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The News in Brief

Thursday, March 2
Controversies of the Patriarchate

The scandal concerning the alleged murder of a person of high rank in the Georgian clergy seems to become more intriguing. Detained priest Giorgi Mamaladze tries to avoid being interrogated by the investigators from the Prosecutor’s Office.

He claims that he is ill and cannot answer the questions. The prosecutors suspect that he is simulating, whereas his lawyers demand that his condition should be matter of concern.

Mamaladze also demands the protection of his family from the alleged threats.

The Georgian Church is split in two parts, those who are for the unbiased investigation and the second, which is insisting that Mamaladze is innocent and there are allegations against him. (The Messenger)

UN ‘Regrets’ Plans for Abkhazia Crossing Points Closure

Stephane Dujarric, the Spokesman for the United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres, expressed “regret” over the planned closure of two crossing points along the Administrative Boundary Line of Georgia’s breakaway region of Abkhazia.

The de-facto Abkhaz government decided to close two out of four crossing points along the administrative boundary line (ABL) - Nabakevi-Khurcha and Meore Otobaia-Orsantia - between Abkhazia’s predominantly ethnic Georgian Gali district and its adjoining Zugdidi district of Samegrelo region at its session on December 28.

Responding to questions on February 27, Stephane Dujarric stated that the announced plans to close the two additional crossing points “will be detrimental to the freedom of movement and overall well-being of the population, including school children, on both sides of the administrative boundary line, especially those living in the Gali District.”

“We join other international partners in calling for the continued functioning of the existing crossing points to ensure the freedom of movement, including humanitarian crossings,” Stephane Dujarric added.

“We underline previous calls for all the participants in the Geneva International Discussions to engage constructively in making tangible progress and to refrain from any unilateral actions that may adversely impact regional peace and security and undermine the work of those Discussions,” he also stated.

The planned crossing points closure has raised concerns internationally before as well. (

Second Georgian contractor held captive in DRC named

The second of two Georgian pilots who were taken prisoner by rebels in the Democratic Republic of the Congo has been identified as Vyacheslav Pluzhnikov.

Pluzhnikov has a background from the Georgian air force. He was arrested for alleged espionage for Russia in 2010 and released three years later in a mass amnesty.

The captured pilot’s identity was first reported by Imedi TV.

Pluzhnikov was injured when the military helicopter he was in crash landed in the east of the country nearly a month ago. He has recovered and is feeling well, Imedi reports.

The two Georgian helicopter crew members are there on private contracts and they were captured by rebels who are waging a guerrilla war against the central government.

The other Georgian pilot is Soso Osurauli, also a former officer of the Georgian air force.

Pluzhnikov was arrested in 2010 in a case known as the Enver Affair, after an alleged Russian intelligence agent code named ‘Enver’. 15 people were arrested in the swoop, mainly air force officers.

Those who pleaded guilty were soon released, but those who pleaded not guilty were sentenced to prison terms of various lengths.

Pluzhnikov was among those who insisted on his innocence and he was sentenced for 13 years and 6 months.

After the change of power in 2012, his case, which had previously caused much controversy, was reviewed.

The following year, he was released in a mass amnesty following a prisoner abuse scandal. (DF watch)

Agreement on new program worth 285 million achieved with IMF

“An agreement on a new program worth 285 million has been achieved with the International Monetary Fund,” Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Dimitri Kumsishvili said at the meeting summarizing the IMF mission results.

According to him, the two-week talks with the IMF mission were “successfully completed”.

As Kumsishvili noted, the Government, the National Bank and the Fund actively work on the new program within the framework of the Extended Fund Facility (EFF).

"The three-year program was initiated to support the government's economic policy. The new program is not only declaration of full confidence to the government's economic policy, but it is fully based on the government's reform plan," said Kumsishvili.

"Under the program, the IMF will be our main partner in pursuing the government's economic policy," said Kumsishvili. (IPN)