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The News in Brief

Wednesday, April 17
US President personally interested in the development of relations with Georgia

The U.S. is interested in cooperation with Georgia and intends to develop this under the U.S.-Georgia Charter on Strategic Partnership, Ambassador of Georgia to the United States, Archil Gegeshidze, said after the presentation of his credentials to U.S. President Barack Obama on Tuesday.

According to the protocol, the President and the Georgian Ambassador had a brief conversation.

"The U.S. president assured me that his government and he personally will make maximum efforts to strengthen cooperation with Georgia, and that these relationships are important for the U.S," Gegeshidze said. The Georgian Ambassador also noted that the exact time of the Georgian Prime Minister's visit to the US is unknown. "This visit is important and we are preparing for it, but the exact dates are not defined," the diplomat said. (Trend)

Georgian parliament to discuss Ombudsman’s report

The Parliament of Georgia will start discussing the report of the Ombudsman for 2012 on April 18. In the first instance, the report will be discussed in the Parliamentary Committee on Human Rights. The first phase will focus on violations during the election campaign, incidents of torture and inhumane treatment of prisoners and then further questions. "This is a very serious report and we want to change the practice that existed in the last parliament that took the Ombudsman's report into consideration," Chairwoman of the Committee on Human Rights, Eka Beselia said, noting that the rights of victims have to be restored and perpetrators punished. (Trend)

Georgian PM attends security conference in Germany

Prime Minister of Georgia, Bidzina Ivanishvili, is attending a security conference in Germany, organized by the Marshall Fund. The Georgian delegation includes the Parliament Chairman David Usupashvili, Foreign Minister Maia Panjikidze, Economy Minister Irakli Kvirikashvili, State Minister for European Integration Alexi Petriashvili, and MP Tina Khidasheli.

Ivanishvili intends to hold a series of bilateral meetings within the framework of the conference.

The forum is being attended by Director of the Marshall Fund, Craig Kennedy; Estonian President, Toomas Ilves; Foreign Minister of Sweden, Carl Bildt; Foreign Minister of Latvia, Edgaras Rinkevich; Polish Foreign Minister, Radoslaw Sikorski; Deputy Assistant Secretary of State, Thomas O. Melia and others. The Georgian side intends to discuss the conditions of ensuring Georgia's security. (Trend)

Giorgi Volski comments on war investigation controversy

Chairperson of the Interim Commission for Territorial Integrity Issues, Giorgi Volski, published a statement regarding the reaction of the president and the United National Movement, saying that they had an inadequate, hysteric reaction on the intention of the Georgian government to investigate the crimes committed during the war. “Testimony of any senior official including the president within the investigation is not an unusual practice in the civilized world. The whole propagandist resource of the UNM is directed towards covering the true goals of the investigation and aims at misinterpreting the statements of the Prime Minister. The release of lies and misinformation on the international level has become a norm for the UNM,” the statement says.

Giorgi Volski has also emphasized in his statement the demand of The Hague Court to investigate mass violations of human rights during the war. “This demand sent to the Ministry of Justice and not the wishes of any individual, has raised the issue to investigate the August War crimes,” Voski has wrote. (Rustavi 2)

Georgian Foreign Minister to visit Canada

On April 17-19 the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Georgia, Maia Panjikidze, is to pay an official visit to Canada. During the visit, Panjikidze will meet with her Canadian counterpart, as well as representatives of both houses of parliament. This will be the first official visit of Maia Panjikidze to Canada. Bilateral economic relations and the attraction of Canadian investments to Georgia will be discussed during the meetings. (Trend)

70 Prisoners on hunger strike demanding revision of their cases

About 70 prisoners serving life sentences have gone on hunger strike at No. 8 Gldani prison. Head of the Press Service of the Ministry of Corrections and Legal Assistance, Irakli Kordzaia, said the convicts demand that their cases be reevaluated. “Their claims are not linked with the penitentiary system. The prisoners want their cases revised, which is the prerogative of the investigative department. We are maintaining the health and security of the hunger strike inmates, though the investigative structure doesn’t concern us and the prosecutor’s office will act as it considers,” Kordzaia said, adding that the inmates also demand to review the issue of visits. “This topic is solvable and we are working on it,” Kordzaia said. (IPN)

Number of prisoners reduced twice in Georgia

10,341 prisoners are being held in Georgia’s prisons on April 14. This is 56.4 percent less than for the same period in 2012, according to information from the Ministry of Corrections and Legal Assistance. 13 people were released from prison according to the law "On Amnesty" on April 12-14. In total, 8,539 people, including 175 political prisoners, 388 women and 21 children, were released under the amnesty act. (Trend)

First group of OSCE observers to arrive in Georgia

An OSCE delegation will arrive in Georgia this week. The delegation includes the representative of the OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities, Deputy Foreign Minister David Zalkaliani said at a press briefing on Monday. The OSCE observer team of ten people will also visit Georgia on April 27 in connection with the interim parliamentary elections. Elections will be held in three districts - Bagdati, Samtredia and Nadzaladevi district of Tbilisi. (Trend)