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The News in Brief

Friday, June 1
Saakashvili speaks at UN Alliance of Civilizations forum

President Mikheil Saakashvili spoke regional leadership at the UN Alliance of Civilizations forum.

"We see that Turkey is acquiring the status of a leader and it is a peace initiator in the East. What defines Turkey’s role? Is it the region’s strongest military power? It is quite strong, though there are states with more active military possibilities in the region. From an economic point of view, Turkey is a very strong state though there are other countries with strong economic possibilities too. In addition, Turkey has new ideas and model," the President said.

He noted that Georgia is a small country but one that is located at the crossroads of great civilizations.

Saakashvili also mentioned that previous leaders in the region have had differing views on Georgia.

"Leading countries have had different reactions with regards to Georgia since its independence – some had a hysterical reaction, some were trying to deprive us of independence. In this regard, Turkey was a distinguished model. Turkey has been supporting and encouraging Georgia since the day of [our] independence," he asserted.

According to Saakashvili, Georgia "used cooperation against isolation and confrontation. This depresses pessimists throughout the world. They forecasted the alliance’s efforts would not yield results".

The UN Alliance of Civilizations forum ends today, in Istanbul. It was attended by 65 world leaders. (IPN)

NAEC Director sums up exams

The new Director of the National Assessment and Examination Centre (NAEC), Khatia Dekanoidze, summed up the school exit examinations, which ended yesterday.

Final-year students from Georgia's schools wrote computerized tests in eight subjects. Dekanoidze said that only five percent of pupils failed to overcome the minimum competence threshold, which is a significant improvement compared to last year - in 2011, 11% failed the exam.

"We have all seen how firm the institution is, how significant the reforms carried out by the Ministry of Education are. Our centre will do its best to maintain and reinforce the course of national reforms," the new Director maintained. (Rustavi 2)

Ministry of Education has no plans to dismiss teachers

The Ministry of Education and Science does not plan to dismiss teachers.

Education Minister Dimitri Shashkin made the announcement at a meeting with teachers yesterday.

According to the Minister, some politicians have been telling teachers that the government plans to dismiss them, but Shashkin called this information ‘false’. He met with the directors of all schools and affirmed that no dismissals are planned.

The Minister also said that the process of certification of teachers will not be obligatory until 2014, and teachers will be able to take their exams multiple times. (IPN)

Georgia removed from list of risky countries

Georgia has been removed from a list of countries with financial risks published by ratings agency Moody's Investors Service Company.

The removal of Georgia from this list means that the country is no longer considered dangerous for air companies. According to these ratings, Georgia has been qualified as a secure and financially stable country.

Moody's provides international financial research on bonds issued by commercial and government entities, and is considered one of the Big Three credit rating agencies. (Rustavi 2)

Kirtadze speaks at NATO conference in Brussels

Nestan Kirtadze continues her intensive programme of visits and meetings in Brussels, presenting the Georgian-Abkhazian and Georgian-Ossetian House and its initiatives to various potential partners, her organization informed InterpressNews.

While in Brussels, Kirtadze took part in the conference "After Chicago: Re-evaluating NATO's priorities", discussing the prospective role of the organization in the region's future with top NATO officials, diplomats, and other experts.

Javier Solana, former head of Common Security and Foreign Policy mechanism of the European Union, welcomed the arrival of Kirtadze, and noted the importance of economic, social, and cultural cooperation between Georgia, Abkhazia, and South Ossetia.

The buzzword of the conference, used many times by all speakers, was "changes". Participants agreed that NATO requires a major revamp in the wake of colossal changes on the geopolitical map – not only the collapse of the Soviet Union, but global terrorism and the Arab Spring.

It was noted, however, that expanding the scope of NATO's responsibilities risks functional overlap with the European Union.

Kirtadze also met with Dr. Stefan Gehrold, Director of the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung, and discussed potential support of the Georgian-Ossetian and Georgian-Abkhazian House projects with financial support from the foundation.

Chair of IBM Europe, Harry van Dorenmalen, expressed his interest in delivering a speech at a Georgian-Abkhazian and Georgian-Ossetian House event at the European Parliament in September.

"We will be happy to make our input in the [evolution] of peaceful dialogue in the region of the Southern Caucasus," said Pierre Sondergaard, of the Association of Local Democracy Agencies. (IPN)