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The News in Brief

Thursday, March 10
Parliament Speaker meets OSCE special representative

Parliament Speaker David Usupashvili met with the OSCE's Special Representative for the South Caucasus, Guenther Baechler. The parties discussed processes under the OSCE aegis, security growth potential for Georgia and the next round of the Geneva Talks. They also touched upon regional security issues and current challenges faced by the global democratic society.

“At the meeting with our European guest, we spoke about the common threats encountered not only by Georgia but by the democratic world,” David Usupashvil said. “In this regard, the OSCE considers Georgia a very important country in the regional security system. The problems that we consider as problematic for quite a long time and considered by others as the problems of Georgia entailed from Russia, are now widely recognized as common problems. It is a positive approach that Georgia is in a collective process to eliminate the Russian threat, and to achieve this, the whole world - except Russia and three other countries – recognises that Georgia is a united country.” (

Georgia-Japan sign deal on the East-West Highway Improvement Project

On 7 March 2016, the Government of Georgia and the Government of Japan concluded Agreement through the exchange of Diplomatic Notes in regards to the East-West Highway Improvement Project II. From the Georgian side, the agreement was signed by the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Georgia, Mikheil Janelidze, and from the Japanese side by the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Japan to Georgia, Toshio Kaitani. The agreement envisions the allocation of additional funding in the amount of 4.41 billion Japanese Yen (equal to USD 38.5 MLN) for the East-West Highway Improvement Project II. Simultaneously, the Loan Agreement between the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and Georgia was executed by the Minister of Finance of Georgia, Nodar Khaduri, and Chief Representative of the JICA Uzbekistan Office, Katsutoshi Fushimi.

The documents envision the allocation of additional funding by the Japanese Government, through JICA, for the Zestaponi-Kutaisi-Samtredia Segment of the ongoing East-West Highway Improvement Project. Under this project, the construction of the Kutaisi Bypass Road has already been completed while works are ongoing on the new Kutaisi Bypass-Samtredia and Zestaponi-Kutaisi Bypass roads.

Notably, respective agreements for this project were signed in 2009 in the amount of 17.722 billion Japanese Yen allocated to Georgia in the form of a long-term concessional loan by the Japanese Government through JICA.

The Japanese Government’s ongoing support to Georgia for such infrastructural projects is paramount, as this facilitates the transformation of Georgia into a trade, transit, economic and logistics hub in the region. The completion of the East-West highway project will significantly boost the economic growth and stability of the country by accelerating Georgia’s rural development, promoting additional job creation and contributing to the improved quality of living standards in the country. (

Abkhazians, Ossetians and Georgians will have to live together in the end – Thomas Pickering

“Georgia is shattered temporarily, but Abkhazians, Ossetians and Georgians will have to live together in the end,” the U.S. Career Ambassador and former Deputy Secretary of State Thomas Pickering has told the Voice of America Georgian office.

According to the former official, Tbilisi should be careful in its relations with Russia and conduct an independent economic policy.

“In my point of view, Georgia has pursued a correct approach towards Russia since the 2008 conflict. It does not mean Georgia should take all Russia’s wishes into consideration, but establish relations in of respect of Russia at the same time. Tbilisi should find a way that will enable it to use its own diversity in order to create a strong democracy. In my point of view, Georgia really tries to establish cordial relations with Moscow. Georgia has great power and potential, and Georgian nationalism gives the country strength. But construction of an economically successful country will give it even more power.

“Georgia should offer alternatives to Abkhazians and Ossetians – economic and linguistic alternatives. Georgia is shattered only temporarily, and Abkhazians, Ossetians and Georgians will have to live together in the end. Otherwise they will have to follow a path of regress. The unification of Georgia is the Georgian people’s strategic aim but it cannot be achieved by means of military force. Georgia should show Abkhazians and Ossetians that Tbilisi – not Moscow - is the alternative for them,” he said.

According to Pickering, Georgia’s integration in NATO or EU will encourage its unification. “I think that a strong, increasing, successful economic system can do it. People living around the region will see Georgia is self-confident. Only construction and growth can bring that self-confidence,” Pickering remarks. (IPN)