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The News in Brief

Friday, April 1
Defence Minister: “Number of UN Resolution supporters will be increased”

The Minister of Defence of Georgia, Tinatin Khidasheli, hosted nine permanent representatives accredited to the UN who are paying a visit to Georgia. At the meeting, the sides discussed the current situation in the occupied territories of Georgia and the country's IDPs. Before visiting the Defence Ministry, members of the delegation were in the village of Khurvaleti adjacent to the occupation line and in the IDPs' settlement in Tserovani. The Ambassadors to the UN expressed support for the territorial integrity of Georgia and expressed hope that the number of the UN resolution supporters will increase. They also underscored the importance of the close cooperation of Georgia with its international partners with regards to conflict resolution.

At the end of the meeting, Tinatin Khidasheli focused on the importance of such visits and dialogue with Georgia's partner countries about their non-recognition policy of Georgia's breakaway territories.

“It is very important to have constant communication with the ambassadors of African, Latin American and Caribbean Sea countries. Georgia firmly maintains its stance of its non-recognition policy and does its best to garner more supporters for our resolution in the UN each year. This year, this resolution will be introduced once again to the General Assembly and it is obvious that the non-recognition policy should continue. I’d like to thank our representative to the UN, Kakha Imnadze, who organized this visit. It is one thing when you tell other people about occupation and another one when they see this occupation with their own eyes. Such visits are more impressive and efficient. I’d like to have more communication with the representatives of non-NATO and EU countries as their participation is critically important in order to maintain the non-recognition policy,” the Defence Minister said.

The First Deputy Chief of the General Staff of the Georgian Armed Forces Colonel Omar Begoidze, the Minister’s Adviser on International Relations Issues Shota Gvinerai and the permanent representative of Georgia to the UN, Kakha Imnadze, attended the meeting.

The delegation members are the Ambassadors of Costa Rica, Fiji, Guatemala, Honduras, Malawi, Panama, Sierra Leone, Tanzania and Zambia, all accredited to the UN. (Ministry of Defence)

Yesterday it was Transnistria and Georgia, today Ukraine and Syria: who will be next?"- Petro Poroshenko

Yesterday it was Transnistria and Georgia, today it is Ukraine and Syria: who will be next?" the President of Ukraine, Petro Poroshenko, has said on Twitter.

Petro Poroshenko, who is on a visit to the US, said that more people have been killed in the east of Ukraine over the last two years than US citizens in Afghanistan over the last 15 years.

According to him, 10,000 people were killed in the conflict, including more than 2700 troops.

In addition, 8500 houses were destroyed as a result of military operations, 1 million 800,000 people were displaced, 7% of the country's territory is occupied and 20% of the economy is destroyed.

A total of 120 people remain in captivity. They are not allowed to meet with the Red Cross International Committee.

Of these, 11 Ukrainian citizens are detained in Russia; some of them are in a critical condition. (IPN)

Lack of Quorum Thwarts Parliament Session, Security Chief Hearing

Parliament failed to hold a session on Wednesday when lawmakers were scheduled to hear a report from the head of the State Security Service, Vakhtang Gomelauri.

There was a lack of quorum of at least 76 MPs required for a session to be opened.

Initially 68 MPs underwent registration with the number of lawmakers present in the chamber in Kutaisi declining to 67 and further to 54 during the second and third registrations.

A lawmaker from the UNM opposition party, Irma Nadirashvili, accused the GD ruling coalition of thwarting the session deliberately by not showing up, and said that it was done in order to prevent the grilling of security chief Gomelauri by the MPs.

Gomelauri, who was in the chamber, told journalists after the session that despite the hearing being canceled he was ready to respond to lawmakers’ questions.

“I arrived here to present my report before Parliament and to answer all questions,” he said. “It is not my fault that there was no quorum in the Parliament.”

Gomelauri also said that he won’t be able to come to Kutaisi on Friday when the next parliamentary session is scheduled. It is not yet clear whether his deputy, Levan Izoria, will present the report on Friday, or if the hearing will be postponed to a later date.

The Deputy Head of the State Security Service, Levan Izoria, presented the report to lawmakers at a committee hearing on March 28.

During the committee hearing, opposition lawmakers from the UNM party criticized the report for not mentioning Russia’s intelligence operations in Georgia in a section describing the State Security Service’s counter-intelligence measures in general terms. Opposition lawmakers, as well as some MPs from the Republican Party (which is a member of the GD ruling coalition), also criticized the report for not addressing Russia’s “soft power” and “propaganda” aimed at fuelling anti-Western sentiment in Georgia. Izoria told lawmakers that he would not discuss the security agency’s counter-intelligence operations at a public hearing.

The State Security Service was separated from the Interior Ministry last year.

Gomelauri served in the security detail of ex-PM Bidzina Ivanishvili before becoming the Deputy Interior Minister in spring 2013; he served as Interior Minister from January 2015 before being confirmed by Parliament as the head of the State Security Service in late July 2015. (