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The News in Brief

Tuesday, August 25
Creeping occupation must end - Elmar Brock

“Russia’s creeping occupation is unacceptable and the Georgian government must protect its rights,” said Elmar Brock, the Chairman of Foreign Affairs Committee of the European Parliament, in an interview with the Kviris Palitra newspaper.

According to him, the Geneva talks must acquire a decisive tone and Russia must fulfill its obligations.

“It must be clearly said that this creeping occupation must end. If Russia intrudes deeper through its creeping occupation and grabs facilities of strategic importance, such as a gas pipeline, it will be alarming and I am very concerned about it,” he said.

To the question of whether he thinks the West must be more principled with regard to the Georgian issues, Elmar Brok said “everything that is possible is being done at this stage”.

“We must clearly say that there exists international law and everybody must obey it. We will never recognize Abkhazia or so-called South Ossetia as independent states. We must make Russia realize that European prospect of Georgia and similar countries is their sovereign choice and not a danger. They have a right to make their own decisions,”- he said.

According to him, the Eastern Partnership should not be put in danger.

“We will help countries that choose Europe,” Brok said.

As for Russia’s decision not to impose counter-sanctions on Georgia and if Georgia should join all sanctions against Russia or not, Brok said that “we must remember that Russia has imposed trade and other sanctions against Georgia”.

“I think that in this case Georgia must make a decision that it will consider profitable for the country,” said the Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the European Parliament.

“We must strengthen Georgia’s European prospects. Nobody has authorized Russia to interfere in other countries’ decisions,” said Brok.

Tourists evacuated by helicopter from Tusheti

Many tourists were airlifted by helicopter on Sunday after being stuck in Tusheti in the northeast of Georgia due to bad weather.

Emergency crews evacuated more than 350 people by helicopter from the disaster zone, and brought them to Akhmeta and Telavi, two of the biggest towns in the Kakheti region.

Roads leading to Tusheti were damaged by landslides. Repair work began on Sunday.

There was heavy rainfall on August 21 in most parts of Kakheti. Due to the bad weather it was difficult to rescue the tourists any earlier.

The Tusheti-Khevsureti hiking path is currently closed, while the road through Ardoti Valley, another option for travels between Tusheti and Khevsureti, has also been closed due to the disaster.

The Ministry of Internal Affairs called on tourists and locals to avoid these destinations until the weather improves.

Earlier rain flooded the river Arghuni in Khevsureti, as a result of which a bridge connecting with village Khonischala was destroyed and it became impossible to reach Mutso, which is a popular destination for tourists and hikers.
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Georgian Leaders Congratulated Ukraine on Independence Day

In their messages congratulating Ukraine on its Independence Day, the Georgian President and PM have reiterated Tbilisi’s “support” for Kiev.

“Georgia is and will be supporter of the brotherly Ukrainian people, especially now, when Ukraine has to fight for its sovereignty. I am confident that our relations, built throughout centuries and based on unwavering friendship, will further develop in the future,” said President Giorgi Margvelashvili in his message.

“Georgia will always be Ukraine’s active supporter. With this very mutual support and joint efforts we will be able to overcome difficulties and continue to move forward with firm steps towards statehood building and European integration,” Georgian PM Irakli Gharibashvili said in his congratulation messages to the Ukrainian President and PM.

On the occasion of Ukraine’s Independence Day, Defence Minister Tina Khidasheli visited seven Ukrainian soldiers on August 24th, who are undergoing a two-week rehabilitation course in Georgia at the Tserovani Rehabilitation Centre for Wounded Military Service Members. The Georgian MoD said that Georgia is ready to offer similar treatment for other Ukrainian soldiers.

“I want to congratulate the Ukrainian people on Independence Day. Their victory is a victory for us too and a victory in fight for freedom and independence in general,” Khidasheli said while visiting Ukrainian soldiers at the Tserovani center together with the diplomats from the Ukrainian embassy in Tbilisi.