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The News in Brief

Thursday, December 18
Mikheil Saakashvili’s presence at ratification of EU-Georgia Association Agreement is unconfirmed

As Boris Yaroshevich, Deputy Head of the EU Delegation to Georgia informs, the European Parliament has extended invitations to different present and former top officials including Mikheil Saakashvili. However, he claims not to know the names of those people who will be present at the event.

“Today, the European parliament will discuss the issue of ratifying the EU-Georgia Association Agreement and will vote on it tomorrow. We strongly expect that the deal will be ratified through this vote. Invitations have already been sent and the Georgian Parliament will obviously be present at the event. I do not have any information on other guests, however” stated Mr. Yaroshevich on December 17.

Reportedly, Georgia’s ex-President Mikheil Saakashvili will attend the ratification in Strasbourg. This claim was made by member of European People’s Party, Yatsenyuk Sarij Volsk. (IPN)

Georgia looks to launch e-visa scheme with 102 countries

Georgia is preparing to launch an electronic visa (e-visa) facility in the near future, allowing tourists from 102 countries the possibility to apply for a Georgian visa in simple steps, say official Tbilisi.

E-visa’s would boost Georgia’s tourism sector and offer hassle-free travel to foreign nationals, in light of the country’s new visa rules which had created "some difficulties” for tourists, believed Giorgi Chogovadze, head of the National Tourism Administration, which is responsible for the tourism sector development in the country.

"The date of the service launch has not yet been defined. However we have to test the traffic of the users that will be able to use the electronic travel authorization scheme,” Chogovadze told industry insiders while presenting his vision and goals for developing the country’s tourism sector.

Chogovadze was confident the Government was actively working to correct current deficiencies to simplify issues relating to the new visa regulations, which came into force on September 1, 2014.

"Georgia’s Government would like Dubai to share its experience of how to issue residence permits to foreigners living in Georgia. In this regard Georgia’s delegation has been invited to Dubai on behalf of Dubai’s Sheikh,” Chogovadze said. Tourists from 102 countries including Iran, Iraq, Egypt and India are required to obtain a visa before entering Georgian territory. Chogovadze believed the new visa rules had not negatively influenced the number of visitors from Georgia’s main tourist markets but in some cases the new rules had affected visitor numbers.

Latest data revealed that from January 1 to November 30, the number of tourists from Iran decreased by 50 percent and by 45 percent from Iraq. Despite this, Iran was still on the list of top ten countries visiting Georgia.

The biggest share of non-resident visitors came from Turkey, followed by Armenia, Azerbaijan, Russia, Ukraine, Poland, Iran, Israel, Germany, Kazakhstan and the United States of America.

The new law on "Legal Status of Foreigners and Stateless Persons" came into effect on September 1, 2014. Visa free travel with Georgia was revoked for 24 countries and citizens from 94 countries were now eligible to enter Georgia without a visa for a short stay.

Under the old rules citizens from 118 countries were able to enter Georgia without a visa and stay for a maximum of 360 days. But from September, citizens from 94 countries were allowed to enter Georgia without a visa for a maximum of 90 days in a 180 day period. (

Georgian Troops Head to Mazar-i-Sharif

A reconnaissance company from the fourth mechanized brigade of the Georgian armed forces is heading to northern Afghanistan to serve under the German command as part of NATO-led new mission Resolute Support.

The Georgian company of about 170 soldiers will assume the task of rapid reaction force at German army’s Camp Marmal near Mazar-i-Sharif.

The company underwent pre-deployment training at the Wildflecken military base in Germany.

Speaking at a farewell ceremony held for the soldiers at the Vaziani military base outside Tbilisi on December 16, Georgian Defense Minister Mindia Janelidze said that Georgia’s continued commitment to NATO-led mission in Afghanistan contributes to Georgia’s NATO aspirations and to increasing Georgian armed forces’ compatibility with the alliance.

Georgia has committed about 750 troops to Resolute Support mission in Afghanistan.

About the same number of Georgian troops are currently stationed as part of ISAF mission, down from its pick when Georgia had about 1,600 troops in Afghanistan.

Georgia’s 51st light infantry battalion took over the force protection of Bagram Air Field in the Parwan province on November 1, 2014.

One battalion will remain at the Bagram Air Field under the U.S. command as part of the Resolute Support mission.

In July, 2014 Georgian troops ended their four-year long deployment in Afghanistan’s southern province of Helmand.

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

Over 435 Georgian soldiers have been wounded. In the most recent incident three servicemen from the 51st light infantry battalion were wounded in a suicide attack last month while they were on patrol in the Parwan province. (