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The News in Brief

Wednesday, May 25
Suspects in Kortskheli incident remain unidentified

The Ministry of Internal Affairs is investigating the recent violent incident in Kortskheli, Samegrelo under Article 125th of the Criminal Code. So far, no-one has been arrested in connection to the case.

On Monday, Tamta Kokelidze, deputy head of the MIA press office, said to DFWatch that ‘intensive investigation measures’ were being taken and witnesses were being questioned. They did not, however, confirm how many people were injured during Sunday’s violence, or whether the investigators had questioned men, whom the United National Movement party is accusing of being complicit in the assault.

DF Watch talked to the MIA press office Tuesday too, and was told there were no updates so far.

“We cannot reveal any details in order not to affect the investigation. Every single witness will be questioned,” Tamta Kokelidze said.

The Article 125 of the Criminal Law Code of Georgia punishes any type of violence by imposing a fine or community work and/or corrective labour.

A by-election was held on Sunday at nine electoral districts in Georgia in order to elect members of the Sakrebulo (‘municipal assemblies’). The clashes took place in the precinct in Kortskheli in Zugdidi. Supporters of the Georgian Dream party attacked members of the UNM; the UNM claims former and active sportsmen were among the attackers. Initially, it was said that there were rugby players and boxers among the attackers. However, information later distributed by the UNM suggested there were mostly sportsmen from different combat sports.

Several prominent members of the UNM, including MPs, were injured. Georgian Dream stated their supporters and activists were also injured. However, the UNM ultimately won the elections in Kortskheli. (DF Watch)

NATO does not have a common position with regard to Georgia and Ukraine

“NATO does not have a common position with regard to Georgia and Ukraine's membership, but the "open door" policy is still in force,” Latvian Foreign Minister Edgar Rinkevics said in an interview with the news portal "Delphi".

"NATO has always made statements about the 'open door' principle. But now, we cannot talk about the integration of Georgia or Ukraine with NATO in the near future. Of course, there was a summit in Bucharest, where it was noted that such a thing could happen. However, today NATO has no common position on this issue. At the same time, I think that we should not send wrong signals to Kiev and Tbilisi and utterly rule out the possibility of joining.

“The fact that Montenegro is joining NATO is clear proof that the 'open door' policy is still valid, but the candidate countries themselves must be prepared to carry out reforms. This applies not only to defence policy, but also to safety of information, prevention of corruption and implementation of reform in the judiciary and public administration. All of these issues are a subject of interest for NATO. In this regard, both countries still have a lot of work to do,” said Rinkevics. (IPN)

Ukrainian Foreign Minister says Georgia may get visa-free regime with the EU before Ukraine

Georgia may get a visa-free regime with the EU a few weeks earlier than Ukraine, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavel Klimkin told reporters in Brussels.

"As the Ministers informed me, Georgia’s visa-free regime may be put on the agenda a few weeks earlier because it fulfilled its commitments before us,” said Klimkin.

According to him, the EU foreign ministers confirmed at the meeting with him that the EU has questions neither with Georgia nor with Ukraine.

As reported by the Ukrainian media, several days ago the French Interior Minister stated that the issue of Ukraine’s visa liberalization will not be put on the agenda in the coming weeks or months. (ipn)

New concert arena on Black Sea coast opens in June

A new concert venue on Georgia’s Black sea coastline - boasting a retractable ceiling and modern infrastructure - will open next month.

About 200 million GEL ($93 million/ˆ83 million) was invested in the Black Sea Arena – a mini stadium located in Shekvetili on eastern Georgia's Black Sea coast, about half an hour north of Batumi.

Designed by German architects Drei Architekten, the Black Sea Arena can accommodate 8,700 spectators on circular grandstands and will host concerts, sporting events and other public events.

Construction of the arena was funded by the Cartu Charity Foundation and the facility was fitted with state-of-the-art technology including a retractable ceiling cover that can open or close within several minutes.

Specifically, 168 rotating, translucent facades lamellas will protect guests from the sun, wind and rain, but once opened will allow the full view of the nearby landscape and towering mountains in the Greater Caucasus. (