The messenger logo

The News in Brief

Friday, May 11
Georgian citizens aboard ship detained in Greece

The Greek Coast Guard has detained crew members of the ship Stenland near Porto Heli in Greece, according to Ukrainian media reports.

Citizens of Ukraine, Georgia, Russia and other countries are on board the ship, which has been detained for tobacco smuggling. A criminal case has been instituted.

The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry is providing is citizens with a lawyer and translators. (IPN)

Georgian Patriarch's statement not supported at meeting of inter-religious group

A statement of the Patriarchate of Georgia regarding the Georgian-Turkish agreement on protection of historical artefacts was not supported at an inter-religious group meeting.

Representative of the Patriarchate Tea Gogitishvili presented the statement, according to which activity of any government must be based on current legislation and generally-recognized legal norms.

The Patriarchate believes that any restoration of the Georgian Orthodox Oshki and Ishkhani monasteries in Turkey must include the engagement of the Georgian Orthodox Church as the historic owner of the monuments.

According to the statement, the Patriarchate demands the agreement be publicized and the Church itself be included in the negotiation process.

Representatives from different denominations did not support the statement at the session of the inter-religious group. The meeting was attended by representatives of the Armenian Apostolic church, the Roman Catholic Church, the Evangelistic-Baptist Church, the Evangelical Lutheran Church, the Salvation Army Church, the Seventh-day Adventist Church, the Muslim community and the Fifties Sect. (IPN)

Liberal International delegation alarmed by Georgian election code

A delegation of from Liberal International, the world federation of liberal political parties, finds some aspects of the Georgian electoral code to be "alarming".

As the Treasurer of Liberal International, Robert Woodthorpe Browne, stated at a press conference after a meeting with leaders of Georgian Dream, the Georgian election code does not meet the recommended standards of the Venice Commission.

“The opposition and the government are obliged to sit and discuss how to conduct the election in fair and legal terms. The opposition considers that this is not a good law, that’s why it must be discussed with the government,” Brown said, noting that Georgian Dream had briefed him on their battles with the Chamber of Control.

“This is unimaginable for NATO or EU member countries. I have not heard of such a fact, Georgia is an exception in this case,” he continued.

Member of Swedish Parliament Abir Al-Sahlani believes the Georgian people deserve to live in a democratic system.

“Rivalry must be fair. Citizens must be able to go to elections without threat and intimidation and make their choice,” he said.

The Secretary General of Liberal International, representative of Macedonia Emil Kirjas, spoke about Georgia’s aspiration to join NATO. He said that Georgia has not yet reached the cohort of NATO countries, in terms of Freedom House ratings.

“All the political players in Georgia support Georgia’s integration in NATO. Eighty percent of the population supports North Atlantic integration. The government assures us that this is a priority, though it’s important to know that NATO doesn’t only give attention to the conducting of elections but also what the civil society’s role is in the country,” Kirjas said, adding the Georgian Dream assured him they intend to move closer to NATO if they win. (IPN)

Landslide isolates several villages in Mtskheta-Mtianeti

Two villages located near the Tskhvarichamia resort, in the Mtskheta-Mtianeti region, have been isolated from the rest of the country thanks to a landslide caused by recent heavy rain and hail. The landslide has blocked roads to the villages of Kevliani and Tezami.

Local authorities and emergencies brigades spent Wednesday night cleaning the roads and were able to reconnect the villages to the rest of the region by morning. (Rustavi 2)

Industry Will Save Georgia supports Burjanadze in Georgian Dream

Opposition party Industry Will Save Georgia has hailed the possible entry of Nino Burjanadze into the Bidzina Ivanishvili's Georgian Dream coalition. Industry's Zurab Tkemaladze reviewed political developments in the country at the Prime Time Press Club Wednesday.

Tkemaladze believes that Burjanadze is a strong political figure and therefore, her membership in the coalition will bring the group succcess.

He also spoke out against the constitutional amendment that would allow select EU citizens the right to participate in Georgian elections, which many suspect has only been suggested as a way to allow Ivanishvili to run in October. Tkemaladze affirmed that Ivanishvili should be granted Georgian citizenship by naturalization and not by amending the Constitution. (Rustavi 2)

IDP Minister meets with IDPs in Surami

Minister of Internally Displaced Persons, Accommodation and Refugees, Koba Subeliani, visited the Surami settlement today and met with IDP families who have been living in the N14 technical college since the August War in 2008.

Twenty-seven families currently live in the college building. The Minister handed over property certificates for the apartments in which they live. These families had previously lived in tents, schools and kindergartens for three months after they fled their homes in the former Tskhinvali region. (Rustavi 2)