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The News in Brief

Friday, December 23
Former senior Georgian officials found guilty, convicted to imprisonment

The former head of Constitutional Security Department, Data Akhalaia, and Gia Dgebuadze, aka Mastera, a high-ranking official of the same institution, were found guilty in the so-called Navtlugi Special Forces Raid case.

The decision was announced at Tbilisi City Court earlier today. In reference to Dgebuadze, Judge Lasha Chkhikvadze changed the initial accusation of ‘premeditated murder’ to ‘helping in the premeditated murder’, while for the allegation of abuse of authority, Dgebuadze was found not guilty. As a result, Dgebuadze was given 9 years of imprisonment as well as 2-year ban from taking official posts.

With regards to Data Akhalaia, the judge found him guilty of premeditated murder as well as abuse of official authority, and convicted him to 12 years in prison, apart from 2-year ban from taking official posts.

The Navtlugi Special Forces Raid case refers to the police raid carried out in the Navtlugi settlement of Tbilisi. As the court has decided, Data Akhalaia and Gia Dgebuadze were involved in the premeditated killing of three young men: Shota Gorgadze, Marad Artmeladze and Roman Surmanidze. (IPN)

National currency further depreciated, NBG called on to take measures

The Georgian national currency, the lari, has further depreciated today. 1 USD costs 2.78 GEL based on the exchange rate of National Bank of Georgia (NBG). The price exceeds 2.80 GEL at commercial exchange booths.

Experts and members of the Georgian Dream party call on the NBG to make the monetary policy stricter for the purpose of stabilizing the lari. One of the main recommendations is the reduction of refinancing credits. Otherwise, the prognosis is that the cost of 1 USD will reach 3.0 GEL and prices on all products will increase.

The NBG does not plan any further intervention, and explains the depreciation of the national currency as being the result of foreign factors as well as inaccurate expectations amongst the public. Opposition lawmakers have summoned the ministers of the government’s economic team to Parliament. (

Georgia forges deeper ties with Turkey following PM’s visit

Georgia’s Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili has ended his official visit to Turkey by meeting Turkey's President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

When the pair met yesterday, they talked about the strategic partnership between Georgia and Turkey and discussed ways to enhance the strong cooperation between the two neighbouring states.

Kvirikashvili and Erdogan were mostly interested in boosting bilateral cooperation in politics, trade and economy, transport and energy, arts and culture, along with humanitarian efforts.

The two leaders also highlighted the importance of the Eurasia Tunnel, one of Turkey's most visionary mega projects allowing vehicles to pass beneath Istanbul's Bosporus Strait.

The Eurasia Tunnel was officially opened yesterday. Georgia's Prime Minister was one of several invited guests who attended the opening ceremony in Turkey.

Kvirikashvili and Erdogan both said this tunnel project would make ‘a huge contribution’ to the revival of the Silk Road.

Meanwhile, regional security was another important topic discussed between Kvirikashvili and Erdogan yesterday. Both leaders agreed ensuring peace and stability in the region was important.

Georgia's Prime Minister once again expressed his support and solidarity to the people and government of Turkey following a series of recent terrorist attacks.

The head of the Government of Georgia said this type of violence should be openly opposed by the civilised world.

"Georgia stands solidly by its friends in this time,” said Kvirikashvili. (

Two Large Scale Events on 24-25 December in Tbilisi to Support Israel Diplomacy

On 24-25 December, Israel’s official delegation will take part in an event to celebrate Hanukkah, and Tbilisi will also host First International Hasbara Forum with the support of Israel Diplomacy.

A representative delegation from Israel will visit Tbilisi on 23 December, composed of the Vice-Speakers of Parliament, Hilik Bar and Tali Ploskov; the head of the parliamentary government coalition, David Bitan; Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Tzipi Hotovely; journalists of Israel’s leading TV channels and information agencies; as well as Washington Post analysts, businessmen, and Jewish community leaders from Germany, Canada, Australia and Poland.

The organizer of the large-scale events is “Israel House”, with the support of the Israeli Embassy. Israel House will have a presentation of work results after 3 years of working in the State Opera Theater.

Israel house was created 3 years ago on the initiative of the president of the Georgian-Israel Business chamber, Itsik Moshe, and aimed to promote Hasbara and deepen the relations between two countries. With the support of Israel House, representatives of the Israeli government, business, technology and tourism industries, as well as members of the media, all visited Georgia.

The pilot project of Israel House was implemented with the support of Parliament Vice-Speaker Hilik Bar and the head of the governmental coalition, Davit Bitan.

As the founder of Israel House, Itsik Moshe noted there have been three outcomes: the Hasbara implementation international model was created, and will also work in other countries; strengthening relations with Georgia has become an example for relations with other partner countries; and finally, after 3 years of work, Georgian-Jewish relations are in the right format.

With the participation of the Israeli delegation, the first large-scale event is planned on 24th of December at 19.30 in Opera State House, where they will celebration the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah and light the first hanukkah candle.

Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili, Head of Parliament Irakli Kobakhidze, parliamentarians and the Israeli ambassador, Shabtai Tsur, will attend the event. The ambassador will make a speech in front of the audience, and a Georgian singer will perform Jewish compositions while famous pianist Eliso Bolkvadze will play accompanying classical music.

The Israeli delegation’s visit to the Biltmore hotel will start at 09.00 and will focus on Israel’s international challenges, Hasbara and a forum of Near East issues. The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Tsipi Khotovely, and Vice-Speaker Khilk Bar will give a report about the Israeli politics of neighbouring countries.

During the visit to Tbilisi, it is planned that the Georgian and Israel delegations will open a 3 million USD Israeli construction project investment together.

At the end of the visit, there will be a final meeting with Ambassador Shabtay Tsur. (