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The News in Brief

Wednesday, December 21
Belarus Foreign Minister Visits Georgia

The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Belarus, Vladimir Makei, who is paying a working visit to Georgia, met his Georgian counterpart Mikheil Janelidze and President Giorgi Margvelashvili on December 20.

During his two-day visit, the Foreign Minister will also hold talks with Parliamentary Chairman Irakli Kobakhidze and Georgian Patriarch Ilia II.

“The sides will discuss a broad range of issues on political and economic cooperation, as well as the issue of increasing Belarusian exports, interactions in international organizations and cooperation in the humanitarian sphere,” the Belarus Foreign Ministry reported.

The Embassy of Belarus will be opened in Tbilisi during Makei’s visit. This issue was first raised during the visit of President Alexander Lukashenko to Tbilisi in April, 2015. Georgia opened its embassy to Belarus in 2007.

The Georgian Foreign Ministry said that the Belarus Foreign Minister will also visit the village of Khurvaleti on the administrative boundary line with breakaway South Ossetia. (

Georgian journalist tells of road rage by police

A journalist in Georgia claims police beat him and pointed a gun at him following a traffic incident.

The incident happened in Borjomi, a town in the southern part of Georgia, Iberia TV reported on Monday. Journalist Giorgi Gasviani, who works for a TV company, said he was beaten by a police officer.

Gasviani was out driving on Sunday, but his car was poorly prepared for the icy conditions and it was when his car slipped on the ice that he got into trouble, he recalled.

The police officer and his friends, who were on the same road, claimed that the skidding behaviour of Gasviani’s car was actually an attempt to kill them. As he recalls, they approached his car and proceeded to beat him while he was still sitting in the car, without giving him a chance to explain why the car had slipped, and without even letting him speak.

“He pointed a gun at me. They threatened me and didn’t let me explain how I felt when something went wrong with the car,” he said.

The journalist, who was on his way to a seminar about human rights, was forced out of his car and beaten over the head.

When he told them he was a journalist they threatened to take him to the police station, but offered to bring him instead to the hotel where the seminar was held, in return for not telling anyone about the incident.

Gasvian called the Ministry of Internal Affair’s general inspection, a unit tasked with looking into allegations of police brutality. He was taken to the hospital and afterward to the police station for questioning.

Minister of Internal Affairs Giorgi Mghebrishvili told journalists on Monday that if the beating incident is proven to be true the perpetrators will be harshly punished.

“A person who should take care of order and call on others to do the same, and this person offends the law… I will never protect this person. If necessary, this police officer will be fired and punished,” Mghebrishvili said.

The Prosecutor General’s Office launched an investigation under article 126 and 333 of the Criminal Code about battery or other violence and exceeding official powers. (DF watch)

Norway contributes ˆ1.1 million to boost human rights in Georgia

Norway will contribute more than ˆ1 million to enhance the judiciary, human rights and administration of elections in Georgia.

The Council of Europe Office in Georgia announced the news, saying Norway’s contribution of ˆ1.1 million was to help the implementation of the Council of Europe 2016-2019 Action Plan for Georgia.

The announcement came when Deputy Secretary General of the Council of Europe Gabriella Battaini-Dragoni met with Permanent Representative of Norway to the Council of Europe Astrid Helle last week.

At the meeting Helle confirmed the importance Norway attached to the cooperation activities delivered by the Council of Europe in Georgia.

With this new pledge, Norway’s voluntary contribution to the current Action Plan for Georgia reached approximately ˆ1.8 million.

The contribution from Norway will allow the Council of Europe to increase support to the Georgian authorities and stakeholders, in areas such as reform of the judiciary, human rights and administration of elections,” the Council of Europe Office in Georgia said in a statement.

This additional support is particularly timely, coming at the beginning of a new governance cycle, when reform directions are being reconfirmed in line with the European values of human rights, democracy and rule of law.” (