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The News in Brief

Wednesday, September 14
Security Council meeting to be held on September 15

A Security Council meeting will be held on September 15. As President's Spokesperson Eka Mishveladze said, the meeting is scheduled for 16:00.

According to her, Irine Imerlishvili will be the secretary of the meeting.

The reforming of the Ministry of Defense will be the subject of discussion at the meeting. (IPN)

Ivanishvili blasts Burjanadze: Your non-bloc idea is a bluff

Former Georgian PM Bidzina Ivanishvili lashed out at opposition politician Nino Burjanadze on Sunday, accusing her of bluffing when she proposed that Georgia should declare a non-bloc status.

Burjanadze, a former Parliament Speaker, proposed in June that Georgia should declare in its Constitution that it will not be a member of any bloc or military alliance.

This would exclude NATO membership, which has been a main foreign policy goal since the 2003 Rose Revolution.

During a TV appearance in Kutaisi, Ivanishvili called the proposal a bluff. He was appearing on his son’s TV channel GDS on one of the stops of a tour of the country in connection with the election campaign.

“We have chosen a strategic direction and the entire society agrees with it, including Georgian Dream. Our course is Europe, EU and Euro Atlantic space,” he said, and argued that Georgia doesn’t have any other alternatives than NATO.

Burjanadze’s proposal was seen as pro-Russian by most parties in parliament. The speaker made a counter-proposal to write in the Constitution that Georgia should seek integration with EU and NATO. When the initiative came up in the committee that considers citizens’ initiatives, the other parties failed to show up and both proposals were postponed. This sabotaged the petition drive Burjanadze had planned to make part of her campaign.

During questioning on Rustavi 2’s election special, the Democratic Movement leader elaborated that declaring a non-bloc status and opening negotiations with Russia is the only way to remove the Russian soldiers from the breakaway territories Abkhazia and South Ossetia and achieve a reunification of the country. Her proposal says Georgia cannot have foreign troops on its soil, which means Russian soldiers must be withdrawn from the breakaway territories.

The dominating view in Tbilisi is that by becoming NATO member, Western countries will help Georgia reclaim the lost territories.

“I don’t think Mrs Burjanadze has great chances,” Ivaninshvili said during the GDS appearance, adding that Georgian Dream agrees to have relations with Russia but not at the expense of occupied territories.

“Chances of Burjanadze joining parliament are very low, in my opinion.” (df WATCH)

Georgia’s top diplomat in Strasbourg to advance Georgia’s EU visa waiver

Georgia’s Foreign Minister Mikheil Janelidze is heading to Strasbourg to meet European Union (EU) and European Parliament (EP) officials and discuss the country’s visa liberalisation perspectives.

During his two-day visit on September 13-14, Janelidze was scheduled to meet an EP Vice President and representatives of several fractions and committees. The Georgian Minister will also meet Mariya Gabriel, the EP’s rapporteur for a visa waiver proposal for Georgia.

A meeting with EU Enlargement Commissioner Johannes Hahn is also planned.

Georgia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said all the meetings would discuss Georgia’s visa liberalisation process.

Janelidze’s visit comes a week after the EP’s Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) backed plans to grant Georgian citizens the right to travel to the Schengen area without a visa.

The Committee voted and approved a visa waiver for Georgia with 44 votes in favour, five against and one abstention on September 6.

After the voting and the adoption of the regulation by LIBE, the amendment must now be approved by the Council of the EU then at an EP plenary session.

Once the European Parliament as a whole and the EU Council endorse the legislative changes, Georgians will be able to enter the EU without a visa and stay for 90 days in any 180-day period, provided they hold a biometric passport.

Georgia is interested in completing this process as soon as possible so its citizens can travel without a visa to the EU and the Schengen zone. (