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The News in Brief

Thursday, February 27
Georgian President to visit Armenia

Georgian President Giorgi Margvelashili will pay a two-day official visit to Armenia on February 27, Mediamax reported. Margvelashvili will meet with the Armenian leadership and Catholicos of All Armenian Karekin II during the visit.

Margvelashvili will also make a statement to the media together with his Armenian counterpart Serzh Sargsyan on the outcome of the negotiations. (Trend)

Georgian president appoints ambassadors in two countries

President Giorgi Margvelashvili appointed ambassadors to Saudi Arabia and Moldova.

The Georgian Ambassador to Moldova is Merab Antadze and to Saudi Arabia- Giorgi Janjgava, the presidential administration reported on February 25

Antadze was a Permanent Representative of Georgia to GUAM until January 2, 2014. He will begin to execute his new duties on March 1.

From October 2, 2013 to the present time, Janjgava has served as the Georgian envoy in Ireland, and he will begin to execute his new duties on April 3. (Trend)

Inguri HPP to supply electricity to Turkey

Inguri HPP will supply electricity to Turkey this summer. An agreement was signed with the Turkish Aêsà company, the Georgian Energy Ministry told Trend on February 24.

Turkey will be provided with 200 million kilowatt hour of electricity at 7.5 cents per kilowatt during the summer, according to the agreement. (Trend)

Economic Ministry employee arrested for bribery

Ministry of Internal Affairs’ Anti-corruption Agency has detained Teimuraz Shalikiani, consultant of Service Agency of Imereti, Racha-Lechkhumi and Kvemo Svaneti in suspicion of bribery.

Investigation established that Shalikiani, while fulfilling his duties and by means of misusing his powers, demanded $600, 000 USD from the certain citizen in the purchase of 65,000 square meters of land area and buildings located on the territory of the old factory in Kutaisi.

On February 25, law enforcers detained Shalikiani in the moment of accepting part of the demanded bribe in the amount of $70,000 USD.

Investigation is in progress on the fact of bribery, article 338, III part; sub-paragraph F of the Criminal Code of Georgia. (Rustavi 2)

Gharibashvili says Saakashvili can come back to Georgia

At the Atlantic Council of the United States, Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Gharibashvili answered a question from a correspondent of the Voice of America, about whether the ex-President of Georgia is welcomed back to Georgia.

“He is a citizen of Georgia, so why not? He is welcomed to come to Georgia; that is his choice. He left the country after the presidential elections, but of course he is welcomed to come back. I cannot promise that people are missing him, but he can come back. He still has a valid Georgian passport therefore he can travel without any problems,” the Prime Minister responded. (InterPressNews)

I want to work actively, Saakashvili says

“I want to work actively, to do something,” former Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili said in the Rustavi 2 program “Reaction” from Ukraine.

As per Saakashvili, his whole body, his “each and every cell” misses Georgia immensely. However, as he asserts, because of a myriad of reasons he was forced to go to America. The former president pledged to expand on this topic as soon as the appropriate time comes. For now, he announced that personal motives did not really push him to find shelter in the U.S. (InterPressNews)

Svans protest in support of Goga Oniani outside the courthouse

Svans held a protest rally outside the Tbilisi City Courthouse in support of the lawyer Goga Oniani. Svans living in Tbilisi, also those who arrived from Lentekhi were at the protest. Oniani’s father, Nugar Oniani said he demands his son to be immediately released. Oniani said that everyone who has committed a crime must be punished, although his son has not done anything wrong.

The protesters say that their actions will depend on the court’s decision. They had posters proclaiming “Goga, Svaneti is with you”. (InterPressNews)

Georgia creates agency to oversee party financing

Georgia is creating a temporary commission to monitor the financing of political parties.

The new body will be staffed by people from non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and will be based at the State Audit Office.

Its general director, Lasha Tordia, on Tuesday met with NGO representatives and decided to create a commission to oversee party financing ahead of the upcoming local elections in June.

Shortly before the parliamentary election in 2012, when billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili went into politics, Mikheil Saakashvili’s government brought in new restrictions on party financing, and the State Audit Office was instructed to monitor the new rules.

Before that, political parties had to present financial reports to the Central Election Commission annually. In an election year, the deadline would be the month after the election.

During the election campaign ahead of the 2012 parliamentary election, the Saakashvili government used financing monitoring as a lever against its challenger, the Georgian Dream coalition. Members of the coalition were given fines in the amount of tens of millions of lari and many of them were restricted from getting involved in the election campaign.

Some barriers were removed after the change of government, but the State Audit Office is still in charge of monitoring party financing. Now, the office has decided to create a commission to work on party financing issues.

Members of the commission will be representatives of NGOs who will monitor the process of financing political parties. It is still unknown who the NGO members of the commission will be. (Democracy & Freedom Watch)

Georgia, IAEA discuss nuclear safety

A two-day working meeting with experts from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is being held at the Georgian Ministry of Environment in Tbilisi.

The meeting is being held to discuss the country's national plan on nuclear safety and to determine future ways of improving the situation in this area, the ministry told Trend on Feb. 26.

IAEA experts and representatives of the Georgian relevant agencies will be involved in the preparation of the plan and its further implementation. (Trend)