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Compiled by Messenger Staff
Thursday, March 21
"Decriminalization of drugs will encourage crime"– Minister Gharibashvili

“It is very awkward that the people who used to be ruling the country with their clans for years are now talking about me,” Liberali cited Minister of Interior Affairs, Irakli Gharibahsvili. Meeting with the media on Tuesday, Gharibashvili said a funny situation was created a day earlier when he met with the parliamentary minority.

“They were not constructive. I came there (to the parliament) to answer their questions. (But) their questions were absurd rumors,” Gharibashvili said at a press conference, adding that his father-in-law, Tamaz Tamazashvili, was “a private inmate” of the former United National Movement (UNM) government for a year.

Talking about the possible decriminalization of drug-related crimes, Gharibashvili said any direct or indirect changes to the law over this issue will definitely encourage drug-crimes. Although the minister said he plans to cooperate with the MPs over this issue. “We are ready to agree on a joint version. We are working with the Healthcare Ministry and soon over 400 medicines will be forbidden to be sold without prescription,” said the Minister.

European Charter – cause of difference in opinions

Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reports that the United National Movement (UNM) MP from Akhalkalaki City Council, Samvel Petrosyan, says he is ready to support the ratification of the European Charter on regional and minority languages. However, according to the local authorities, the final version of the document referring to giving Armenian language regional status will be sent to parliament.

Political analyst Ucha Bluashvili says that the European Council adopted the European Charter in 1992. He said it was one of the preconditions for joining the organization to sign the obligations “which Mikheil Saakashvili did with ease.” The analyst added that Georgia signed the charter in 2005 but after the wave of protests, the government did not dare to ratify.

The Georgian President’s advisor, Van Bayburt, discourages ratification of the charter. He thinks if Georgia agrees to do so, it would mean that the country is adopting the law encouraging suspension of teaching Georgian as the state language. Bayburt thinks the charter should be ratified only after 30-40% of ethnical minorities learn Georgian.

However, the president’s advisor also thinks that ratification of the charter will not encourage separatism. Bayburt also thinks that recently released much talked-of ethnic Armenian, Vaang Chakhalian, is a patriot of Georgia, unlike the opinion of the United National Movement (UNM).