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The News in Brief

Friday, November 30
Minister comments on criticism from American media

The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Georgia Maia Panjikidze has responded criticisms of the new Georgian government by the American media. Panjikidze says the issue will be on the agenda of her meetings with U.S. when she visits the United States in the next week.

"Several critical articles have been published in the American media recently and this has its reasons. We`ll discuss all this and I will explain everything to our American colleagues. I am sure that they will understand our explanations." Panjikidze said.

Panjikidze's first official meeting during her visit will be with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Meetings with American senators and congressmen are also on the agenda. Panjikidze will discuss bilateral relations with the United States, Georgia's integration process into NATO, Georgia-Russia relations and Georgia`s contribution to the ISAF mission. (Rustavi 2)

Allegations against me saying I was exerting pressure on judges should be proved - Kote Kublashvili

"Allegations against me saying that I was exerting pressure on judges should be proved." Chairman of the Supreme Court Kote Kublashvili, told journalists.

Kublashvili added that the accusations of his abusing his responsibilities were frivolous.

“I can be impeached by the Constitution, but it is a very complicated procedure. I should not have to prove my innocence. They should prove the allegations against me. Generally, the issue does not seem serious to me. I'm not preoccupied with it as I have a much more important job to do in the Supreme Court." Kublashvili said. (IPN)

Irakli Okruashvili has revealed an important detail regarding Zurab Zhvania’s death – Irma Chkadua

Lawyer Irma Chkadua claims the former Defence Minister Irakli Okruashvili revealed an important detail regarding Zurab Zhvania’s death to her while she was visiting him in prison as part of a monitoring mission.

"I visited Irakli Okruashvili in prison a few days ago. We talked about many topics, but I was particularly interested in Zurab Zhvania’s case. Okruashvili refrained from elaborating on the issue, but he recalled one episode, saying:

"When I heard about Zhvania’s death, I went up to Saakashvili. He was sitting with his head down, I thought he was nervous, but suddenly he raised his head and said 'We've gotten rid of a big problem'. It was a big shock for me."

Chkadua added that if Okruashvili confirms the same to law-enforcement officers, then there is sufficient reason for at least questioning Mikheil Saakashvili. According to Chkadua, Okruashvili is ready to answer investigators’ questions and did not ask Chkadua to keep his statement a secret. (IPN)

Audit reveals violations in the Reg. Development Ministry

An internal audit has revealed serious violations at the Ministry of Infrastructure and Regional Development. The violations date back to the period when Ramaz Nikolaishvili was the Minister. The Current minister Davit Narmania says the audit revealed violations in the process of contract bids and the purchase of street lighting systems.

`We have faced two kinds of violations. First concerns the unacceptably high price paid for street lighting systems. The second concerns contract bids-certain construction companies seemed to have unfairly benefited. Both will be investigated further." Narmania stated. (Rustavi 2)

Tbilisi Parliament Building has been returned to the Georgian government

The Parliament Building on Rustaveli Avenue in Tbilisi has been returned to Georgia`s legislative government.

"The Parliament Building Rustaveli Avenue has been returned to the legislative branch of the Georgian government. Its current condition will be assessed and a plan will made for when it can function again as the seat of Georgia's legislature." Chief of Parliamentary Staff Zurab Marakvelidze said.

The Parliament Building on Rustaveli Avenue was formerly in the possession of the Partnership Foundation, which is chaired by the former Prime Minister Nika Gilauri. The Partnership Foundation took control of the old Parliament Building after the opening of the new Parliament Building in Kutaisi this past May. (Rustavi 2)