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The News in Brief

Friday, April 19
Georgian Speaker waiting for President’s visit to Parliament

Georgian Parliamentary Chairperson Davit Usupashvili has commented on President Saakashvili's recent statements on a political talk-show that he was prepared to answer lawmakers' questions about his conduct during the August war in 2008.

Davit Usupashvili is currently paying an official visit to the Czech Republic. Usupashvili told journalists that he was interested to know if the President was planning to deliver a speech before the lawmakers. He added that lawmakers will make assessments of Saakashvili's actions rather than posing questions to him.

"First of all I would like to know if he is going to come to Parliament. We are not inviting him for an interrogation. He [Saakashvili] wanted to deliver a speech and if he comes, then he may have to listen to our assessments.” Davit Usupashvili said. (Rustavi2)

Georgia to take part in global security forum in Bratislava

Georgian First Deputy State Minister for Reintegration Ketevan Tsikhelashvili will attend the global security forum to be held in Bratislava, Slovakia on April 18th-20th, the State Minister's Office said on Thursday.

The forum will be attended by high-level government officials, diplomats and experts, who will discuss issues of security and foreign policy, transatlantic and regional cooperation, as well as the economic and energy prospects of Europe.

Tsikhelashvili will also attend a meeting organized by the Slovak Atlantic Commission, which will take place as part of the forum. As part of the forum Tsikhelashvili will give a speech on conflict resolution. (Trend)

Georgian diplomatic and official passports holders to travel to Israel without visa

Deputy Foreign Ministers of Georgia and Israel David Djalagania and Zeev Elkin signed an agreement on Wednesday in Jerusalem under which holders of diplomatic and official passports will not need a visa to travel to Israel.

The agreement was signed as part of the political consultations between the foreign ministries of the two countries taking place in Israel, the Georgian Ministry of Foreign Affairs told Trend on Wednesday.

The two sides are discussing issues of bilateral, regional and strategic relationships and common problems.

"These meetings mark another step towards strengthening political, economic and cultural relations between the two countries." the Georgian Embassy in Israel noted. (Trend)

An additional $84 million to be invested in Georgian gas and oil exploration and production

This year an additional $84 million will be invested for the exploration and production of oil and gas in Georgia, Energy Minister Kakha Kaladze said on Wednesday. Kaladze was visiting the Gindal Petroleum LTD's oil fields in Okami and Sartichala.

Kaladze said very big energy companies are interested in exploring for oil and natural gas in Georgia. Among these is the Indian company Gindal Petroleum LTD. "It started drilling operations in January and began producing oil in March. It is producing about 25 tons per day, and there is a strong possibility to increase production up to 50,000 tons. As experts suggest, our country has oil, and God forbid that it would be so much oil that it would be enough for all of Georgia." Kaladze said.

The minister mentioned that a few companies that have already received licenses for oil exploration and drilling.

"In 2013 we are planning to invest an additional 84 million dollars in this sector. That the oil production has started generates a new interest from investors," Kaladze said. (Trend)

Georgian State Minister holds high-level meetings in UK

Georgian State Minister for Integration into European and Euro-Atlantic structures Alexi Petriashvili is on a working visit to the UK. He is holding high-level bilateral meetings with the Minister for International Security Strategy Andrew Murison, Minister of State for Europe and NATO David Lidington and the members of the Georgian-British Parliamentary Friendship Group chaired by Mark Reklesa.

During the meeting, the State Minister thanked the Britain for its support of Georgia's integration into the EU and NATO. Petriashvili also briefed British officials about implemented and planned activities in this direction, the State Minister's office reported on Wednesday.

The parties also discussed the importance of Georgia's participation in international peacekeeping missions. The British government particularly noted the contribution of Georgia as the largest contributor among non-NATO members in the ISAF mission in Afghanistan.

As part of the visit, Petriashvili met with representatives of the European Council on Foreign Relations Analytical Centre.

The State Minister is also meeting with representatives of NGOs and local media, to discuss Georgia's foreign policy priorities and answer questions.

"They have expressed great interest about the processes taking place in the country today, and it is hoped that the changes and improvements initiated after the parliamentary elections in 2012, will be very successful and fruitful and lead us to our ultimate goal, that is integration into the EU and NATO." Petriashvili said.

After the UK, the State Minister will pay a working visit to Slovakia to speak at the forum on global security. (Trend)

Mikheil Saakashvili to Attend South Caucasus Forum in Azerbaijan

The President of Georgia Mikheil Saakashvili will visit Azerbaijan to attend the South Caucasus forum, the Azeri media reports. The State Committee of Azerbaijan for Diaspora Affairs reports that the first International Forum for the South Caucasus will be held on from May 6th to May 8th in Baku. Representatives of 60 countries, former leaders, famous scientists and experts will attend the forum. (IPN)

Americans exhibition presented at TBC Bank Gallery

The TBC Bank Gallery hosted an exhibition of the Diogene publishing house called Americans on April 17th. This exhibit unites 20 important pieces of American writing from the second half of the 20th century and the beginning of the 21st century which have contributed heavily to modern world literature. This is the first time that all the books of the series have been translated into Georgian. (The Messenger)