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The News in Brief

Thursday, January 23
President expresses concern over Russia’s activities

President Giorgi Margvelashvili has expressed concern over Russia’s expansion of the 11-kilometer border zone on Georgian territory without consulting Georgia. “It is clear that it is not just a technical step but it has a political meaning given the fact that Russia has military and security control over this territory,” the president said at a special briefing on January 22.

According to him, the fact should not be left beyond attention of the international community.

“We want to emphasize the fact that the Georgian side expressed readiness to actively engage in ensuring security for the Sochi Olympic Games,” Margvelashvili said.

By the joint decision of the Russian Federation and the Abkhazian de-facto government, a border zone will be created on the Psou River from 20 January till 21 March 2014 for ensuring security at the Sochi Olympic Games. (InterPressNews)

Lefort: 'No One Should Doubt in EU's Support for Georgia's Territorial Integrity'

Outgoing EU special representative for South Caucasus and a co-chair of the Geneva talks, Philippe Lefort, reiterated EU’s support to Georgia’s territorial integrity and said no one should “attempt to misinterpret it.”

His comment was made in response to a report by Russia’s online news agency, Regnum, which wrote on January 20: “Status of South Ossetia as an independent state has been defined by the people of the republic a long time ago and it is actually impossible to change this position. It was announced by co-chair of the Geneva Discussions from the EU, Philippe Lefort, in Tskhinvali on January 20.” A similar report was also carried by the breakaway region’s official news agency, RES, after Lefort’s meeting with South Ossetian leader Leonid Tibilov in Tskhinvali on January 20.

“The EU position is based upon the support for the territorial integrity of Georgia within internationally recognized borders, and nobody should be in any doubt of that or attempt to misinterpret it,” Lefort told by phone from Yerevan on January 21. (Civil.Ge)

Turkey to continue supporting Georgia in its accession to NATO

Turkey will continue to support Georgia in its push towards NATO and Euro-Atlantic structures, Turkish President Abdullah Gul said at a joint press conference in Ankara on January 20 following a meeting with Georgian President Giorgi Margvelashvili.

Turkey has great significance in the stability of the region, according to Turkish president.

Stressing that he continues to support Georgia with the aim of it joining NATO and Euro-Atlantic structures, the Turkish President welcomed Margvelashvili to Turkey.

"I am glad that you paid your first official visit to our country. There are several best examples of relations between our countries. In particular, communication is possible using only the identity card. Together we use the Batumi airport,” Turkish president said stressing that Turkey pays great importance to stability in the region. “Based on this, we want a peaceful settlement of the regional conflicts within the restoration of territorial integrity. At the same time, the conflicts in Abkhazia and in so-called South Ossetia should be resolved peacefully,” Abdullah Gul said.

Georgian President highly appreciated Georgian-Azerbaijani-Turkish transnational projects, which according to him are going beyond the region's borders and in fact are becoming the projects of the whole Eurasian continent.

Georgian and Turkish presidents discussed the topical issues of bilateral relations on various spheres. (Trend)

Georgia to be represented by delegation of 19 people at Sochi 2014 Olympics

Georgian team's standard-bearer in the Sochi 2014 Olympics will be downhill skier, Nino Tsiklauri, but not figure skater Elene Gedevanishvili.

The president of the Georgian National Olympic Committee (NOC), Leri Khabelov told journalists that this decision was made on Tuesday at a meeting of the NOC executive committee.

"Because of the individual training schedule, Gedevanishvili will arrive in Sochi after the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games, so it was decided that the standard-bearer of the Georgian team will be downhill skier Nino Tsiklauri," Khabelov said.

Besides Tsiklauri and Gedevanishvili, downhill skiers Alex Beniaidze and Iason Abramishvili will participate in the Sochi 2014 Olympics. (Trend)

Georgia, UK to sign agreement on sphere of fighting against crime

Georgian Interior Minister Alexander Chikvaidze left for an official visit to the UK. Within the visit the interior minister will meet with the leadership of the Home Affairs Office of the United Kingdom.

The Georgian interior minister will also hold meetings in the headquarters of Scotland Yard.

Additionally, within the meeting of Chikvaidze in the central office of UK National Crime Agency, an agreement on bilateral cooperation between the two countries in the sphere of fighting against crime will be signed.

Georgian interior minister's visit to UK will last till January 24. (Trend)

Government promises support for elected Sheikh of Georgian Muslims

Georgian State Minister for Reconciliation and Civic Equality Paata Zakareishvili met with Sheikh of Georgian Muslims Ramin Igidov at the state minister's office on Tuesday.

Igidov was recently elected by the Religious Council of Shiites in the Georgian Muslims Administration.

"The council elected a person acceptable to the majority of the Shiite population in Georgia and this is an important action," state minister said. Wishing him success the minister promised the government's support adding that the interests of the Georgian citizens, and the protection of their religious freedom are important for the state. (Trend)

1,000 people demonstrated to save Vake Park in Tbilisi

Nearly a thousand people showed up in Vake Park in Tbilisi on Sunday to protest against the construction of a new hotel.

The event, which was planned on Facebook, brought together people, families, some of which brought their dogs, and were carrying balloons, enjoying snacks and games for children.

The rally, which lasted about four hours, was held in front of the fenced-off area where the construction of the new hotel is planned. Music was playing with Georgian DJs and performers. The whole day, children and teenagers were playing Frisbee, making soap balloons, making drawings in support of Vake Park, crafting different things like a bird’s nest in the shape of a hotel. (Democracy & Freedom Watch)