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The News in Brief

Friday, January 11
Georgia-Russian border monitoring will be discussed soon

More specific discussions about monitoring the freight turnover on the Georgian-Russian border will take place soon, Minister of Foreign Affairs Maia Panjikidze said without specifying further details. “We are working on this issue, we are studying this issue and soon we will probably be able to have more specific answers,” she said. An agreement on monitoring cargo at the Psou, Roki and Larsi checkpoints was achieved within the framework of the Georgia-Russia negotiations on Russia’s accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO). In August 2012, Georgia’s Foreign Relations Department declared that the monitoring would be conducted by the Swiss Company SGS. (IPN)

Foreign Minister will visit Lithuania, Latvia and the Czech Republic

Minister of Foreign Affairs of Georgia, Maia Panjikidze, will visit Lithuania, Latvia and the Czech Republic from January 10-15. The minister, along with her colleagues, will meet senior officials of the executive and legislative governments. Panjikidze will deliver a speech– Foreign and Security Policy of Georgia– at the Eastern European Studies Center in Vilnius. During the visit to the Republic of Lithuania, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Georgia will participate in the Snow Meeting. On January 14 Maia Panjikidze will deliver a speech at the non-governmental organization LATO. During the visit the Georgian minister will hold a joint press conference along with her Latvian, Lithuanian and Czech colleagues. (IPN)

Chairperson of Parliament plans to meet Diplomatic Corps regarding constitutional amendments

Georgian parliamentary Chairman Davit Usupashvili will meet with the representatives of the diplomatic corps accredited in Georgia. Usupashvili told journalists that he will introduce the diplomats to Georgia’s constitutional amendments. He said the meeting of the commission of constitutional changes was held on Wednesday. “This commission discusses the amendments on the public level. The meetings will be held in almost all regional centers,” Usupashvili explained.

Although he did not exactly know the topic of the meeting with the Parliamentary Chairman, US Ambassador to Georgia Richard Norland said he is looking forward to hearing what the speaker has to say.

“I think it is natural at this time of year, when a political season has begun, that Georgia reaffirms its commitment to its international partners to continue working together and making progress on the issues that interest us. In terms of US-Georgia relations, we are looking forward to an active year, to further deepen our partnership and help Georgia achieve the kind of stability and economic development which is so important for the country,” he said. (IPN)

Rescuers try to save tourists caught in avalanche

Georgian rescuers are trying to locate and save three Russian tourists who were stuck under an avalanche Wednesday morning. The local governor told Rustavi2 in a telephone interview that the rescuers are also facing problems because of bad vision. The tourists were returning from Mkinvartsveri, when they were caught by an avalanche. One of the four tourists is a teenager, who has survived and is currently being held at the local hospital in the Kazbegi region. The Russian tourists were in Kazbegi since January 2.

The Kobi-Gudauri section of the Tbilisi-Larsi motorway is still under the threat of an avalanche. The road brigades have suspended the road clearing work due to bad weather. Thirty villages in the Dusheti region have also been isolated by the deep snow, which has damaged the electricity network leaving the area in blackout.

Road cleaning vehicles have failed to reach the disaster area to clean up the roads. Traffic was halted from Stepantsminda to the Larsi border-point too. The weather forecast says it will stop snowing however, and temperatures will continue to fall by the end of the week. (Rustavi 2)

Penitentiary Minister comments on amnesty law

Convicts, who have been granted the status of political prisoner, will be released from prisons on January 13. The amnesty approved by the parliament will apply to persons convicted on charges of espionage and for participating in demonstrations on November 7, 2007 and May 26, 2011.

Minister of Corrections and Legal Assistance, Sozar Subari said the chairperson of parliament will sign the amnesty law on January 12, as the president`s deadline to sign it expires on January 11. The document will be enforced immediately after it is signed by the speaker. Consequently, the release of the political prisoners will begin on January 13. (Rustavi 2)

Viktor Yanukovich Awarded Ilia the Second with First Quality Order

The President of Ukraine Viktor Yanukovich awarded Catholicos Patriarch of Georgia Ilia the Second with the first quality order “for his immense role in developing cultural-spiritual relations between Ukraine and Georgia for many years”. (IPN)