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The News in Brief

Tuesday, March 20
Fournier will not serve as Ivanishvili’s adviser

Eric Fournier, a friend of Bidzina Ivanishvili, will not become his adviser, Georgian Dream spokesperson Maia Fanjikidze said at a press briefing Monday.

She was unable to confirm reports about Fournier’s appointment as Ivanishvili’s advisor, as she noted that Fournier is currently working at the French Foreign Ministry.

"Eric Fournier is working at the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and as far as I know he is responsible for Caucasus issues," Fanjikidze said.

Reports about the potential appointment of the former Ambassador of France to Georgia as Ivanishvili’s advisor appeared in the press last week.

Saakashvili attends U.S.-Georgia military exercise

President Mikheil Saakashvili, along with Defense Minister Bachana Akhalaia, attended an ongoing combined U.S.-Georgia military exercise at the Vaziani military base on Monday.

The Agile Spirit military exercise has been underway since March 10, and will be completed this week.

During the exercise, soldiers carried out an evacuation of wounded from the field of battle.A fast response unit, moving by Didgori and Hummer military vehicles, participated in the exercise.

The goal of the joint exercise is to increase interoperability between the two nations' forces, and enhance their capacity in counterinsurgency and peacekeeping operations, including convoy operations, small unit tactics, and counter-Improvised Explosive Device training.

Agile Spirit is an annual exercise that supplements other elements of the American military partnership with Georgia, such as the Georgia Deployment Program, a U.S. Marine Corps program that prepares Georgian Armed Forces to deploy to Afghanistan.
(Rustavi 2)

Fanjikidze: Alasania will answer all questions himself

Leader of the Free Democrats, Irakli Alasania, will answer all questions himself, according to Maia Fanjikidze, spokesperson of the Georgian Dream opposition coalition.

She announced that Alasania will hold a special briefing on Tuesday. "Irakli Alasania will answer all questions tomorrow. That is all I can say to you," Fanjikidze told journalists.

The brutal siege currently taking place in the Syrian city of Homs was mentioned by Alasania, who claimed that a similar situation may emerge in Georgia. At a meeting with members of the foreign diplomatic corps, he claimed that the government is setting up armed groups in western Georgia. "Before it is too late and before we have a new Homs in Zugdidi or in any other city of Georgia, we call on you – start acting," Alasania told the assembled diplomats.

President Mikheil Saakashvili responded to the statement, saying "Some politicians threaten they will destroy the towns of Samegrelo region and behead children. I want to remind everybody that it is 2012 now and not 1992".

Russian ship detained by Georgian Coast Guard

The Georgian Coast Guard has detained a Russian-flagged vessel, Pur-Navolok, for violating maritime law near the coastal town of Sarpi Sunday.

All members of the crew are citizens of the Russian Federation.

The vessel has been fined and will be released after payment.
(Rustavi 2)

New Rights accuse Ivanishvili of polarizing society

The New Rights Party has accused the leader of the Georgian Dream political movement, Bidzina Ivanishvili, of causing further polarization of Georgian society through his political activities and the statements.

Party representative Pikria Chikhradze said at a briefing that the New Rights have taken a neutral position in the polarized political spectrum.

Chikhradze also said that although Ivanishvili has succeeded in reviving the political atmosphere in Georgia, his political party has not clarified its course and the team around him is confused.

"When we speak about replacing Saakashvili, this must happen by substituting his regime with a progressive force and not by a similar or regressive one. Saakashvili wanted to water down society, which was out of his control. Bidzina Ivanishvili acted similarly when he decided that those who aren't in his team and do not support him, should be sent away," Chikhradze asserted.
(Rustavi 2)

Man killed in Tkibuli accident

A 38-year-old man died in the woods outside of Tkibuli on Sunday.

Ramaz Gvenetadze and two other residents were in the forest cutting firewood. Gvenetadze noticed that a tree they had cut was falling towards their car; he jumped in it trying to move it from the tree's path, but failed to start the car in time, and was crushed by the impact.
(Rustavi 2)

Ukraine abstains from joining Eurasian Union

Ukraine has abstained from joining the Eurasian Union, formed by Russia and uniting several other former-Soviet countries.

President of Ukraine, Victor Yanukovich, told Russia media that the country is not yet prepared for such a step.

He explained that his nation is approximately five years back from the process of integration into the aforementioned union. In addition, he underlined that Ukraine had not taken part in the creation of the founding document of the union; therefore, it is not clear if the strategy of the union corresponds with the national interests of that country.
(Rustavi 2)