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The News in Brief

Wednesday, September 30
Gori city council to discuss Stalin statue restoration

Stalin's statue may be restored in Gori, his hometown, where positive sentiments towards the late Soviet ruler are still high. The city council is to discuss the issue on Friday, October 2.

If the council approves the decision, the statue will be erected in the small park at central Gori, close to the Stalin museum. The overall cost of the project will amount to 2 million laris, or about $840,000.

During the preliminary debates, only two members of the nine member council, representatives of the United National Movement and Free Democrats, opposed the decision.

However, it is still unclear whether the statue will have a status of a monument or an exhibition showpiece.

The debate has been aggravated by the fact that the Freedom Charter, adopted in the wake of 2008 Georgian-Russian War, clearly prohibits and stipulates rooting out of “Soviet and Nazi symbols… statues and monuments.”

Nevertheless, the proponents of the statue argue that it has an importance as a historical monument.

In the public speeches, the city council members state the statue, if restored, will be a part of the Stalin museum exhibition and in no way does it mean rehabilitation of the Soviet totalitarian past or Joseph Stalin’s person.

Stalin's statue was dismantled in June 2010 and stored face-down in Gori outskirts. Fearing protest of locals, authorities took it down at night, without prior public debate and notification. Even though there is a negligable number of communist supporters in Georgia, Stalin himself remains popular in his birthplace Gori, a small city in central Georgia. It is kind of a local patriotism. A Georgian person was ruling a huge empire for more than 30 years. Under him the Soviet Union became the mighty nuclear power.

In December 2012, the Gori municipality, which was then staffed by National Movement members, made a decision to restore the statue and released money for doing this in the 2013 municipal budget. (DF watch)

Georgia to take part in UN peacekeeping mission

According to Prime Minister Irakli Gharibashvili, the Georgian troops will take part in a UN peacekeeping mission.

The Prime Minister made the above-mentioned announcement for the Georgian media when assessing the bilateral meetings and events held during the UN General Assembly.

He apparently took part very important and constructive meetings. "I personally thanked the Presidents and Prime Ministers of the Caribbean countries, as well as of African countries, which supported our resolution on IDPs. This was a very important support, because for years the Foreign Ministry of the previous government could not manage to gain support for the document on non-recognition,” said the Prime Minister.

He said it was important for Georgia to participate in the UN Summit on Sustainable Development, as well as in the meeting of world leaders on gender equality and women’s role.

"It was important for us to participate in the UN Summit on Sustainable Development. In my speech I focused on the main directions of our government - healthcare, sustainable development of the country and taking care of our population. We also discussed gender equality and climate changes, which are the main challenges of the 21st century. I mentioned in my speech that the climate change affected our country too, when the massive floods caused significant damage to our capital.

“Meetings on these issues continue. I will participate in the US President Obama's initiative, which concerns the UN peacekeeping mission. It is planned the mission to be extended and we are going to take part in it.

“This was achieved thanks to our soldiers. I would like to thank them once again for their involvement and role," said the Prime Minister. (IPN)

Giorgi Kvirikashvili met with the OSCE Secretary General Lamberto Zannier.

In the frames of the UN General Assembly"s 70th session, Giorgi Kvirikashvili met with the OSCE Secretary General.

The sides discussed the regional security environment.

Attention was paid to the situation in the occupied territories.

"It is important to continue and maintain the political process, in the form of the Geneva talks. The OSCE, EU and other international partners will continue to engage in this process, "- said the OSCE Secretary General.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Georgia held several bilateral meetings. Kvirikashvili spoke about the UN resolution about that internally displaced persons.

"Territorial integrity and sovereignty problems should be high on the agenda," he said. (Rustavi 2)