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The News in Brief

Monday, November 4
President-elect gives interview to Russian BBC

President-elect Giorgi Margvelashvili spoke about Georgian-Russian relations, the president’s authority, European integration and Georgian Prime Minister in his interview with the Russian BBC. Margvelashvili also emphasized the meaning of the upcoming Eastern Partnership Summit in Vilnius, as Georgia expects to sign the EU Associate Membership agreement, which includes the simplification of trade relations. As for his approach to the problem of the occupied regions, Margvelashvili said the problem should be resolved in two directions - with continued support of the non-recognition policy and by discharging the tensions in relations with Russia.
(Rustavi 2)

U.S. Ambassador meets UNM's Bakradze

U.S. Ambassador to Georgia, Richard Norland, met on Thursday with the UNM’s Davit Bakradze, who was the runner-up in the October 27 presidential election with 21.7% of the votes, to congratulate him on, as the U.S. embassy put it, “the election results, which confirmed the United National Movement's standing as the principal opposition party in Georgia today.”

“The ambassador and the UNM political council chairman [Davit Bakradze] agreed on the importance of creative bipartisan cooperation in Parliament and with the Government on addressing the foreign and domestic policy challenges facing the country,” the U.S. embassy said.

On October 28 Ambassador Norland met president-elect Giorgi Margvelashvili to congratulate him on election victory.

“I think looking forward now, it’s clearly an opportunity for the political parties in Georgia to reach out their hands to each other and find the way to cooperate and to build a mutual trust and openness in order to deal with the serious challenges which the country continues to face,” Ambassador Norland said.

Also on October 28 the U.S. Ambassador met outgoing President Saakashvili “to congratulate him on peaceful elections, on the progress Georgia made in many areas during his term in office, and on the upcoming political transition,” according to the U.S. embassy.

Russia says Geneva talks are very important

Russia says the Geneva international mediated peace talks on Georgia-Russia relations are very important after the presidential election in Georgia. The next round of talks will be held on coming week. The Russian foreign ministry has released a statement in this regard.

Thee Georgian Prime Minister’s special representative in relations with Russia, Zurab Abashidze, hailed the approach of the Russian side towards this format of dialogue. Abashidze ruled out any modification of the format of the peace talks after Georgia elected a new president.

The top issue on the agenda of the Geneva talks on November 5-6- will be the consequences of the Georgia-Russia War in August 2008.
(Rustavi 2)

French court leaves former Georgian Defense Minister in custody

A court in the southern French city of Aix-en-Provence has rejected a plea by a former Georgian former defense minister to be set free. In making the decision on October 31, however, the court did not rule on Davit Kezerashvili's possible extradition to Georgia.

Kezerashvili, a close ally of outgoing President Mikheil Saakashvili, was detained last month at Nice Airport following the issuance of an international arrest warrant. Investigators in Georgia say Kezerashvili is suspected of taking a $12 million bribe to facilitate alcohol smuggling in Georgia.

On October 28, a court in Tbilisi sentenced another Saakashvili ally -- former Defense Minister Bacho Akhalaia -- to nearly four years in prison for abuse of office. Several other Saakashvili associates are awaiting trial on various charges.
(Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty)

European Olympic Committee advises Georgia not to boycott Sochi Games

President of the European Olympic Committees (EOC) Patrick Hickey has advised Georgia not to boycott the Sochi Olympic Games. The EOC welcomes the Georgian National Olympic Committee's (GNOC) decision taken in May to participate at the 2014 Sochi Olympics, Hickey told journalists in Tbilisi on Friday.

The GNOC has received a petition signed by 30,000 citizens who call for a boycott of the country's participation at the Games. The Georgian Minister of Sports and Youth Affairs Levan Kipiani, commenting on Hickey's statement, saying the recommendations of the EOC president are very important for Georgia.

"The country's position has been and will be based on adherence to the ideas of the international Olympic movement," he said.

UK Ministry of Justice to assist Georgia’s judicial system

During a visit to London, Georgia's Minister of Justice Tea Tsulukiani met with British Secretary of State for Justice Chris Grayling. The Georgian Ministry of Justice told Trend on Friday that Tsulukiani discussed with her British counterpart, the presidential election held in Georgia.

"Our government has big plans on what to do for strengthening democracy at the level of institutions in Georgia and for more rapid integration into Europe," the minister said.

Tsulukiani also spoke about the functions of the Ministry of Justice and the reforms it conducts. In particular he spoke about the main aspects of judicial reform, the re-socialization - rehabilitation program and reforming juvenile justice.

"The State Minister for Justice promised the assistance from the British side in the creation of indicators to assess judges under the reform of the judicial system, in the training of judges for minors, as well as the exchange of experience in the field of re-socialization – the rehabilitation of prisoners," Tsulukiani said.

During the visit, Georgia's Minister of Justice is to meet with British judges.

Israeli house opens in Tbilisi

The Israeli house opened in Tbilisi on Saturday. Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Zeev Elkin, members of the Georgian government and representatives of the diplomatic corps attended the ceremony. The Israeli house is a pilot programme of the Israeli government that aims at more efficient work with the Jewish Diaspora and deepening relations with friendly countries.

The Israeli house will regularly hold lectures on the history of the State of Israel and its international role, seminars on prominent Israeli public figures, cultural and educational events. Particular attention will be paid to the economic and business relations between Georgia and Israel. The event was organized by the Georgian-Israeli Chamber of Commerce and I.L.C.

Halloween celebrated in Tbilisi

Georgia has been joining the world in celebrating Halloween for the last few years. Participants of the October 31 event dress in special costumes, don scary masks or appear in similarly shocking makeup. Other major attributes of the celebration are pumpkins, the Jack-o’-lantern, fun games and frightening stories.

Several of Tbilisi clubs – including Famous Room - marked the date on Thursday, with young visitors dressed in original costumes to participate in the show.
(Georgian News)