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The News in Brief

Wednesday, December 31
Georgian President pardons 84 inmates

Georgiaís President Giorgi Margvelashvili has pardoned 84 inmates for the New Year.

This was confirmed by Zviad Koridze, Head of the Pardon Commission, at a press-conference.

According to Koridze, 63 inmates, including a woman and a teenager, will leave the prison today.

As for the remaining 21 prisoners (a woman and four teenagers among them) that were considered for amnesty, it was decided to reduce their prison terms instead.

Koridze said that the Commission has examined 439 cases in total. (IPN)



Georgian parliament speaker to visit Iran

The Speaker of the Georgian parliament David Usupashvili met with Iranís Ambassador Abbas Talebifar Dec. 29.

The sides discussed issues of bilateral cooperation, as well as the prospects for intensifying the inter-parliamentary relations, the Georgian parliament told Trend.

Special attention was paid to enhancing economic cooperation between the two countries. The regional problems were also discussed at the meeting.

The Chairman of the Parliamentary Committee for Foreign Relations Tedo Japaridze and the head of the speakerís office David Magradze attended the meeting.

Usupashviliís upcoming visit to Tehran was scheduled, and a wide range of bilateral issues is planned to be discussed during his visit. (Trend.az)



Chechen leader proposes building road and railway to Georgia

Chechen strongman Ramzan Kadyrov proposes building a new railway as well as a new road connecting the Russian republic with Georgia, which still has tense relations with Russia.

Kadyrovís provocative plan was launched at a press conference in Grozny.

In Tbilisi, his statement was written off as unreliable.

Issues concerning relations with Russia cannot be determined by statements by Ďseparate representativesí, parliament member Zviad Kvachantiradze told DF Watch. Kvachantiradze is from the Georgian Dream coalition, which came to power two years ago.

Sergi Kapanadze from the former ruling National Movement party headed by ex-President Saakashvili said a new road would be a security threat as it could be used for military purposes.

Foreign Minister Tamar Beruchashvili said any infrastructure project must serve to the countryís vital economic and political interests.

The Caucasus region is characterized by closed borders, and suspended relations. In the north-south direction, Georgia and Russia only has one functioning border crossing, and in the east-west direction, Armenia is blocked off from Turkey where both railway and road traffic is closed for political reasons. An important railway through breakaway Abkhazia connecting the whole South Caucasus to Russia was closed in the Abkhazian war in the 1990s, but has recently been proposed reopened.

Chechnya has historically been a source of discord in relations between Georgia and Russia. During the two Chechen wars, Pankisi valley in the north of Georgia was allowed used as a base for Chechen rebels. Also in recent years, there have been claims that Georgia continues to support Chechen rebels.

The last time such claims surfaced was after the border shooting in Lapankuri in 2012. The ombudsman wrote in a report earlier in 2014 that the Saakashvili government trained Chechen rebels and prepared them for insertion into Chechnya.

Harsh special operations during Kadyrovís rule succeeded in displacing the jihadist rebels who moved into neighboring Dagestan Ė another Russian republic which borders on Georgia. (DF watch)



Acting U.S. Ambassador to Georgia advises country to be focused on present rather than future

The acting U.S. Ambassador to Georgia has commented on the address from the Chief Prosecutorís Office to the INTERPOL General Secretariat about issuing a red notice against Georgia's ex-president.

"I donít know anything about this statement, but I can say that we are observing the ongoing developments in this area. Our recent message to our partners in Georgia was to focus more on the future than on the past,"- Nicolas Berliner said. (PIA.ge)