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The News in Brief

Tuesday, October 1
Tbilisi displays divided views of Saakashvili’s legacy

President Mikheil Saakashvili was given a hero’s welcome at Tbilisi airport Sunday, but outside the old parliament building protesters burned an effigy of him. A crowd greeted Saakashvili as he arrived at the airport on Sunday night. They said that the president held a powerful speech at the UN a few days ago and were there to show their gratitude. The president stopped to talk with some in the crowd. But earlier in the day, others held a more negative view of the president’s nine-year rule. The rally outside parliament was organized by the movement Save the Life which demands answers to the following questions: when justice will be restored, as was promised; whether there will be criminal responsibility for former officials, especially those who participated in punitive operations like May 26, 2011; when will the government solve the issue of private property owners whose property was illegally seized during the previous government. They also want to know if the government will solve the problems of refugees.

Protesters burned effigies of President Mikheil Saakashvili and presidential candidate Davit Bakradze. They also burned photos of the other National Movement members and former government officials.
(Democracy & Freedom Watch)

Davit Bakradze calls on MPs not to use political debate only for political squabbles

United National Movement (UNM) presidential candidate Davit Bakradze called on the parliamentary majority and the minority not to use the political debate, due to be held in parliament next week, only for political squabbles. Bakradze said debates on economic issues have been scheduled for Tuesday. He said that the country's economic situation defines the lives of hundreds of thousands of families in the country, employment and the fight against poverty, something that is especially bothersome people.

"I appeal to the parliamentary minority not to use the debate for political squabbling. I understand of course, that there will always be allegations and political controversy in the debate, but I want to ask everybody not to use this debate only for confrontation and criticizing each other. We should use this debate, as members of Parliament, to find a solution. I declare that I am not going to quarrel in the debate. I will have specific initiatives, which will help the government, country, people and economic situation in the country," he stated.

Parliamentary delegation leaves for Strasburg

Delegation of Georgian lawmakers has left for Strasburg to discuss the situation in the villages along the occupied Tskhinvali region’s administrative boundary line. Members of the parliamentary majority and minority will attend the next session of the Council of Europe. MPs say they intend to focus on the problem of the creeping occupation of Georgian territories by Russia in their speeches. The delegation is headed by the chairperson of the parliament of Georgia, Davit Usupashvili. The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe opened in Strasburg on September 30 and will last until October 4th.
(Rustavi 2)

MFA: Georgia tries to invoke international community’s response to Russia’s actions

The Georgian government is doing a lot to relieve the situation and invoke the international community's response to Russia's action on the territories of the separatist regions, Georgian Foreign Minister Maia Panjikidze said on Monday. "Today we have received 28 ambassadors from the EU's Political and Security Committee and others accompanying them. At the moment they are in the so-called border region to personally witness the barbed wire entanglements being installed by the Russians. We will have meetings with them throughout the day. I am sure their statement will be very useful for Georgia," she said.

According to the Minister, she has recently returned from New York where she held about 60 meetings, the main theme of which was the situation in the villages of Ditsi and Dvani.

"The only tool we have is support from the international community. Our Foreign Ministry and other agencies are working on this as is the government," Panjikidze said.

The Georgian Foreign Ministry said that since early summer, Russian servicemen began constructing limiting structures on the border between Georgia and its separatist regions.

State Minister of Georgia to discuss foreign policy in U.S

Georgia's State Minister for European Integration Aleksi Petriashvili visited the United States. According to the minister's office, Aleksi Petriashvili will meet with Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria and will also attend a working lunch of U.S. congressmen. Petriashvili is scheduled to meet with the head of the EU delegation to the United States, Ambassador Joao Vale, President of the Jamestown Foundation, Glen Howard; Director of the German Marshall Fund, Craig Kennedy; Director of the Center on the United States and Europe at the Brookings Institution, Fiona Hill, and President of the National Endowment for Democracy, Carl Gershman.

Aleksi will address the Atlantic Council of the U.S with a speech and answer questions posed by participants. Aleksi Petriashvili told reporters before departing to the United States, that the foreign policy priorities of Georgia and the ongoing political developments in the country will be considered during the visit.

Arsenic contamination of tap water prevented in Kutaisi

In Georgia, the population of Kutaisi and its surroundings were left without drinking water for two days due to the threat of arsenic contamination of the city's water system.

As the Georgian Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources Protection reported on Monday, precautions have been taken after heavy rains in the Lentekhi District caused the River Tskhenistskali to burst its banks breaching the fence of the former metallurgical combine which was previously involved in the release of arsenic. As a result, toxic waste from arsenic production entered the river. According to the report, at the moment the accident is localized and any contamination of the river into the water system is being prevented. Laboratory tests of water samples taken in the rivers Rioni and Tskhenistskali were also conducted. These showed no risk of contamination.