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The News in Brief

Friday, April 11
Russian plane flies briefly over Georgia

A Russian military plane flew over Georgian-controlled territory briefly on Thursday, Georgia’s Interior Ministry confirmed.

An Antonov An-2 flew over the village of Khurcha near the de facto border with the breakaway region Abkhazia.

Locals say the plane went back after about ten minutes.

Director of the Interior Ministry’s Department for Analysis Gocha Ratiani said the European Union Monitoring Mission (EUMM) has been informed about the incident.

Deputy Foreign Minister Davit Zalkaniani said the government will study what happened and all the circumstances surrounding the flight, and inform all international bodies, including the other parties in the Geneva talks – regular meetings among the warring parties in the 2008 Russia-Georgia war.

The incident took place before Public Defender Ucha Nanuashvili met with locals in Khurcha, according to Interpressnews. (Democracy & Freedom Watch)

ICC Georgia Youth participates in Seminar of Volunteerism and Social Responsibility held by Helping Hand

On April 8 at Tbilisi State University Non-profit organization Helping Hand Executive Manager Tinatin Meskhi held a seminar for the ICC Youth in Volunteerism and Social Responsibility. The seminar was very interactive and students participated in a workshop, I am a citizen. A guest speaker from Helping Hand and a Peace Corps Volunteer from the United States, Egle Vilkelite, shared her thoughts about being a volunteer. Specifically, she discussed the advantages she has gained from being involved in many international and cultural activities. The seminar also provided more information to the Youth about the importance of citizenship and that being a volunteer is a cultural attitude each person should share. ICC Georgia offers its thanks and gratitude to Helping Hand for conducting the event and spreading such an important message. (ICC Georgia)

Georgian PM intends to thwart attempts to destabilize internal situation

Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Gharibashvili intends to thwart attempts to destabilize the situation in the country.

Gharibashvili is sure that no one will be able to organize riots.

The Prime Minister commented on the Georgian Interior Minister's statement on the possible destabilization of the situation in the country.

"I want to reassure all and to stress that no one would dare organize riots or try to destabilize the country during the activity of Georgia's new authorities," he said. "But if anyone still tries to do this, he will be punished with the utmost rigor of the law." (Trend)

FSB Chief: Joint Efforts with Georgia and Others Helped Prevent Attacks on Sochi Games

Head of Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) Alexander Bortnikov said cooperation with security agencies in a number of countries, among them Georgia, helped to prevent terrorist attacks during the Sochi Winter Olympic Games.

He said that an example of this collaboration were the “joint efforts of the Russian FSB with its colleagues from the US, Austria, France, Germany and Georgia in respect of the group of individuals, who were intending to carry out terrorist attacks on Olympic facilities in Sochi.”

“These threats were localized through joint efforts,” Bortnikov said while addressing a conference in Sochi on April 9, according to Russian news sources.

In the lead up to the Sochi Olympics the Georgian authorities declared readiness to contribute to the security of the Olympic Games. In September 2013 then Georgian Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili said that Tbilisi was sparing no efforts to “maximally help” Russia in this regard; he also said at the time that the arrest of a Russian citizen from Chechnya by Georgian law enforcement agencies in Batumi in September 2013 was part of Georgia’s efforts in this regard. (Civil.Ge)

Georgia-Russia envoys to meet next week

Georgian and Russian officials will finally convene after plans to meet were postponed twice.

Georgia’s Special Representative for Relations with Russia Zurab Abashidze confirmed he will meet with Russian Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Grigory Karasin next week.

The pair was due to meet in March, first on March 4 then again on March 14, but Karasin demanded both planned meetings to be postponed. The reasons behind the postponements are unknown but on both occasions and were initiated by the Russian side.

Before entering a Government meeting on Thursday, Abashidze said the envoy’s would discuss a range of topics and potentially help resolve some outstanding issues.

"We do not have diplomatic relations with Russia so within the frames of this bilateral, informal dialogue we will discuss a number of specific, practical issues. Many such topics have accumulated and we hope that they will be resolved as soon as possible,” he noted.

More specifically, Abashidze said he and Karasin would discuss economic, trade and business relations, as well as several issues of humanitarian importance, "which need to be promptly resolved.”

"Therefore I think this meeting will be necessary and timely,” Abashidze said. (Agenda.Ge)

Georgian FM to visit Germany

Georgian Foreign Minister Maia Panjikidze will visit Germany on April 10-12.

Panjikidze is expected to meet with German Foreign Minister in the Bundestag and the administration of the federal chancellor, Georgian Deputy Foreign Minister David Jalagania said.

The bilateral and multilateral relations and the process of Georgia's integration into the EU and NATO will be discussed.

Panjikidze will deliver a speech on 'European orientation of Georgia's foreign policy' at the Friedrich Ebert Foundation. (Trend)

Georgia, Denmark mull bilateral cooperation in defense sector

Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Gharibashvili met with Denmark Minister of Foreign Affairs Martin Lidegor in Tbilisi. The main topics of discussion were on the aspects of cooperation between the two countries in political and economic spheres, as well as the expansion of bilateral relations.

Along with bilateral cooperation, the parties also discussed the issues of deepening cooperation in the defense sphere.

During the meeting Lidegor noted that Denmark attaches great importance to the European Neighborhood Policy, Eastern Partnership program and supports Georgia's integration into the EU.

In turn, the Georgian Prime Minister hopes to deepen bilateral cooperation with Denmark and noted that it is especially important for Georgia to support the country in the areas of human rights, media freedom and assistance to refugees.

The meeting was also attended by Minister of Foreign Affairs of Georgia Maia Panjikidze, Deputy Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark Jens Kisling, Danish Ambassador to Georgia Merete Julie and other officials. (Trend)

New tuberculosis center to be opened in Tbilisi

Georgia is opening a new treatment center for tuberculosis in Tbilisi.

Minister of Labour, Health and Social Affairs, David Sergeenko, told reporters Thursday that the clinic, which will be located in the Khudadovi district, has 17 beds and will be opened in a few days.

The clinic will cost an extra 50 000 lari per month to run, in addition to the 22 million lari already spent. The operation costs will be spent on utilities and administrative costs.

“The building is ready and undergoing testing of ventilation and water supply systems,” Sergeenko said.

Tuberculosis was a problem particularly in Georgian prisons, where outbreaks claimed many lives during Saakashvili’s years in power, as the penitentiary system had become overcrowded. A year ago, half the prison population was released in a mass amnesty. (Democracy & Freedom Watch)