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The News in Brief

Friday, July 8
Georgia-Russia road reopens with restrictions

The main road connecting Georgia and Russia has reopened today, but drivers must adhere to several rules when driving on it, announced Georgia’s Ministry of Infrastructure.

The Mtskheta-Stepantsminda-Larsi Road (Georgian Military Highway) initially reopened on July 4 after being closed for 10 days when a section of the road was washed away in a landslide in late June.

One day later the road closed again. The decision to close the road was based on suggestions by meteorologists, who claimed the weather would worsen and another landslide could occur, and potentially affect the road and other infrastructure.

This did not eventuate and the road was reopened today with certain restrictions.

This includes:

• The road is open to all vehicles from 5:30am to 8pm;

• Vehicles can only drive on one lane of the road, not the whole road;

• Vehicle must not stop while driving along the road;

• The road will be completely closed from 8pm to 5.30am.

Officials said if heavy rain fell in the coming days, the road will close again.

The Ministry stressed a range of agencies were on alert to act in response to all potential situations or complications. (

Road in Dariali Gorge Partially Reopens to Traffic

A section of the road in the Dariali Gorge at the border crossing point with Russia, which was damaged by mudflows and floods two weeks ago, has been partly restored and is now reopen to traffic, but with a number of restrictions.

Kazbegi-Zemo Larsi, the only border crossing point between Russia and Georgia which is under Tbilisi’s control - and which is also the only available land link for Armenia with Russia - was closed on June 23 after an 800-meter long section was swept away by the Tergi river, which changed its course after mudflows from Devdoraki glacier on the slope of Mkinvartsveri (Mount Kazbek).

Traffic is allowed only during the daytime and is closed from 8pm to 5:30am local time, the Georgian Roads Department said.

The partially restored road cannot handle two-way traffic for cargo trucks and as a result they have to move one direction at a time.

The Department of Roads said that the traffic will be closed in case of “intense precipitation”.

After the closure of traffic on June 23 on this section of the road, where disruptions are not rare, Armenia tried to negotiate with Tbilisi and Moscow reopening of another road linking Georgia and Russia, which runs through breakaway South Ossetia, but differences over the status of the breakaway region thwarted the attempt.

Armenia’s Minister of Transport and Communication Gagik Beglaryan visited Tbilisi and held talks with Georgian PM Giorgi Kvirikashvili on July 5. Traffic via the Dariali Gorge, as well as cooperation in development of other transit routes “in accordance with the international standards” were discussed during the meeting, according to the Georgian and Armenian officials. (

Konstantin Kosachev comments on John Kerry's visit to Georgia

A Chairman of the Foreign Committee of Russian Federation"s Council states that the US has weakened its support to Georgia and stated that the visit served to encourage sad Georgians.

Russian MP Konstantin Kosachev believes that John Kerry's statements do not mean that Georgia is really close to NATO membership. According to him, the alliance does not have enough courage to support this idea after recent developments in Ukraine.

Mr. Kosachev evaluated the Memorandum signed between Georgian and the US in Tbilisi and underlined that Georgia should not expect military support from the United States in any military venture. (rustavi2)

Issue of Giga Otkhozoria’s murder to be raised at Gali meeting

The issue of murdered Georgian citizen Giga Otkhozoria will be raised again during the Group on Incidents Prevention and Response Mechanisms meeting in Gali today.

As reported, Sokhumi demands additional materials regarding the case from the Georgian side. According to the head of the de jure government of the Autonomous Republic of Abkhazia, Vakhtang Kolbaia, there is all evidence for a concrete decision to be made. “The process continues but we cannot say yet that we have reached any tangible results,” he added.

“We will intensify our demand on the meeting on July 6. Sokhumi requests the Georgian side to provide them with additional material for more precise investigation,” said Kolbaia, adding the corpse's exhumation may be discussed in this context. He said this is only his personal opinion and nobody has asked whether Otkhozoria’s family agrees with it.

Giga Otkhozoria, 31, was murdered by a so-called border guard on Georgia-Abkhazia administrative border on May 19, 2016. (