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The News in Brief

Monday, November 3
Tbilisi residents to receive communal vouchers for winter season

Tbilisi residents will get communal vouchers for winter season. Tbilisi Mayor Davit Narmania said at the meeting held with regard to the preparations for winter season in the Tbilisi City Hall today that socially vulnerable families will get 250-GEL, while the rest residents will get 100-GEL vouchers.

"Vouchers will be given to residents in November-December according to the existed scheme. No change has been made in the scheme, though we increased the amount of funding when we changed the budget in September, since the social welfare changes led to necessity for additional funding," Narmania said.

Switzerland has full confidence in the performance of Defense Minister Irakli Alasania

Switzerland has full confidence in the performance of Defense Minister Irakli Alasania and the capacity of his team to cooperate fully with a trustworthy and thorough investigation on alleged misuse of public finances, The Embassy of Switzerland in Georgia said in a statement on Friday.

“Georgia and Switzerland are close partners to promote human rights, democratic development, sustainable economic development, peace and security. Political stability and the fight against corruption at all levels of the society and everywhere are crucial in order for our partner country to address the huge challenges it is facing. Switzerland appreciates a sound investigation in case of alleged corruption and misuse of public finances. Such investigation, by all means, shall be transparent, based on a sound process; it shall adhere to the rule of law and implement the highest standards in terms of separation of powers. Switzerland has full confidence in the performance of

Defense Minister Irakli Alasania and the capacity of his team to cooperate fully with a trustworthy and thorough investigation”, the statement says.

On October 28, five high-ranking officials of the Defence Ministry were detained on charges of embezzlement of GEL 4 102 872 budget funds.

Germany ready to take the lead in implementation of NATO-Georgia Substantial Package

"A very successful visit for our Government and our country” is how Georgia’s Defence Minister Irakli Alasania has assessed his Germany trip, Georgia’s Defence Minister’s first official visit to the Federal Republic of Germany In the history of independent Georgia.

Within the visit, Alasania met his German counterpart Ursula von der Leyen. Bilateral cooperation, Georgia’s contribution to the Afghan mission, as well as situation in the Caucasus region and relations with Russia were discussed during the meeting.

The Ministers also touched upon the NATO-Georgia Substantial Package and contribution of Germany in the implementation process of the package elements.

"Georgian-German cooperation in the military sphere is strengthening,” Alasania said.

"The German Defence Minister expressed her readiness to take the lead in implementation of [the NATO-offered Package] elements that are a necessary precondition for our future NATO membership.”

The two Ministers also discussed the pre-deployment training that the Georgian Armed Forces underwent to get ready for the Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan.

"Our military servicemen received high appreciation from the German side,” Alasania said.

"Their combat readiness is very high and they will continue to make their contribution to the international peace and security along with the German military servicemen from 2015.”

The sides also covered the bilateral cooperation issues with regard to the military education and how to enhance the capabilities in order to achieve the full interoperability with NATO and Germany.

During his official visit, Alasania also visited the Georgian military unit at Wildflecken Military Base where the company of the IV Mechanized Brigade of the Georgian Armed Forces were going through pre-deployment preparation to engage in the Resolute Support mission in Afghanistan.

Irakli Alasania also visited the Operation Command and met the Commander of the Operations Command, Lieutenant General Hans-Werner Fritz.

The Georgian Minister returned home earlier this morning.

Hungary ready to ratify association agreement with Georgia, EU

The second meeting of Georgia-Hungary intergovernmental commission on economic cooperation was held in Tbilisi, Georgia on Oct.31.

The co-chairs of the commission are Deputy Economy Minister Mikheil Janelidze from Georgia and Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Laszlo Szabo from Hungary.

A number of memorandums of understanding in the spheres of tourism, accreditation, meteorology and supervision of capital markets were signed after the meeting of the intergovernmental commission.

Janelidze told reporters that Hungarian government has decided to ratify the association agreement between Georgia and EU by late 2014. He expressed hope that Hungarian parliament will also make the same decision.

Janelidze said that the meeting of the intergovernmental commission focused on the programs to be implemented in the future.

“We also plan to hold business and investment forums with participation of Georgian and Hungarian businessmen, as well as representatives of government institutions of the two countries in 2015,” he said.

National Movement’s funds spent for lobbyists examined in Georgia

The chairman of the Defense and Security Committee of the Georgian Parliament Irakli Sesiashvili urges the state security council to declassify the documents confirming the transfer of funds to the lobbying firms during the National Movement’s activity.

Sesiashvili said that the public must know the purpose of spending 100 million lari ($ 1 = 1.76 lari). The representatives of the previous authorities transferred these funds to the lobbying firms from 2008 to 2012.

"People must know whether these funds were spent for the interests of the country or narrow political interests,” he said. “We transferred only three million lari from 2012 up till now. One million was returned to the budget in the form of income tax."

The new authorities spent over $3 million on lobbyists during a year, according to some NGOs.