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The News in Brief

Thursday, June 23
Zurab Abashidze to meet Grigory Karasin on June 27

Georgian Prime Minister’s Special Envoy for Russia-Georgia Relations, Zurab Abashidze, will hold a meeting with Deputy Russian PM Grigory Karasin on June 27, Russia’s Foreign Ministry reports.

As announced by the ministry, representatives of Russian and Georgian transport agencies will also take part in the meeting.

“A discussion of practical issues of bilateral Georgia-Russia relations is planned during the consultations,” reports the ministry. (IPN)

‘Saakashvili ordered beating of MP who criticized him to set an example’

Former Defense Minister Irakli Okruashvili on Tuesday testified that ex-President Mikheil Saakashvili ordered the beating of a parliament member to make an example of what would happen to others if they dared openly criticize him.

In his testimony at a trial concerning the beating of parliamentarian Valeri Gelashvili in 2005, Okruashvili said that Saakashvili had a grudge against Gelashvili because of statements the latter had made in an interview with the daily newspaper Rezonansi two weeks before he was attacked.

Gelashvili said that Saakashvili had taken his house from him without paying any compensation. The house used to be in the location where the president’s residence stands today. In addition, he also spoke about the private life of Saakashvili in an unfiltered manner, which was unusual at the time.

Gelashvili was also one of the first people to say publicly that Saakashvili was making political decisions for own his personal gain.

Later Gelashvili was stopped while driving his car, and beaten by unknown assailants wearing black masks. He was severely injured and according to doctors barely survived. According to a medical report, he had brain trauma, several broken bones, injuries to the nose and forehead and other injuries.

In a testimony on Tuesday, Okruashvili, the Defence Minister in the early years of Saakashvili’s government, claimed that the former president as well as ex-Minister of Internal Affairs Vano Merabishvili were behind the attack.

“Saakashvili asked me to carry out retribution against Gelashvili. It had to be done so that the motive wasn’t revealed. I refused, and when [Gelashvili was beaten] I spoke with Saakashvili and understood that his order had been carried out by Vano Merabishvili,” he said at the trial on Tuesday.

Okruashvili recalled that he had several meetings with Saakashvili about this issue and that he had also met Merabishvili once. He said that Merabishvili encouraged Saakashvili to carry out the plan.

“He claimed that if someone dared do such a thing to the president once, then others would do the same and he couldn’t let it pass but had to take measures. I thought that it was pointless to try and placate Saakashvili,” Okruashvili recalled.

After a falling out with Saakashvili in 2007, Okruashvili joined the opposition against him, and then left for France. On March 28 2008, a court sentenced Okruashvili to eleven years in jail in absentia. After the parliamentary election in 2012, he returned and was detained, but later the court released him on bail. (DF watch)

Substantial package shows our progress in NATO-Georgia relations – Davit Bakradze

“It’s important for the alliance members to reaffirm that Georgia has all necessary instruments to continue preparation for NATO membership,” said State Minister for Euro Integration Davit Bakradze before the Nato Warsaw Summit.

The conference will welcome representatives of Georgia’s government, foreign governments international organizations, and the diplomatic corps.

“As for the practical instruments, we will receive more and more support by intensifying the Substantial Package in terms of improving our self-defence capabilities and increasing compatibility with NATO,” Davit Bakradze stated.

Georgia’s Defense Minister Tina Khidasheli, Minister for Euro Integration Davit Bakradze, First Deputy Foreign Minister Davit Dondua, representatives of Diplomatic corps and other officials will take part in the conference. (IPN)