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Monday, February 27
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17 members and the head of the Patriarch's bodyguard were discharged. According to officially unconfirmed information, during the search in the patriarchate fire arms were found.

Armenian PM Meets Georgian Leaders in Tbilisi

Armenian Prime Minister Karen Karapetyan discussed bilateral relations and regional cooperation with Georgian leaders during his official visit to Tbilisi on February 23-24.

Armenian-Georgian relations are “very impressive,” but prospects are “equally promising,” the Armenian PM said before meeting with his Georgian counterpart, Giorgi Kvirikashvili, in Tbilisi on February 23.

“For Georgia, Armenia is a country with which we share centuries-old good-neighborly traditions and strong people-to-people links,” PM Giorgi Kvirikashvili told the press on February at a joint press briefing following the high-level talks with his Armenian counterpart, Karen Karapetyan.

In the words of Giorgi Kvirikashvili, the Armenian Prime Minister had “interesting suggestions on tapping the common market potential in various sectors.”

“We expressed readiness to work actively in this area and encourage the private sector representatives from both countries to fully employ the potential of regional cooperation,” PM Kvirikashvili said.

Armenian PM said that he had a “warm” meeting with his Georgian counterpart.

PM Karapetyan stated that the two countries “entered a new stage” in bilateral cooperation. “Armenian-Georgian cooperation continues to develop in an environment of mutual trust, which is crucial for further strengthening of our relationship,” he said.

“Our delegation is ready to discuss issues of bilateral economic cooperation, as well as regional development, and we will try to find new ways of bolstering cooperation,” Karen Karapetyan added.

“We would like Georgians to view Armenia as a country that is worth investing in and visiting as a tourist,” he also explained.

Following the meeting with his Georgian counterpart, the head of the Armenian Government met with President Giorgi Margvelashvili.

“[The sides] underlined the prospects of cooperation between the countries, especially with respect to economy,” the President’s office reported in its press release of the meeting.

“Discussion was also focused on the current situation in the occupied territories of Georgia, regional challenges and the security issues,” the statement also said.

According to the Armenian Government’s press office, at the meeting with President Margvelashvili, PM Karapetyan emphasized that the two countries “can implement projects of regional importance.”

“The Armenian side is ready to offer Georgian businessmen various platforms for better access to other markets,” Karapetyan said referring to the establishment of a free economic zone in Meghri on the border with Iran.

According to the same statement, the Prime Minister also expressed gratitude for “favorable treatment” of the Armenian community in Georgia, as well as for “the preservation of historical and cultural values.”

On February 24, the head of Armenian Government visited Georgia’s Patriarch Ilia II, who recently returned from Germany, where he underwent medical treatment.

Georgian opposition party will not face charges for planting pot

Members of an opposition party in the former Soviet republic of Georgia will not be prosecuted for planting cannabis in their office on New Year’s Eve because the saplings contained too little of the forbidden narcotic substance.

The New Year’s Eve pot planting stunt was a part of a campaign by the opposition party Girchi (‘cone’) to decriminalize soft drugs.

After waiting for some days, law enforcement launched an investigation. But the tiny seedlings did not have enough illicit substance in them to merit criminal prosecution, the Ministry of Internal Affairs said on Friday.

The comments were published by a number of Georgian media outlets, but the ministry has not provided further explanations.

Girchi leader Zurab Japaridze said that he was well aware of the risks the pot planting involved, but didn’t know what consequences it would entail.

An number of groups and political parties in Georgia have urged the government to soften the country’s tough anti-drug policy, which has sent many young people to jail for a long time.

Girchi consists of former members of the former ruling party, the United National Movement (UNM). Zurab Japaridze and a number of his colleagues who share his libertarian views parted with the UNM in 2015. Some UNM members accused them of being bribed by ex-PM Bidzina Ivanishvili in order to weaken the former ruling party, his main rival.

It was this suspicion which caused the famous opera singer Paata Burchuladze to expel Girchi from his political alliance in the 2016 election campaign.

Girchi vehemently denies the allegations.
(DF watch)