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The News in Brief

Tuesday, August 12
Patriarch calls on society to get involved in ’Book to every village’

The Patriarch of All Georgia, His Holiness Ilia II presented ‘’Walking Library’’ with books. The library, represented with a special bus, stopped at the Holy Trinity Cathedral yard. Ilia II presented the library with ‘’Bible’’, ‘’Psalms’’ and ‘’Great Businesses’’.

He preached about the importance of the project calling on the parish to support the project and provide the library with books.

‘’We decided to create the library – a bus, which will visit each village and town and distribute books. I would like to call on you all, having extra books, to provide the library with them. It will be very significant, as people will read books, analyze and understand their essence,’’ – the Patriarch said.

Georgia reaffirms support for Ukraine

"Misinterpretation” of Georgia’s stance on sanctions against Russia following the Ukraine crisis has forced the Minister of Foreign Affairs to reiterate the country’s position – Georgia undoubtedly supports Ukraine’s territorial integrity and sovereignty.

Georgia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Maia Panjikidze made a special statement further clarifying her earlier statement about the sanctions imposed on Russia in response to the annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea peninsula, after political opponents tried to "misinterpret” her statement to "cast a shadow on the relations of the two countries”.

"When asked about the sanctions from the EU and the US, as well as the response from Russia, I gave a extensively answer, including the fact I noted [the sanctions] were not enough to make the critical situation be resolved and generally, there is a need of a more fundamental review of the European security system and fundamental conclusions have to be made,” Panjikidzesaid.

She categorically denied the political opponents’ claims and told journalists the Georgian Government had solidarity with Ukraine. She said it was important society clearly understood the Government’s position – Georgia was supportive of Ukraine, its territorial integrity and sovereignty and condemned the violation of international norms through which the country’s territorial integrity and sovereignty was violated.

"How could Georgia have a different view of recent developments in Ukraine considering that we have experienced Russian aggression in 2008? [We] always tried to allude to our international partners that a fundamental approach was needed and a deeper analysis of what happened,” Panjikidze insisted.

Minister Panjikidze said Georgia’s support for Ukraine was evident in every statement made by Georgian officials, where it was always underlined Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity should be respected and "Crimea’s annexation is publicly condemned”.

She said she had "very active contact” with Ukrainian officials, including the country’s Foreign Affairs Minister, and leaders of both countries had met on several occasions.

Panjikidze said the accusations against the current Government were not supportive to Ukraine and were "absolutely irrelevant and commonly used by opponents to cast a shadow on the relations of the two countries”.

"This is not relevant behavior for the political parties which feel the responsibility in terms of foreign policy,” Panjikidze believed.

If the crisis in Ukraine escalated causing massive destabilization in the region, the need of fundamental review of the European security system and driving relevant conclusions would be obvious, she noted.

Georgian, Afghan Defense Ministers Meet in Kabul

Georgian Defense Minister Irakli Alasania met his Afghan counterpart Bismillah Khan Mohammad in Kabul on August 10 and signed a memorandum of understanding between the defense ministries of the two countries.

Georgian military, according to the document, will share reform experience and provide training to the Afghan armed forces, the Georgian Ministry of Defense said.

“This is a very important document,” Alasania said after the meeting. “We officially laid foundations to our bilateral military cooperation. In Kandahar I saw how our military servicemen are providing training to the Afghan artillerists… and it will continue and our defense cooperation will become stronger. They need our support and the Georgian government expresses support to the Afghan government.”

During his visit to Afghanistan, Alasania met Georgian troops serving at the Camp Phoenix in Kabul and at the Kandahar Airfield. He also met outgoing commander of the U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan General Joseph Dunford on August 7.

Georgia currently has 755 soldiers in ISAF mission, down from its pick when Georgia had about 1,600 troops in Afghanistan.

In July Georgian troops ended their four-year long deployment in Afghanistan’s southern province of Helmand.

The Defense Minister told Georgian lawmakers in late July that Georgia would keep about 750 troops for NATO's post-2014 non-combat mission in Afghanistan. He said that a company size unit would be deployed in northern Afghan city of Mazar-i-Sharif under the German command and rest of the troops would be stationed under the U.S. command in Bagram.

Death toll of the Georgian soldiers in the ISAF mission is 29 – all killed in action in the Helmand province.

435 Georgian soldiers have been wounded in action, 35 of whom are amputees, according to the ISAF.

Ninigori village has no drinking water for 20 years

There is a village in the Lagodekhi municipality of the Kakheti Region, which has not had drinking water for past twenty years. The residents of the village rallied on August 11 calling upon the municipal government to solve this problem along with the deficit in power and gas supply. The locals have to fetch drinking water from a several kilometer distance. They also say the wells were dried in the village.

The chairperson of the Lagodekhi Sakrebulo met with the protestors. Goderdzi Barbakadze says he wasn`t aware of these problems in the village, bur pledged to work on the issue. However, locals say they will not stop rallies until they are provided with drinking water.