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The News in Brief

Thursday, May 25
German Citizen Detained in Abkhazia

A citizen of Germany was detained in Abkhazia by Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) officers on May 22, the State Security Service of Georgia (SSG) told

According to the SSG, “Russian occupation forces have illegally detained a citizen of Germany in the village of Pichori in the occupied Gali District, on charges of illegally crossing the so-called border.”

The SSG added that the Georgian side notified the European Union Monitoring Mission (EUMM) about the incident, and that the SSG was “actively working to free the German citizen together with other agencies and international organizations.”

Local media sources in Abkhazia reported the detention on Monday. “On May 22, 2017, in the area of the Pichori village, a citizen of Germany, who said he was engaged in hiking tourism and was not aware of crossing the state border of the Republic of Abkhazia, was detained for illegally crossing the state border from Georgia into the Republic of Abkhazia,” the press service of Russian FSB border guards was quoted as saying.

“For further procedural decisions the detained person was, according to established rules, transferred to the relevant agencies of the Republic of Abkhazia,” the press service said.

The Administrative Boundary Line (ABL) between the region of Abkhazia and the rest of the Georgian territory is under control of the Russian border guards answering to the Federal Security Service (FSB). (civil,ge)

Russia and Abkhazia establish joint center to combat organized crime

Separatist authorities in Georgia’s breakaway region of Abkhazia signed an agreement with Russia on Thursday establishing a joint Russian-Abkhaz coordination center in Sokhumi to combat organized crime and other serious crimes.

The joint Russian-Abkhazian center will initially have a staff of 20 people, and the director’s position will be filled on a rotating basis between Russia and Abkhazia, Sputnik-Abkhazia reports.

The document was inked by Russia’s deputy minister of interior and Abkhazia’s de facto interior minister.

The new coordination center is established in order to combat organized crime and other dangerous kinds of criminal activities.

In November, 2014, Abkhazia’s de facto authorities signed an agreement on ‘alliance and strategic partnership’ with Russia. Georgia regarded that agreement as a form of annexation. (df watch)

Director of Lancet clinic sent to pre-trial detention

Farmer Jeira, the director of the Lancet clinic, was ordered to pre-trial detention.

As the judge explained, there was a danger that the defendant might escape or influence witnesses, which was proved by evidence presented at the trial.

The director of the Lancet clinic was arrested the day before yesterday for extorting a large amount of money from a patient through cheating him and hiding information dangerous for his health. (ipn)

34.1 million GEL allocated for Georgia by US

The U.S. Department of State has released the US Congressional Budget Justification for 2018.

According to the document, the challenges facing the United States and Europe in 2018 are great. Terrorism and national failures are leading to an increase in refugee and migration flows affecting Europe and adjoining areas. Waves of terrorist attacks in key European cities reflect the new and emerging threats posed by violent extremism, terrorist travel, and foreign fighter flows. Russia’s aggression in Ukraine, and its occupation of Crimea, and parts of Georgia, and Moldova, continues to contravene international principles of sovereignty and territorial integrity. Russia is also conducting malign influence campaigns intended to weaken democratic institutions and sow disunity in the transatlantic space. These challenges are coupled with Brexit, a still recovering Eurozone economy, and a rise in democratic backsliding in several European states. Concerted U.S. leadership and diplomatic engagement with Europe will be essential to addressing these challenges and strengthening the architecture of cooperation that the United States needs to protect American citizens and American values both at home and abroad.

“EUR will continue to marshal European stability to push for full implementation of the Minsk agreements to bring peace to eastern Ukraine. EUR will maintain sanctions on Russia until these agreements are 70 fulfilled, and control of Crimea is returned to Ukraine. EUR will continue to support Ukraine, Georgia, and Moldova in their right to chart their own futures as they undertake critical reforms to strengthen their political systems, economies, and defense. EUR will continue to encourage the peaceful resolution of protracted conflicts in Moldova and the South Caucasus. EUR will encourage the full normalization of relations between Serbia and Kosovo. And, in Cyprus, EUR will continue to support United Nation (UN) efforts aimed at reunifying the island as a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation,” the document reads.

“Georgia ($28.0 million): Funding will support Georgia’s efforts toward democratization, economic development, Euro-Atlantic integration, and resiliency against Russian pressure. Funds will support targeted efforts to enhance economic opportunities and increase access to objective sources of information for populations vulnerable to Russian influence, including in communities bordering the Russian occupied territories of South Ossetia and Abkhazia. Programs will help strengthen institutional checks and balances and the rule of law. Programs will enhance public trust in state institutions; develop a more vibrant civil society and enable its participation in Georgia’s Euro-Atlantic integration process, both as partners with the government and as advocates for reform. Programs will also provide training, technical assistance, and resources to build the capacity of journalists and improve access to independent, reliable, and balanced media. Programming will increase energy security advancing renewable energy and promoting interregional connectivity and trade diversification to reduce reliance on Russian resources. Additionally, programming will promote necessary reforms to foster growth, and expand private-sector competitiveness and agricultural productivity, and improve economic governance and leadership to provide a predictable and consistent business environment in which legal and regulatory frameworks are fair, transparent, and attractive for foreign investment from U.S. and Western businesses. Programming will also support the implementation of European directives, including those in the environment sector,’ the document says.

“Assistance Programs in Europe ($46.4 million): The FY 2018 MRA-OCO request will help alleviate human suffering in the region including by helping conflict victims and the displaced in Ukraine, Georgia, and the Balkans. Rising violence in Eastern Ukraine has driven nearly 1.9 million 308 people from their homes and left 3.8 million in need of assistance inside the country and across the region. Programs will help internally displaced persons and other conflict victims get access to emergency assistance, social services, shelter, livelihoods, and psychosocial programs to foster self-sufficiency. This request will also aid vulnerable IDPs in Georgia who are unable to return to the occupied regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Funding within the Europe line will also support the international community’s response to the large numbers of refugees from the Middle-East, South Asia, and Africa including 50,000 refugees and vulnerable migrants stranded in Greece and Serbia.

“Georgia ($3.0 million): Programming will assist Georgia in addressing the growing transnational organized crime problem in the Caucasus region. Programs will help build the capacity of law enforcement authorities, including their ability to trace and recover assets, respond to critical incidents, and fight human and narcotics trafficking. Assistance will also help reform criminal justice sector institutions, including prosecutors, defense attorneys, judges, and probation and corrections officers to bolster the rule of law and strengthen Georgia’s ability to prosecute transnational organized crime and reduce corruption. Funding will support efforts to advance criminal procedure reforms and continue programs to enhance public understanding of the criminal justice system and develop strong community-based relationships with local law enforcement.

“Georgia ($0.9 million): EXBS-OCO will assist Georgia in implementing its new strategic trade control law, including reforms of secondary legislation and training and equipment for its officers. Funds will be used to help Georgia’s private sector understand and comply with export control laws. Funding will also help Georgia counter transnational threats such as transit or proliferation of WMD-related commodities and technology.

“Europe and Eurasia ($28.6 million): IMET programs for Europe enhance regional security and interoperability among U.S., NATO, and European armed forces. Importantly, these programs help to ensure that those nations that operate alongside the United States have officers that understand and appreciate the doctrine and operational tactics of the U.S. military. Priority recipients include key strategic partners such as Bulgaria, Georgia, Poland, Romania, Turkey, and Ukraine,” the document reports. (IPN)