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The News in Brief

Monday, April 4
Bidzina Ivanishvili donates 87 trees to Tsikhisdziri park

Former Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili donated 87 trees to a newly developed park in Tsikhisdziri in the Adjara region.

Various species of trees will be planted on four thousand square meters of land.

The trees were brought from Italy by Bidzina Ivanishvili. A total of twelve species are amongst the collection.

“A new park will be built with new plants, lights and pavements. Bidzina Ivanishvili promised the local population that he would build a park,” said an engineer of the “Zimo” company, which will build the park.

Tbilisi plans to regulate its taxis to ‘eliminate discomfort’

Tbilisi City Hall has begun work on new taxi regulations that will eliminate the discomfort of taking taxis in the capital. Mayor Davit Narmania said on Friday that taking a taxi will become more secure and comfortable.

The new regulations are not yet ready, but a spokesperson for City Hall told DFWatch that three meetings have been held with experts, representatives of taxi companies and members of City Hall over what kind of standards there will be for drivers and cars and how to serve clients properly.

“We have so far only outlines concerning security, driver and cars. This means that the car has to be well maintained and passengers should be secure, while the driver has to have a health and drug check. Those are the issues which we have discussed, however the final document is not yet ready,” City Hall representatives said.

Last year, there were media reports about the possibility of establishing a system for licensing taxi drivers, but Tbilisi City Hall claims ‘licensing’ is yet to be mentioned during the discussions.

Discussions dealt with how to register taxi drivers, how many taxis should serve the capital, and how many of them should be individually or company owned.
(df watch)

UN Secretary General's press office does not confirm reports on UN Secretary General’s possible visit to Georgia in April

UN Secretary General's press office does not confirm reports on UN Secretary General’s possible visit to Georgia in April.

As UN envoy Nikola Krastev told IPN, the date of Ban Ki-moon’s possible visit is not known at this time.

The Russian media reported that at the end of April, the UN Secretary-General plans to visit Azerbaijan, Georgia and Armenia. Prior to that, on March 11, Georgian Deputy Foreign Minister Davit Zalkaliani said that Ban Ki-moon would travel to Georgia for an official visit, though an exact date has yet to be announced.

Dinner with Obama: President Margvelashvili highlights Georgia’s role in world nuclear security

Georgia’s President Giorgi Margvelashvili has spoken at the Nuclear Security Summit dinner hosted by US President Barack Obama in Washington on April 1.

Margvelashvili addressed more than 50 world leaders and talked about what efforts his country had made in order to ensure nuclear security.

The President said one of the world’s greatest challenges was the risk that nuclear materials and technologies could end up in terrorist hands.

In that context, he briefly elaborated the steps Georgia had taken since the last Hague Summit to prevent nuclear terrorism and to further meet international obligations.

"We passed the new Law over Control on Military and Dual Use Items that brought Georgia’s legislation on strategic export control in line with EU standards,” he said.

"At the same time, we adopted the new Law on Radioactive Waste, and strengthened state control over nuclear and radiation safety and security. Also, Georgia formed a new Agency for Radioactive Waste Management to operate both centralised storage and disposal facilities.”

Margvelashvili stressed that according to the agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency, Georgia approved the 2015-2019 Integrated Nuclear Security Support Plan (INSSP), and elaborated the national strategy and action plan to reduce chemical, biological, radiation and nuclear (CBRN) risks.

"And most importantly, as considered in the communiqué of the 2014 Nuclear Security Summit, we repatriated enriched uranium with strong support of the US and International Atomic Energy Agency,” he said.

"Consequently, today I represent Georgia as a non-nuclear state.”

Margvelashvili added, however, the proliferation of the WMD (weapons of mass destruction)-related materials and technologies remained a subject of serious concern for Georgia.

"Taking into account our proximity to the regions that pose a high risk of proliferation, Georgia’s growing transit potential could become a matter of increased interest for certain international criminal or terrorist groups,” he said.

Margvelashvili also highlighted that both the regional and global nuclear security could suffer substantially without placing the respective control mechanisms and international presence over the Georgian territories of Abkhazia and Tskhinvali region (South Ossetia), which currently were beyond the effective control of the legitimate central authorities, and where international control mechanisms did not extend due to the ongoing Russian occupation.

"To be specific, in recent years we had several recorded attempts of smuggling nuclear and radioactive materials via Georgia’s occupied regions, and that further amplifies the sense of danger,” Margvelashvili said.

"Fortunately, these illegal activities were duly prevented by Georgian law enforcement agencies,” he added.

"However, let me once again underscore that in the absence of the international presence on Georgia's occupied territories, it has become virtually impossible to conduct any type of verification activities on the ground. As a result, the risk of proliferation of the WMD-related materials in and from these occupied regions has tremendously increased.”

The President reiterated Georgia’s stance as conveyed at the Hague Summit, that this concern was not for individual countries alone but for the international community as a whole.

"Thereby, we urge you to join us in paying this challenge the attention it deserves, and immediately address this pressing problem,” he said.