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The News in Brief

Tuesday, December 20
Average rate is not enough,we need rapid economic development –Parliament Speaker

“The government has a clear vision for economic development, which is reflected in the Prime Minister's four-point plan,” Parliament Speaker Irakli Kobakhidze told the Kviris Palitra newspaper.

He said the government could not take drastic economic measures, “but in that case we would have maintained the average economic growth rate in the region”.

"It would not be bad in the current economic situation in the region, but the average rate is not enough for Georgia today; we need rapid economic development.

“As you are aware, economic changes envisage tax reduction in case of re-investment, which created the need for an alternative reform in order to minimize the budget deficit.

“Tax cuts led to the increase in the budget deficit and reduced revenues, which needed to be balanced. It was a recommendation of our foreign partners, including the IMF,” said Kobakhidze

He expressed hope that due to the ambitious plan of economic development, Georgia will increase its annual economic growth rate by several percent.

Georgian Interior Minister Meets Armenian President

Georgian Interior Minister Giorgi Mgebrishvili met with Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan in Yerevan on December 16.

Within the framework of his working visit, Mgebrishvili also held talks with Vladimir Gasparyan, Armenia’s chief of police; the sides signed a declaration on deepening the cooperation between the law enforcement agencies of the two countries and stressed the importance of the agreement in the field of combatting organized crime, which promotes “close and fruitful cooperation” between Georgian and Armenian police officers, according to the Georgian Interior Ministry.

President Sargsyan emphasized the importance of the visit of the Georgian Interior Minister to Armenia “in terms of close and effective interaction, jointly countering the contemporary challenges”.

“It was underlined that not only are Armenia and Georgia friendly states, but they are connected with centuries-old good neighborly relations. President Sargsyan noted that it is necessary to work constantly to further strengthen this friendship,” the Armenian President’s administration noted.

According to the statement, the sides emphasized the “active and dynamic” nature of the Georgian-Armenian political dialogue, promoted through exchanges of visits at various levels, which enable the two sides to discuss “the issues of mutual interest in a constructive and warm atmosphere.”

The Georgian Interior Ministry said that during the meeting with the Armenian President, Giorgi Mgebrishvili spoke on the delimitation of Georgian-Armenian state border and “expressed hope that it will be completed successfully in the near future.”

The two countries have already reached an agreement on 71% of the 224-kilometer border.

Investigation launched into train fire

The Ministry of Internal Affairs has launched an investigation of the fire that broke out on the Kutaisi-Batumi train on October 18.

The investigation is underway into deliberate damage inflicted onto another’s property.

Rescuers and ambulances were mobilized at the scene.

According to the Georgian Railway company, passengers were evacuated from the train and nobody was injured.

Georgia’s President saddened by terror attack in Turkey

President of Georgia Giorgi Margvelashvili condemned a terror attack in the central Turkish city of Kayseri that killed 13 soldiers and left many dozens injured.

The car bomb exploded at about 8.45am on Saturday and destroyed a bus carrying off-duty soldiers, who were visiting a local market.

Georgia's President has publically condemned the attack and offered his sympathies to the victims and their families.

"I convey my condolences to the families of the soldiers killed in the blast in Kayseri city,” Margvelashvili said in a statement.

“We strongly condemn the terror attack in Turkey and once again express our readiness to intensify our cooperation with our partners in fighting terrorism.

“We stand by the people of Turkey.”

Turkey's regional governor SuleymanKamci said the blast in Kayseri, a usually calm industrial hub in Central Anatolia, was carried out by a suicide bomber parked next to the bus near the entrance to Erciyes University.

The soldiers were said to be on leave from a nearby military base.

The suicide car bomb killed 13 soldiers on board the bus and wounded 56 more. Turkish authorities said 12 were in intensive care and six were in critical condition.

No group has admitted carrying out the attack, but Turkish officials say it bears the hallmarks of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), reported the BBC.