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The News in Brief

Thursday, October 25
De-facto Abkhazian government rules out direct bilateral negotiations with Tbilisi

The de-facto Abkhazian government has ruled out direct bilateral negotiations with Tbilisi. According to the Russian media, de facto President Alexander Ankvab spoke about it at the meeting during the Geneva talks. He said "the Abkhazian side is not going to discuss the minor issues that were raised by mediators at the Geneva discussion. We are not interested in the issue of Georgia's territorial integrity, the topic of refugees and other such issues that have nothing to do with the existing political reality," declared Ankvab.

He went on to say that they might only consider international safeguards regarding the non-use of force. "We are not interested in other issues," said the de-facto president.

In addition, he expressed his negative position with regard to the visits of ambassadors accredited in Georgia. "The countries that wish to participate in the peace process, can send their diplomats who are accredited in the Russian Federation," said Ankvab. (IPN)

Tsotne Gamsakhurdia pardoned by President

Son of the first president of Georgia Zviad Gamsakhurdia, has been released from prison after having served three years of his term. Tsotne Gamsakhurdia was pardoned by President Saakashvili under the motion of the Patriarch of Georgia. Ilia II addressed the president regarding his early release on September 28th and asked him to pardon him due to his grave health state. The motion was satisfied yesterday. Tsotne Gamsakhurdia left the prison late Tuesday night and the first place he went to was the residence of the Patriarch.

Tsotne Gamsakhurdia was arrested on October 27, 2009 and charged with keeping and carrying arms illegally and attempted premeditated murder. (Rustavi 2)

Irakli Gharibashvili not ruling out several high-ranking officials keeping their posts in the ministry

Interior minister-designate Irakli Gharibashvili does not rule out that several high-ranking officials might keep their posts in the ministry. Irakli Garibashvili told Rustavi 2 TV, no employee will be dismissed unfairly. "I will inform you about my deputies a bit later. I do not exclude the possibility that some high-ranking officials will keep their posts", said the minister-designate. According to him, all honest police officers, who honourably serve the country and the people, will remain in service. (IPN)

Railway employees end strike

The workers of the cargo transit department of Georgian Railways were on strike for two hours on Wednesday, causing the suspension of the company's railway operation beginning at 11:00. The employees of Georgian Railways have protested during the past few days, demanding an increase in their salaries. After the yesterday`s negotiations with the management of GR, which ended without agreement, another meeting was held this morning. At 13:00, rail traffic was resumed. However, the protestors say they will arrange a 24-hour long strike unless their demands are satisfied. (Rustavi 2)

Workers` protest in Kobuleti continues

Workers employed on the construction of the Kobuleti by-pass highway are still on strike. They launched their protest a week ago and the main demands of the workers are an increase in salaries, the improvement of working conditions and the reinforcement of security norms. Construction work has been suspended due to the protest. Local trade unions have pledged support to the workers in the negotiations with a Chinese company, which is conducting the construction work. (Rustavi 2)

Over 200 workers at Borjomi factory are on strike

Workers from the Borjomi mineral water company have been on strike since Monday. They are demanding an increase in their salaries. Over 200 workers have refused to work until their demands are met. They say the average salary of workers is 100-150 GEL in the factory. They say that the company management promised them to increase their salaries after the parliamentary elections. However, they did not. The deputy director of the company says there are not sufficient funds to accomplish this demand. (Rustavi 2)

Construction of Lazika under question

Lawmakers have been discussing the economic projects of the ruling majority at the sessions of the committees yesterday. Differing from the statements made by the Georgian Dream coalition leaders, who said the Lazika construction project in west Georgia would be suspended, next day the candidate for the minister of economics said the project will be reviewed as it has positive sides as well. Giorgi Kvirikashvili said the shoreline reinforcement work in Lazika would continue. He also focused on the potential of Anaklia port development and its prospects. Candidate for the minister of culture, Guram Odisharia has also voiced a new initiative- he said he would soon present a new law on charity in parliament. According to the draft bill, those who conduct charitable projects in the country would receive tax privileges. (Rustavi 2)