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Compiled by Ana Robakidze
Friday, August 31
US embassy changes visa application procedures

InterpressNews reports that the representative of the US Embassy revealed a new system is being launched throughout the world. The new application procedure will cost less and be simpler. The applicant will make a onetime payment and schedule an interview appointment over the phone or via email, receive answers on any related question and can pay the visa fee in any bank branch in the country.

Is Georgian Railways going to be privatized?

There is a possibility that Georgian Railway shares will be forwarded to a partner foundation. Expert Gia Khukhashvili has expressed his deep concerns about the future of Georgian Railways in an interview with Versia. “Would not it be a threat, especially when part of our territory is lost? Moreover, Georgia is a crossing point between Europe and Asia and a major portion of our cargo transportation comes via railways,” Khukhashvili says. Also, the future plans of the partner foundation remains ambiguous and it is worth to mention that the railway is a strategic spot of high importance, as Georgia is a transit country and its future development may depend on the proper functioning of railways in the country.

This is not a first attempt to put Georgian Railways shares on sale. The government was going to place 5% of the shares on the London Market. However, the agreement has been suspended, which is a bit suspicious. “Seems like they (government) are trying to work out a new plan for the possible privatization of the railway,” the expert said.

Georgian Railways is an extremely profitable organization, but it is valuable not only financially, but as a strategic unit it has a very high political value.

Khukhashvili confirms the need of long-term investment in the railways of the country. However, the “government has to foresee all possible political and economic risks,” he explained.