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The News in Brief

Thursday, May 15
Despite difficulties, Georgia to continue dialogue with Russia

Despite all the obstacles and difficulties, Georgia will continue its dialogue with Russia, Alexi Petriashvili, Georgian State Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic integration said at the Georgian-French business forum on May 13.

The state minister mainly focused on the importance of signing the association agreement with the European Union.

"We are confident that this doesn't contradict with the steps taken by Georgian authorities to normalize the relations with Russia, and the prospects for intensifying the trade and economic relations between the two countries," Petriashvili said.

"Our trade turnover grows both with France and Russia. And this harms neither the Georgian-Russian relations, nor Georgian-EU relations. Despite all the obstacles and difficulties, we will continue our dialogue with Russia...Nevertheless, our choice, the Euro-Atlantic choice has no alternative," the state minister stressed. (Trend)

Georgia to chair European Constitutional Court Conference

Authorities meeting in Austria announced Georgia’s Constitutional Court will chair the Conference of European Constitutional Courts for the next three years.

As a result, all high level meetings related to the Conference’s work during 2014 to 2017 will be held in Batumi, the coastal city on the Black Sea, where Georgia’s Constitutional Court is located.

The appointment of Georgia to host the conference for the next three years is monumental. Georgia is the only non-European Union member country to be elected to this role in 20 years.

For the past three years (from 2011 to 2014), the Conference was chaired by Austria. The chairmanship was given to Georgia this year with 39 votes in favor and one against. The only country that voted against Georgia to be chair state was Russia.

Georgia was elected to the role of chair state and the president of Georgia’s Constitutional Court, Giorgi Papuashvili, was named as the person to chair the Conference of the European Constitutional Courts.

The Conference of European Constitutional Courts was established in Dubrovnik in 1972 and brings together representatives of 40 European constitutional or equivalent courts conducting a constitutional review. (Agenda.Ge)

Turkey supports Georgia’s territorial integrity despite Abkhazia visit

Georgian authorities have spoken out against a visit by Turkish journalists to the Georgian breakaway region, Abkhazia, saying it did not reflect the official position of the Turkish government.

Georgian Foreign Minister Maia Panjikidze said Turkey supported Georgia’s territorial integrity and sovereignty and the visit did not undermine this viewpoint.

Panjikidze said the Ministry had done everything it could to prevent the event from going ahead because it violated the country’s "law on occupation.”

"Despite the fact that the delegation visited Abkhazia, it does not mean that it is being recognized and that this is the official position of Turkey.

"Turkey supports Georgia’s territorial integrity and sovereignty, which was once again confirmed by the Turkish President during his recent visit to Georgia. So nothing has changed in terms of the official position,” she added.

On May 9, 80 Turkish journalists travelled to Georgia’s breakaway region Abkhazia.

The occupied territory hosted a Congress of Turkish and Abkhazian journalists and the 44th General Meeting of the Turkish Journalists Federation.

While in Abkhazia the journalists met with representatives of the so-called Government of Abkhazia and attended a press conference led by the de-facto Foreign Minister Vyacheslav Chirikba. (Agenda.Ge)

Georgian Dream claims UNM created fake party office

Two groups of Georgian Dream coalition activists clashed during a campaign event Monday in Tskhaltubo, a town in western Georgia.

One faction of activists asked the government for help, claiming that the coalition has two headquarters in Tskhaltubo, and that the other faction actually consists of supporters of the former ruling National Movement party.

“We are the real dreamers, those are new dreamers,” one of the activist Otar Managadze told journalists. “We won’t give them a chance to bring the ‘Nationals’ [National Movement people] into government.”

The first group broke into the second one’s office and demanded to see a list of the candidates who will participate in the local election. They think there are UNM members on the list.

The same day, Georgian Dream issued a statement saying that activists who participated in this scuffle will be forced to leave the party. The statement says the coalition only has one office in Tskhaltubo and the other office is a fake meant to create problems for the coalition in the election campaign.

“Despite the attempts at provocation, we will conduct the local election in a peaceful and positive environment and we’ll go toward victory together,” (Democracy & Freedom Watch)

Film screening canceled in Georgia amid protests

The premiere of a movie has been canceled in Georgia amid protests over its homosexual content.

Film director Otar Mikeladze said he was forced to postpone his plan to present his gay-rights comedy "We Are Mad" on May 17 -- the International Day Against Homophobia -- fearing for his own safety and possible repercussions.

Mikeladze said that he and his producer, David Bezhitaishvili, have been pressured and threatened by adherents of the Georgian Orthodox Church over the movie.

Last month, a radical Christian group, the Union of Orthodox Parents, protested in front of the parliament building in Tbilisi, demanding a ban on any public screenings of the comedy.

On May 12, the head of the Georgian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Ilia II, reiterated his stance against "gay propaganda" and called on Georgians to mark a new day of Strength of Family and Respect for Parents on May 17. (Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty)