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The News in Brief

Thursday, June 4
Nobody in the government has ever mentioned "friendly relations with Russia” - Thea Tsulukiani

According to Georgia's Justice Minister Tea Tsulukiani, nobody in the government has ever mentioned "friendly relations with Russia’’.

As the Minister said in her interview with “Ukrinform", Georgia cannot be friends with Russia while its territories are occupied, and its only form of dialogue concerns trade and humanitarian matters.

"No one in Georgia, in this government or society, has ever used the word "friendly relations", because it is simply impossible. How can we be friends or talk about friendly relations with an occupant country?

“Naturally, we're not talking about friendship; we are talking about the need to resolve humanitarian issues. We have these problems because families were torn apart by the occupation; mothers were left on the one side of the barbed wire fence and their children on the other.

“For discussion of these and trade issues we created an informal format. This is the only format in which Georgia and Russia meet and talk. Any notion of friendship is impossible as long as our country remains occupied,” said the Minister. (IPN)

Rescue Operation for Missing Shepherd Impossible in Khevsureti

Difficult terrain and bad weather conditions prevented rescuers from starting a rescue operation in Khevsureti.

The rescuers together with the locals have been searching for missing man George Shetekauri for two days.

The Ministry of Environmental Protection states that they will go to the disaster area as soon as the weather improves.

A shepherd and 500 sheep were trapped under the mudslide in the village of Khonischala two days ago. (Frontnews)

Georgia offers free Hepatitis C treatment to citizens in occupied regions

Georgia has a unique Hepatitis C treatment program and wants to share its benefits with its "Abkhazian and Ossetian brothers and sisters”.

Georgia’s Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili spoke about his ambition to provide Hepatitis C treatment to people living in Georgia’s breakaway regions while visiting the Rukhi village.

The village is located near the administrative border of Georgia’s breakaway Abkhazia region, where the Georgian side is building a $41 million US dollar hospital.

Garibashvili said a medical station would soon open in Zugdidi, western Georgia, where Abkhazians will be able to collect sofosbuvir, an innovative medicine for Hepatitis C, for free. The medicine will be available for Ossetians, too, he added.

"Our brothers and sisters who want to be cured in Abkhazia and South Ossetia [Tskhinvali region], we will create proper conditions for them,” Garibashvili said.

Meanwhile the new treatment program, introduced last month, is believed to make Georgia a Hepatitis C-free country in about five year’ time. (

Putin Meets Breakaway S.Ossetia Leader in Moscow

Russia’s President Vladimir Putin met on June 1 with leader of breakaway South Ossetia Leonid Tibilov in Moscow.

Implementation of a treaty on “alliance and integration” between Moscow and Tskhinvali, signed by Putin and Tibilov in Moscow in March, was discussed at the meeting, the Kremlin said.

“Situation is developing quite energetically,” Putin told Tibilov. “We are moving forward after the signing of the treaty on integration – even before the treaty goes through relevant procedures.”

The treaty was submitted for ratification to Russia’s lower house of parliament, State Duma, late last month.

“The treaty is awaiting its implementation,” Tibilov said. “We are already working on proposals, which will become basis for additional agreements, which are needed for complete realization of the treaty.”

President Putin met leader of Georgia’s another breakaway region of Abkhazia, Raul Khajimba, on May 15 in Sochi.

According to the treaty on “alliance and integration” between Moscow and Tskhinvali, “separate units of the armed forces and security agencies of the South Ossetian Republic will become part of the armed forces and security agencies of the Russian Federation.”

It also envisages “integration” of customs service of the breakaway region with the one of the Russian Federation.

Just like with Abkhazia, with which Moscow signed a similar agreement in November 2014, the treaty with Tskhinvali sets up a Joint Information-Coordinating Center of law enforcement agencies for the purpose of “coordinating” fight against “organized crime and other grave crimes.”

Russia takes commitment to “co-finance” gradual increase of salaries of employees of the state-funded entities in breakaway South Ossetia to the level existing in Russia’s North Caucasus Federal District.

Russia also pledges to increase pensions for those residents of the breakaway region, which hold Russian passports, starting from 2016, according to the treaty, which also entails further easing of granting Russian citizenship to the residents of the breakaway region. (