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The News in Brief

Wednesday, December 19
TBC Bank celebrated its 20th anniversary

The 20th anniversary of TBC Bank was celebrated with special cultural events throughout the day on December 17. After watching the film 20/12 at Amirani and Rustaveli cinemas, TBC Bank’s friends attended an open-air concert in front of the head office on Marjanishvili Avenue where Georgian musicians performed not only world famous songs but also created a festive Christmas mood. At the end of the day, TBC Bank dedicated Tamar Kvesitadze’s monument “TBC Clocks” to the residents of the Tbilisi at Galaktioni Bridge. (The Messenger)

The Silk Road in Colors

On December 18th, the Georgian National Museum Simon Janashia hosted the exhibition “The Silk Road in Colors” exhibition of celebrated Chinese contemporary artists.

The Silk Road, which extended from Chang’an in the east through South Asia, Middle and West Asia until reached Europe and North Africa, is a renowned ancient access to civilizations of ancient China and the western world. It also marks close ties and friendship between China and Eurasia.

Nikolay Patrushev – Georgia Has to take First Step to Normalize Relations with Russia

Russia’s Secretary of Security Council Nikolay Patrushev said the Georgian government has to take the first step to normalize relations with Russia. “The government of Georgia launched a war against Abkhazia and South Ossetia, where a lot of Russian citizens live. This caused serious intergovernmental conflict,” Patrushev said, expressing Russia’s readiness for dialogue and cooperation. “Though we must not focus only on statements; real steps from the government of Georgia need to be taken. Unfortunately they do not speak about the non-usage of power against the two independent states recognized by Russia – Abkhazia and South Ossetia,” Patrushev told Russian media. He says that the current political situation in Georgia is difficult. “The US and NATO have great influence on the country. Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili and President Mikheil Saakashvili contradict each other. They have to resolve the internal problems and define their roles. One of them says he is interested in restoring relations with the Russian Federation while another does the opposite. However, their positions coincide on a number of issues. For instance, both of them declare that their goal is Georgia’s accession to NATO and EU,” Patrushev said. He underscored the historical ties of the Georgian-Russian people and noted that Georgians lived in one state for a long time and they actively cooperated. (IPN)

Davit Kirvalidze – U.S. Intends to Invest 50 million USD in Agrarian Projects

Georgian Minister of Agriculture, Davit Kirvalidze, summarized his working visit in the US. Kirvalidze met with representatives of the US Department of State, Department of Agriculture and the World Bank.

According to the minister, he underscored the importance of establishing service centers, which would serve farmers’ associations, cooperatives and entrepreneurs. He said the US supports the new vision of developing agriculture in Georgia and will be actively engaged in the projects planned in agriculture. The minister said that the American party plans to invest 50 million USD over the next 4 years.

“The US remains a strategic partner in the field of agriculture, the main donor and supporter. Our message was that the Georgian government intends to create all kinds of conditions for investors to develop business in Georgia, considering the country and the people’s interests,” Kirvalidze said. Davit Kirvalidze states that the process of preparing agriculture and the regional development project and methods of implementation were discussed. Kirvalidze said the World Bank plans to carry out a 30-50 million USD project for the development of irrigation systems. Kirvalidze was visiting the US on 11-15 December. (IPN)

GYLA has New Chairperson

Kakha Kozhoridze will head the Georgian Young Lawyers’ Association (GYLA) for the next year.

GYLA will continue focusing on human rights and cooperate with the former and the new government.

The GYLA elects the chairperson for a year, though according to changes made last year, the same person can run for chairperson of GYLA three times. (GYLA)

EU-Georgia Cooperation Council Session held in Brussels

The 13th annual EU-Georgia cooperation council session was held in Brussels on December 18.

The Georgian delegation is led by the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Georgia Maia Panjikidze. State Minister for European integration Aleksi Petriashvili also joined the delegation.

The European Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighborhood Policy, Stefan Fule and Erato Kozakou-Marcoullis, the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Cyprus, whose country holds the current EU Presidency, attended the session.

The parties discussed implementation of the European Neighbourhood Policy action plan, the EU Eastern Partnership initiative, ongoing reforms in Georgia, the regulation of Russian-Georgian relations and other topical issues. (IPN)

Irakli Okruashvili went on hunger strike

Irakli Okruashvili, Georgia’s ex-defense Minister went on a hunger strike demanding that his friends receive status of political refugee. Other people charged with Okruashvili for establishing illegal military gangs have been on a hunger strike for more than 1 week; thus Okruashvili expressed solidarity towards them. (GHN)

Ex-PM’s uncle bailed out

Levan Tumanishvili, the uncle of the former prime minister of Georgia and the current secretary general of the United National Movement, Vano Merabishvili, was released from prison on GEL 50,000 bail. The director of the Tao Company was detained on Saturday with charges of running an illegal logging business, but was charged only for document forgery; the defendant denies the charges. (Rustavi 2)

Film Director wants to address the parliament

Rezo Chkheidze, a well-known Georgian film director, wants to be given the floor in the parliament to deliver a speech. The film director has applied to Davit Usupashvili, Parliamentary Chairman with this demand. However, MPs from majority and minority think Chkheidze should not be given the floor.

Chkheidze plans to hold a rally outside the parliament building on December 19. He continues the gathering of signatures and is demanding the resignation of Georgia's President Mikheil Saakashvili across Georgia. (GHN)