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The News in Brief

Tuesday, April 25
South Ossetia’s New Leader Inaugurated

Anatoly Bibilov, the former head of the region’s legislature and who was declared the winner of the April 9 presidential election in South Ossetia, was inaugurated in Tskhinvali on April 21.

Vladimir Putin’s advisor Vladislav Surkov was in attendance, and spoke at the ceremony held at a local football stadium, congratulating Bibilov on behalf of the Russian President. Reading Putin’s message, Surkov pledged Russia’s continued support and stressed the need to implement Moscow’s “alliance and integration treaty” with Tskhinvali, signed on March 18 2015. He also said that Moscow expected “necessary control over effectiveness of spending of funds provided from the federal budget of the Russian Federation.”

Surkov had also met Bibilov shortly before the ceremony, praising him for his “firm position on the maximum possible integration with Russia”, and saying that he and Bibilov were of the same mind, since both pursued the objective “to establish a common economic, legal, cultural space that would unite our peoples”. In his remarks during the meeting, Bibilov confirmed that he was going to continue with the “course of integration into the Russian Federation”.

Other speakers at the ceremony, besides Bibilov himself, included a member of Russia’s Federation Council Alexander Totoonov, the leader of the Russian Federal Region of North Ossetia, Vyacheslav Bitarov; former Tskhinvali leader Leonid Tibilov; and the Abkhaz head of government, Beslan Bartsits.

The Luhansk “people’s republic” (LNR) leader Igor Plotnitsky also made a speech. He thanked the South Ossetians for recognizing the LNR's independence and for sending “volunteers” to fight against Ukraine in the Donbass region. Plotnitsky praised them, saying they “fought honestly, risking their lives”. He added that the presence of volunteers from “all regions and republics of Russia” in Donbass confirmed the existence of the “strong and powerful Russia, the united Russian world”.

The ceremony was also attended by representatives of the Russian Ministry of Emergency Situations, Russian Duma and Federation Council delegations, as well as the Donetsk “people’s republic” (DNR) parliamentary speaker Denis Pushilin, and delegations from Transnistria and Nagorno-Karabakh

Pregnant woman among five killed in car crash near Kutaisi, Georgia

A pregnant woman was among the five who were killed in a horrendous road accident along a highway in western Georgia on Sunday.

The accident happened at night, along a highway near Kutaisi in the west of the country.

The first two cars collided head-on, and then they were hit by a large truck, reports.

The police have launched an investigation. No other details of the crash are known so far.

Since 2011, Georgia has witnessed a steady increase in car accidents. According to figures from the Ministry of Internal Affairs, 602 people were killed in traffic accidents in 2015. 409 were killed in the period from January through September of 2016.

An 11 year-old girl on the way to school was killed in March when a car veered into a bus stop on Aghmashenebeli Lane in Tbilisi. The girl’s mother was badly injured.
(df watch)

Georgian Parliamentary Delegation to attend PACE Spring Session

Georgia’s Parliamentary Delegation, headed by the First Vice-Speaker, Ms. Tamar Chugoshvili, is to attend the PACE Spring Session on April 24-28. Simultaneously, the Parliamentary Delegation will hold meetings with senior officials, Georgia’s Parliament reports.

The meetings are scheduled with the PACE President, Pedro Agramunt, CoE Secretary General, Thorbjørn Jagland CoE High Commissioner for Human Rights Nils Muižnieks and the delegations of CoE member states.

“Strasbourg hosts the PACE Spring Session with sundry important and problematic issues in the agenda, including the report on developments in Turkey. We plan to take an active part in the Committee and in the plenary session considerations. Our primary objective and task is to progress Georgia from a monitoring stage to the post-monitoring stage, which Georgia deserves with its level of democratic development,” Ms. Chugoshvili stated.

Simultaneously with the official meetings, the Parliamentary Delegation will host a number of cultural events. On April 24, on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the conclusion of the CoE European Cultural Convention, an exhibition of works by Georgian artists Keti Matabeli and Giorgi Gugushvili on the motives of “The Knight in the Panther’s Skin” will be held.

Ms. Chugoshvili and Mr. Jagland will then address the attendees. On April 26, Georgian MPs will host the Delegations of CoE member states at a wine tasting event.

The Delegation is composed of Sofio Katsarava, Irine Pruidze, Zviad Kvachantiradze, David Bakradze, Eka Beselia, Nino Goguadze, Giorgi Kandelaki, Gela Mikadze and Dimitri Tskitishvili.