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The News in Brief

Monday, September 30
Members of Georgian delegation hold meeting with EU senior officials in New York

On the initiative of the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Vice-President of the European Commission, Catherine Ashton, a ministerial level meeting on topical issues of the "Eastern Partnership" with participation of representatives of all the six Eastern Partnership countries was held in New York parallel to the 68th session of the UN General Assembly. The Georgian delegation was headed by Foreign Minister Maia Panjikidze. On the EU side, the meeting was attended by the European Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy, Stefan Fule, Deputy Secretary General for the European External Action Service, Helga Schmid, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Lithuania, and the Chairwoman of the Council of the EU countries Lynas Linkevicius.

The goals and expectations determined by the partner countries in the context of the Vilnius summit were discussed during the meeting. The representatives of the EU stressed that the EU supports the signing of an association agreement with Ukraine, and its initialing with regard to Georgia and Moldova. The conversation also touched upon the Russian pressure on the Eastern Partnership countries and it was stressed that free trade with the EU and accession to the Eurasian Union are incompatible, the Georgian Foreign Ministry told Trend.

PM: Georgia to implement national program of cooperation with NATO for 2013

On Friday, Georgian Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili made a speech at the conference, organized by the U.S. Embassy to Georgia dedicated to strengthening control over the production of military and dual-use items. The PM said that with the support of western partners, Georgia drafted a bill, which has already been submitted to the parliament. According to him, with the bill and the creation of the list of dual-use items, Georgia will fulfill its obligations under the national plan of NATO for 2013. In addition, Georgia will also perform a UN Security Council resolution from 2004 and the provisions of the United States-Georgia Charter on Strategic Partnership.

"We are realists and we understand that integration into NATO and the EU is a gradual process. We implement the obligations," Ivanishvili said.

He noted that the new government of Georgia announced the priorities of foreign and domestic policies that aim at integration into European and Euro-Atlantic structures. Accordingly, the reforms are planned in the fields of defense and security of the country.

"Georgia is making significant steps in this direction, and this process is irreversible," Ivanishvili said.

Merabishvili remanded in pre-trial detention

Kutaisi City Court turned down on the September 25 defense lawyers’ motion requesting the release of former PM Vano Merabishvili from pre-trial detention.

The judge has also declined a motion for dropping criminal proceedings and set the criminal case for trial upon its merits, scheduled to start on October 7.

Governor of the Kakheti region, Zurab Tchiaberashvili, is a co-defendant in the same case, which involves criminal charges into the alleged funneling of over 5 million GEL of public funds into the UNM’s election fund last year, when Merabishvili served as PM and Tchiaberashvili as the healthcare minister. They both deny charges calling them politically motivated.

Unlike Merabishvili, whom the court in Kutaisi sent to pre-trial detention on May 22, Tchiaberashvili is not in custody after he was released on 20,000 GEL bail on May 23. Defense lawyers were also requesting removing bail from Tchiaberashvili, like their other motions, this too was rejected by the judge on September 25.

Usupashvili says PM's pre-term resignation will help democratic institutions

Parliament speaker, Davit Usupashvili, said PM Ivanishvili’s successor, who will be selected through ongoing consultations, will not be a “super shocking surprise” for the public.

Speaking on Tbilisi-based Rustavi 2 TV’s political talk-show on September 27, Usupashvili also said he’s not being considered as a possible candidate for the prime ministerial post.

He also spoke about PM Ivanishvili’s decision to quit after the October 27 presidential election and said he personally is not pleased about Ivanishvili’s intention to quit politics.

Usupashvili, however, said Ivanishvili’s departure from politics will contribute to the institutional building of the country’s political system, reducing over-reliance on a single leader and increasing the political accountability of government members and politicians in the ruling coalition.

“His decision to quit politics stems – and I fully agree with him in this issue – from the view that if he stays for an excessively long time in the politics, we [the Georgian Dream coalition] will share the fate of all the previous ruling teams in this country, when people [in the ruling elites] were taking shelter behind the back of a single individual, relying on a single person, hoping that this single person would have to bear the entire burden of blame if something went wrong,” Usupashvili said.

“So with this step, Ivanishvili is [contributing] to the distribution of both power and responsibility,” he said, adding that it will add much more work to the coalition and the cabinet members.

He also said that Ivanishvili’s departure will change the Georgian Dream and make it different both “with form and substance” and turn it into “a genuine coalition” government.

Elene Gedevanishvili gets Sochi Olympics license

Elene Gedevanishvili got a license for the 2014 Winter Olympics. The tournament for ice skaters takes place in Oberstdorf, Germany, with participation of the athletes who failed to reach success in the previous license contest.

Georgian skater showed the 6th result with 51.59, in the free skating competition she was the 7th with 93.21. Gedevanishvili won 144.80 points which is enough for the license.

Students protest in Khaishi

Students and NGOs along with the locals residents protested in the village of Khaishi in Mestia. They protested the launch of the construction of the Khudonhes hydro electric power station. They say the project is not for the development of the Georgian economy and energy. The protesters also say that this project is in the interests of private investors and it must not be done at the expense of the local residents' interests, he added that there is a flood risk and cultural-religious monuments may be covered with water. The students say that if necessary, the protest will be wide-ranging.