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The News in Brief

Friday, December 7
FT: Georgia’s president asks premier for talks

President Saakashvili is offering to hold talks with Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili. Saakashvili stressed the need of meeting Ivanishvili tete-a-tete in his recent interview with The Financial Times.

"Georgia’s president Mikheil Saakashvili has called on the country’s billionaire prime minister to end a political stand-off that he warned could cause Georgia's Western allies to abandon the country and leave it vulnerable to pressure from Russia." the article reads.

In the interview, Saakashvili accused Ivanishvili of orchestrating “dozens” of investigations and arrests after his six-party coalition knocked the president’s party into second place in parliamentary elections in October.

The Georgian President said he was ready to hand over control of domestic affairs to Mr. Ivanishvili’s new government and focus solely on foreign relations during the final months of his presidential term, which ends next October.

"My principal worry is that we should not find ourselves in isolation that leaves us alone and vulnerable. [Georgia] may face the danger to be dumped, out of frustration, by our traditional allies." Mr Saakashvili said. (Rustavi 2)

President pardons 251 convicts

President Saakashvili has signed a decree pardoning 251 convicts. According to the Chairperson of the State Pardon Commission, Elene Tevdoradze, 23 prisoners will have their sentences reduced and the remainder will be released from prison.

There are twelve women among the pardoned, two of whom will have their sentences reduced and the remaining ten will be released from prison.

The pardon was based on the recommendation of the Georgian Patriach Ilia II. (Rustavi 2)

Poland’s Foreign Minister hopes Georgia's new government will not allow one-sided use of law

Poland’s Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski hopes that the new government of Georgia will not allow the one-sided use of law. As InterpressNews reports from Brussels, Sikorski made the above-mentioned statement after the NATO-Georgia Commission meeting.

"At the meeting we received information that the new government has determined to keep the standards established in the post-election period that are not only Georgian but international standards. The important thing is to maintain these standards and to prevent the one-sided use of law. The rule of law must be observed."Sikorsky said. (Interpressnews)

Protest Takes place Demanding Mikheil Saakashvili’s Resignation

A protest was held outside the Presidential Residence demanding President Mikheil Saakashvili’s resignation.

The protest was organized by representatives of the NGO “Unanimity for Public Rights” which has been gathering signatures demanding the President’s resignation for almost a month.

Unanimity for Public Rights submitted an official statement to the Presidential Residence about the protest and sent a letter to the President demanding his resignation.

A special tent was put up near the building, where local residents will be able to sign the petition.

Head of Unanimity for Public Rights Mikheil Andghuladze says the signatures started to be gathered on November 11th and 121,200 people have since joined the memorandum. Signatures have been gathered across Georgia as well as abroad among the Georgian Diaspora. Andghuladze added that the signature gathering process will continue through January 4th when a massive protest is planned outside the Presidential Residence.

The former Deputy Minister of Culture Yuri Mechitov, Rezo Esadze and Revaz Chkheidze also participated in the protest. (IPN)

Documents on purchase of machine guns sent to prosecutor’s office

The Georgian Ministry of Defence has released documents to investigators concerning the purchase of machine guns when Bacho Akhalaia was Minister of Defence.

According to the Ministry tens of thousands of second-hand AK 47 and AKS 47 were purchased earlier this year. The ministry paid 290 euros per gun. The market price for either make of gun does not exceed 50 euros.

In total, the Ministry paid 11,150,000 euros for the machine guns. The ministry officials admitted there was possible corruption in the purchasing process. The money was transferred to the account of an offshore company registered in Panama. (Rustavi 2)

Media Advocacy Coalition Hails Proposed Allowance of Photography and Video Recording During Trials

The Media Advocacy Coalition has hailed the recent initiative made by the Georgian Ministry of Justice which would allow photography and video recordings during trials.

“The Coalition believes that the legislative initiative proposed by the Ministry of Justice of Georgia concerning the use of audio, photo and video recordings during trials is very important.

It is noteworthy that in an effort to secure court transparency we conducted talks with the Council of Justice and the members of the previous Parliament, in vain however.

We believe that allowing audiovisual recordings and photography during trials is a step forward in terms of raising the transparency standard and trust in the court system.

We hope the Parliament of Georgia will uphold the draft bill initiated by the Ministry of Justice of Georgia and support reforms that will secure every citizen’s right to receive information.” (