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The News in Brief

Tuesday, February 7
Bakradze dismisses Georgian involvement in possible Iran – U.S. conflict

Chair of Parliament, Davit Bakradze, has referred to questions about Georgia’s participation in a possible conflict between Iran and the United States ‘hypothetical’. According to Bakradze, he cannot confirm rumors that if the UN accepts a resolution on Iran, Georgia will be obliged to comply with it. Nor could he confirm that talks were under way with regards to the issue.

According to the Chair, the issue was not discussed during the Georgian President’s recent visit to the United States.

"As for such hypothetical questions. I cannot answer them. However, I want to say that this issue is not being discussed," he insisted.

Kyrgyz lawmakers hold meetings in Tbilisi

A delegation of Kyrgyz lawmakers is holding a series of meetings with members of the Georgian parliament. Vice Chair Mikheil Machavariani was first to host the guests and introduce the reforms carried out by the Georgian government in the past eight years. During their two day visit, the Kyrgyz lawmakers will be familiarized with the implemented reforms and those which are still underway. Kyrgyz journalists are accompanying the parliamentary delegation.

Machavariani said after their meeting that his Kyrgyz colleagues are well aware of Georgia's successful reforms and wish to replicate the country's experience.

"We want to share Georgia's experience of successful reforms... A totalitarian regime was changed twice in Kyrgyzstan, but we are beginning economic reforms only now. Therefore, your experience is invaluable for us. We want to learn from you, and introduce this experience to our country and other CIS neighbors too," Omarbek Aburakhmanov, a member of the delegation, told journalists after the meeting.
(Rustavi 2)

Parliament's spring session opens tomorrow

The spring session of Parliament will open tomorrow with a session of the bureau, where lawmakers will approve the agenda of committee hearings. The legislative government of Georgia plans to continue to work on several significant bills, including an anti-drug program.

Several important economic projects aiming to improve the business environment also will be initiated during the spring session.

Chair of Parliament, Davit Bakradze, says that lawmakers will not be able to work as usual during the autumn session due to the parliamentary elections in October, therefore, all significant bills will be discussed earlier. Bakradze said the basic direction of the parliament's work will be economic and political issues.

"For us, economic projects [to] improve the business environment and create new jobs are most important, as well as political reforms that are tied with the process of democratization," Bakradze said.
(Rustavi 2)

Education-rehabilitation houses to be opened in prisons

Convicts currently serving time at Georgian prisons will be able to get professional education opportunities at rehabilitation houses to be opened in penitentiaries. Professors from Tbilisi State University will deliver lectures, and afterwards, convicts will receive appropriate certificates.

The first education/rehabilitation house was opened by Minister of Corrections and Legal Assistance Khatuna Kalmakhelidze, and the rector of Tbilisi State University, Sandro Kvitashvili on Monday.

Similar centers will be gradually opened in all other prison facilities and professional education will be available for all convicts.
(Rustavi 2)

Mtkvari frozen in Mtskheta

Low temperatures froze the Mtkvari River in Mtskheta on Sunday. Water at the confluence of the rivers Mtkvari and Aragvi is currently covered with a layer of ice.

The forecast called for warmer temperatures early this week, but as of Wednesday cold and snowy weather will descend on Georgia again, and last through February 12.

Despite low temperatures and frost, movement on all main motorways remains clear. The Jvari Pass, which was closed due to avalanche danger, has been opened to all transport.
(Rustavi 2)

Labour Party objects to purchase of land by foreigners

The Georgian Labour Party plans to submit a new draft bill to Parliament, which proposes a prohibition on the sale of agricultural land in Georgia to non-Georgian citizens.

Party representative Giorgi Gugava said at a briefing today that several thousand acres of land have been already sold to foreigners, asserting that the process must be stopped.

"Saakashvili continues to sell the territories of our country by pieces and ultimately, our lands will be in the hands of citizens of India, China and other countries. If this process is not stopped, Georgia will be sold off in pieces," Gugava told assembled journalists.
(Rustavi 2)

Two Georgians detained for robbery in Portugal

Portuguese police have arrested a gang of four people suspected of robbery, two of whom are Georgian nationals. Local media is reporting that the age of the suspects is between 30 and 40 years. Besides the Georgian citizens, one suspect is Ukrainian and the other has yet to be identified.

The suspects had in their possession missing jewelry, as well as metal tools used for breaking locks, according to the police report.

The group will face charges in Portugal and will be tried by a local court.
(Rustavi 2)