politicians should act with national interests in mind, namely the restoration of territorial integrity and the establishment of good neighbour relations with Russia.

"The government has repeatedly said it is ready to launch a dialogue with Russia. Free Georgia assumes it is a real chance for regulation of Georgian-Russian relations. It is important that the Georgian government show political will and start a dialogue with Russia on problematic issues. Free Georgia has been carrying out negotiations on restoration of trade relations with the Russian side for several months. We are ready to play an active role in regulation of the Georgian-Russian relations in the future too," the statement says.

According to Kukava, not only is Georgian society ready for dialogue, but Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has said that his government is also prepared to begin the process of normalization.

Three Georgians arrested in Italy for robbery

Three Georgian nationals have been arrested in Florence, Italy on a charge of robbery. Reportedly, they stole goods worth 700 000 Euros from stores located on the central streets of the city. Their names have not yet been released.

Five other Georgian nationals were detained in another Italian city, Bari. Four women and one man were arrested for illegal residing in the country. The detainees have been taken to the immigration department and, according to local legislation, must leave the country within a week.
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