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The News in Brief

Monday, November 30
Georgian & German Defence Ministers Meet in Berlin

Georgian Defence Minister Tina Khidasheli met her German counterpart Ursula von der Leyen in Berlin on November 27.

Germany’s Defence Ministry said in a brief press release that the two countries enjoy close military cooperation, noting that about 130 Georgian soldiers - trained and equipped by Germany - are serving under German command in Afghanistan.

Georgian troops stationed at the German Army’s camp of Marmal in Mazar-i-Sharif perform the duties of a quick reaction force. Georgia, which is the second largest troop contributor to NATO-led mission in Afghanistan with 856 soldiers, also has troops deployed at Bagram Air Base in the Parwan province, as well as in Kabul.

In Berlin, the Georgian Defence Minister also met Chancellor Angela Merkel’s foreign and security policy adviser Christoph Heusgen.

“The meetings were very positive,” Khidasheli said. “The Defence Minister has reiterated full support towards Georgia and thanked our nation for our contribution to global security…I am confident that with German support we will be able to move Georgia’s bilateral relations with Germany, as well as NATO-Georgia relations, to a new stage.”

Reuters reported on November 27 that NATO members are split over what message to send to Georgia when the Alliance’s foreign ministers gather in Brussels on December 1-2. Germany, while in favour of Montenegro joining, remains opposed to Georgia’s NATO membership, Reuters reported.

At the next year’s NATO summit in Warsaw, Tbilisi wants the Alliance to either grant Georgia a Membership Action Plan (MAP) or declare that MAP is no longer a precursor on its path to eventual membership.

Georgia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Davit Dondua said in early October that it was not likely that Georgia will receive MAP at the NATO summit next year.

Dondua, along with the Georgian State Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration David Bakradze, was in Brussels on November 24 where a meeting of the NATO-Georgia Commission was held.

NATO said in a press release after the meeting: “The Allies welcomed Georgia’s steady democratic reforms and progress on rule of law, and encourage Georgia to continue on this path. They further discussed the implementation of the Substantial NATO-Georgia Package which was launched at the Wales Summit in 2014 to help Georgia improve its defence capabilities and move towards NATO membership. The Allies said they looked forward to the full implementation of the package, and to deepening cooperation with Georgia.”

South Ossetia field meeting ends in feast

Representatives of Georgia and the breakaway region South Ossetia met on Thursday for a regular field meeting, ending it with a feast.

The meetings of the Incident Prevention and Response Mechanisms have been held regularly since the 2008 war, and this 60th summit took place in the village Ergneti.

Georgia condemned the recent detention of people living close to the demarcation line, underlining a particular incident on November 23, when Orthodox Christians were marking St George’s Day. Russian soldiers prevented several people from entering a church and detained two of them, who were brought to a detention facility in Tskhinvali.

Interior Ministry representatives also brought up a violation of Georgian-controlled airspace by a Russian helicopter.

South Ossetia’s representative David Sanakoyev told the news agency RES that an OSCE observer has been holding meetings with the relatives of missing South Ossetians, investigating their cases, which he hoped the observer’s report would shed some light on.

Sputnik-Ossetia quotes Sanakoyev saying that they also discussed the statistics of border violations by Georgians.

“Since the last meeting, there have been 21 cases of border violations”, Sanakoyev said.

This IPRM meeting continued in a tent with a 60th anniversary feast, where Ossetians brought pies and homemade beer, while Georgians offered traditional cuisine, Sputnik-Ossetia reported.

The next IPRM meeting will take place on 16th December.
(DF watch)

47 people charged for possession of illegal firearms

According to the Ministry of Internal Affairs, law enforcers have seized a large amount of weapons for the last two months.

As Mikheil Dzagnidze, the Head of the Central Criminal Police Department, has said at today’s briefing, 47 people were charged.

“One of the priorities of the Ministry of Internal Affairs is to fight against the illegal circulation of arms. I would like to notify you that law enforcers have seized a large amount of weapons over the last two months. Charges were filed against 47 people for the purchase and possession of illegal firearms,” said Dzagnidze.