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The News in Brief

Thursday, October 2
Georgia welcomes new Deputy Foreign Minister

A minor shuffle is taking place within two Georgian official departments.

Lawyer Vladimir Gurgenidze has been named as Georgia’s new Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs after the previous candidate, Giorgi Khelaia stepped down from the role to take on a position with Tbilisi City Hall.

Gurgenidze previously held the role of Head of the National Bureau of Enforcement of Justice Ministry before he was appointed to his new role with the Foreign Ministry.

The role became vacant when Khelaia took up a job as Deputy Mayor of Tbilisi City.

Meanwhile Gurgenidze held the position of Deputy Head of the National Enforcement Bureau from February 2013 until December 2013, then he was offered the top role and was Head of the department until September this year. (

EU Commissioner-Designate Hahn on Georgia

Johannes Hahn, the EU’s neighborhood and enlargement negotiations commissioner-designate told European Parliament members on September 30 that Georgia has clear aspirations for the European integration, but lot remains to be done, noting need for removing internal “tension.”

Johannes Hahn from Austria, who has held regional policy portfolio in the outgoing European Commission, will replace Stefan Fule if confirmed as neighborhood and enlargement negotiations commissioner.

Asked during a hearing in the European Parliament about Georgia’s integration perspective, Hahn also said that the EU certainly should be encouraging Georgia to come closer to the EU and specific steps have already been undertaken in this direction by signing the Association Agreement, including its deep and comprehensive free trade area (DCFTA), with Georgia.

Asked how he’s going to ensure that Association Agreements and DCFTAs with Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine are implemented smoothly without outside interference, Hahn responded: “I can’t predict the future…, but you can be reassured that we will do everything, like always, to implement agreements.”

He mentioned the Eastern Partnership briefly in his opening remarks during the hearing, saying that “it provides a good framework.”

“I am determined to ensure Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova get all the support they need to make their own democratic choices, and to undertake the necessary political and economic reforms,” the commissioner-designate said.

He also said that he will be supporting EU’s next foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini in “bolstering the EU’s role and contribute to resolving the frozen conflicts in our Eastern neighborhood.

Echoing the statement of the incoming president of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker, Hahn reiterated that there will be no enlargement of the EU in the next five years. (

William Lahiu: There is nothing to prevent Georgia’s integration with NATO…

As Head of NATO Liaison Office in Georgia William Lahiu said, Georgia is not ready to become a NATO member yet.

As he told InterpressNews, it is necessary to conduct reforms inside the country and the parliament should manage to balance the government power and achieve a consensus among the alliance members.

‘’We do not know when Georgia will become a NATO member, but the key is that Georgia is one the very closest NATO partners and its getting closer. With this defense capacity building initiative, which includes a new substantive package, will increase Georgia’s capabilities to act as a key partner. The timing of NATO membership is determined by individual allies. They have to have a consensus on this. And if you look at the history of nations that joined NATO, Georgia is not behind, Lithuania was waiting for 10 years, and there is another partner that has been waiting for membership more than 12 years. During the decision making process individual allies make their own decision, they take into account their national interests and coalition interest for the defense of all the members. So it is a complicated process, all the allies must be comfortable. They have to decide that it is a time for NATO membership and this time has not come yet. Georgia is still in the process of making some major reforms. This new package will support you in implementing these reforms; this especially applies to the Ministry of Defense. The other element NATO is supporting is parliament; for example as the democratic representative of the people to be able to balance the power and have an influence on the government. If you look at the current processes in your country, you will see how difficult it is sometimes to build trust. People should work together in order to have mutual benefits,’’

He said the conflict issue does not prevent Georgia’s integration with NATO.

‘’There is nothing in the NATO doctrine or policy which prevents Georgia’s integration into NATO before the issue of disputed territories will resolve. If the situation is stable, if the situation is predictable and if Georgia is committed to the peaceful resolution of this process, these are key issues,’’ Lahiu said. (IPN)

US State Department refuses to comment on granting work visa to Saakashvili

The US State Department has refused to make a comment on granting a work visa to Georgia’s former President Mikheil Saakashvili.

“As such, the information provided by the immigrant visa applicant is considered a visa record subject to confidentiality requirements under section 222(f) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA)”, Drew Bailey, a State Department spokesman told ÈÒÀÐ-ÒÀÑÑ on Wednesday.

“The United States has not given a work visa to Mikheil Saakashvili,” the Georgian newspaper, Alia reported yesterday. (Frontnews)