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The News in Brief

Thursday, May 17
Kalandadze clarifies comments on Davit Gareji dispute

Georgia’s Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Nino Kalandadze, has clarified her comments regarding the Davit Gareji monastery complex border dispute with Azerbaijan.

Kalandadze published a statement on her facebook page claiming that she was originally misquoted.

“The facts are the following: the process of delimitation of the state border between Georgia and Azerbaijan is taking place now. Sixty-six percent of the border has been agreed on by the interstate delimitation commissions. Two percent of the territory of the Davit Gareji monastery and the paths leading to it are among the areas that are not agreed on. During the Soviet [period], two percent of the territory of the monastery complex fell under the control of the Republic of Azerbaijan, according to the administrative distribution. The other part of the Davit Gareji monastery complex is on the territory of Georgia.

"Considering the fact that priests are in the Udabno Monastery, part of the Gareji monastery complex, and worshippers [and] tourists visit it, the Azeri party has not been restricting free travel on the territory for years by endeavor of the Georgian party. About 10 days ago, Azeri border guards declared... that only priests and border guards would be allowed to enter the Udabno Monastery territory. Now our efforts are directed at providing free movement for everyone on the territory. Obviously, the Georgian party is guided by the interest of the Georgian people in negotiations.

"The fact that the Davit Gareji monastery complex fully belongs to the Georgian cultural heritage has never been under question in the Georgian-Azeri relationship. This is unambiguously a Georgian cultural monument.

"[Regarding] free movement for everyone in the area of the monastery complex, we are sure that the issue will be solved by traditional neighbourly and friendly spirit between the states before the end of the state border delimitation process,” Kalandadze wrote.

At the weekly Ministry briefing on Monday, the Deputy Minister was quoted as saying that part of the Gareji monastery complex had not been on Georgian territory since the Soviet Union collapsed.

She said that a certain part of the complex is on Azeri territory.

Priests have reported that Azeri border guards have been standing at Udabno Monastery, part of Davit Gareji Monastery complex, since May 6 and do not allow worshippers or tourists inside. The Azeri government has declared the Udabno Monastery an Albanian cultural monument. (IPN)

Kazakhstan says Georgia has stopped paying loan

The Kazakh news agency Niuskaz is reporting that Kazakhstan’s Minister of Finance Bolat Zhamishev announced at a special session of Parliament that Georgia has stopped paying a sovereign loan to that country.

He said the post-Soviet loan is worth $20 million USD.

Zhamishev states that Georgia stopped fulfilling their commitment to a Paris Club decision, according to which the country's international loans were restructured.

He noted that along with Georgia, Kazakhstan has loan issues with Belarus and Turkmenistan. (IPN)

Labour Party accuses Ivanishvili of trying to poach their supporters

The Labour Party has accused Bidzina Ivanishvili of bribing their members and supporters in an attempt to win them over.

Party representative Giorgi Gugava asserted that Georgian Dream activists visited Labour Party supporters at home, offered them debit cards loaded with money if they defected and joined Ivanishvili's team. He said Ivanishvili was offering hundreds of thousands of dollars to his members, as he believes his party is a strong rival to Georgian Dream.

Gugava maintained that members of the Labour Party would never change their principles for money.

Healthcare Minister unveils medical centre reform

Minister of Labour, Health and Social Affairs Zurab Chiaberashvili outlined his plan for primary medical reform to the staff of the National Centre of Family Medicine yesterday. The Minister said the goal of the reform was to assist citizens in controlling and improving their health early on, in order to avoid complications and hospitalization.

Before the changes, similar medical centres operated as polyclinics, but will now be called "centres of family medicine". (Rustavi 2)

FC Dynamo holds negotiations with Volker Finke

The Dynamo Tbilisi football club is preparing for a staff change - the management of the club has begun negotiations with Volker Finke.

Well-known to Georgian fans, Finke has previously trained members of the Georgian national team in Freiburg, Germany. Most recently, he worked as the director of the Koln sports school.

Dynamo management says other candidates are also being considered and the final decision on a new coach will be made at the end of the season. (Rustavi 2)

Tbilisi hosts international development exhibition

The Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development Vera Kobalia opened the 17th International Exhibition at the Expo Georgia Exhibition Centre yesterday.

At the opening, the Minister presented awards to six Georgian architects.

Companies from 16 countries are exhibiting their products at the event, in 135 showrooms. (Rustavi 2)