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The News in Brief

Monday, April 1
NATO Deputy Secretary General comments on Georgia's Euro-Atlantic integration

NATO sees no difference in the positions of Georgia’s previous and new governments about the country’s Euro-Atlantic integration, Deputy Secretary General of NATO, Alexander Vershbow, said on March 29.

In an interview with the Ekho Mosvky radio station, Vershbow reiterated that NATO was committed to the 2008 Bucharest summit that Georgia would one day join the alliance.

“But of course Georgia has to continue to demonstrate its commitment to democratic reform and of course to show that it can be a positive contributor to peace and security in the region and globally,” Vershbow said. “They are going through an interesting experience of political cohabitation and recently they seem to have made some progress with some agreements on constitutional amendments.”

Asked whether Georgia’s current government was continuing to pursue the NATO integration path, Vershbow responded: “Absolutely, we see no difference in the position of the new government from the previous.”

“They passed a parliamentary resolution that was adopted unanimously that Georgia’s destiny is Euro-Atlantic integration,” he said.

Vershbow said that NATO was also committed to its open-door policy.

“Enlargement is still our policy – we have four candidates: Montenegro, Macedonia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Georgia; what will happen? That depends on their actions and their own policies,” the NATO Deputy Secretary General said.

Abkhaz Leader Meets Georgian, Russian Top Orthodox Clerics

Senior clerics from the Georgian and Russian Orthodox Churches met de facto Abkhaz leader, Alexander Ankvab in Russia’s Black Sea resort town of Sochi on March 28.

Head of the Moscow Patriarchate’s foreign relations department, the Metropolitan of Volokolamsk, Hilarion, and the Metropolitan of Borjomi and Bakuriani of the Georgian Patriarchate, Seraphim, participated in the meeting with the Abkhaz leader to exchange views about the existing situation and prospects of development of Orthodoxy in Abkhazia.

During the conversation, Ankvab stressed that the spiritual ties between the Abkhaz clergy, Abkhaz Orthodox Christians and the Georgian Orthodox Church have long been lost and cannot be restored. However, the Metropolitan of Volokolamsk, Hilarion, expressed the belief that the solution to the problem can only be found through strictly following the canonical laws of the church.

“Metropolitan Seraphim [of the Georgian Orthodox Church] has noted the importance of the church’s peacemaking service directed towards the strengthening of friendship between the peoples,” the Moscow Patriarchate’s foreign relations department said in its press release.

It said that the participants noted the need to further continue “consultations and meetings on this issue in various formats.”

Volsky Publicizes Recommendations of Matthew Bryza

Chairperson of the interim Parliamentary Commission for the Restoration of Territorial Integrity, Giorgi Volsky, published American high-ranking official Matthew Bryza’s recommendations to the previous government of Georgia regarding conflict regulation two years before the August War. In the letter, the former Georgian Ambassador to the U.S., Vasil Sikharulidze, sent to then Minister of Foreign Affairs, Gela Bezhuashvili, Sikharulidze speaks about the details of meeting with Bryza on 1 June 2006.

“Matthew Bryza declared that the Group of Friends calls on the Georgian parliament not to pass an emotional and confrontational resolution on June 15 about Russian peacekeeping forces in Abkhazia. In such case, neither U.S. nor the Group of Friends or the UN will support Georgia. This will harm not only the perspectives of solving the Abkhazian conflict, but will have a negative influence on the European countries’ decision to involve Georgia in intensive dialogue with NATO. Bryza advises that it would be reasonable that the resolution bypasses the issues of Russian peacekeeping forces and underscores the necessity to deploy an important contingent of international police forces in the Gali region under the aegis of the UN,” reads the letter of Sikharulidze to Bezhuashvili, citing Bryza that Georgia has to give the Group of Friends a chance of putting political pressure on Russia via UN.

Mikheil Saakashvili spends three days in Egypt with his family

Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili spent three days in Egypt with his family. During the holidays, Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi, who was also paying a visit to South Africa, expressed his respect to the Georgian people and the willingness to arrive to Georgia in the telephone conversation with Saakashvili.

Saakashvili was hosted in Egypt by the country’s Tourism Minister. Meeting with several other ministers of the new Egyptian government the sides agreed that a governmental delegation of Egypt would arrive in Georgia to study reforms and share experience. “The President covered all expenses of the holidays himself and has already returned to Georgia,” Saakashvili’s press service informs.

Georgian citizens released from MIA custody

As a result of intensive negotiations held by the Informational-Analytical Department and the Shida Kartli Regional Main Division with representatives of de facto government of Tskhinvali, Georgian citizens have been released from illegal custody.

According to the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Georgia (MIA), on March 26, the Russian military detained Georgian citizen Ushangi Dotiashvili in the vicinity of the occupation line for "illegally crossing” the administrative border when he went to gather timber in his own fruit garden, located in the village of Kirbali. On March 27, two more Georgian citizens– Ira Khubaeva (a resident of Kaspsi) and Ana Gigolaeva (residing in the town of Gori), were detained on the same charges.
(Front News)

Georgian government for open governance

The Minister of Environment Protection of Georgia Khatuna Gogaladze met representatives of media within the frames of the new governmental project "Georgian Government for Open Governance” on March 29 in the Radisson Blu Iveria Hotel where Gogaladze presented a report on last month’s implemented activities, as well as planned initiatives of the Ministry.
(The Messenger)