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The News in Brief

Monday, June 12
Heavy rains brought damage to Georgian population. The state will do its best to recover the losses.

Tbilisi Criticizes Russia’s WTO Deal Statement

On June 7, the Georgian Foreign Ministry responded to the statement of its Russian counterpart on cargo transit through Tskhinvali Region/South Ossetia, saying Moscow’s position “is a clear attempt” to avoid the implementation of the 2011 Swiss-mediated agreement between Tbilisi and Moscow on trade monitoring between the two countries, including the cargo passing through Abkhazia and Tskhinvali Region/South Ossetia.

The Russian Foreign Ministry said on June 6 that it welcomes “the constructive and responsible position” of new South Ossetian leader Anatoly Bibilov that Tskhinvali will have “no problems” with allowing international cargo transit through the region, and added that it hoped Tbilisi would demonstrate “an equally constructive spirit.”

In response to the statement, the Georgian MFA accused Moscow of “deliberately inhibiting the process” and stressed that “the aim of the agreement is monitoring of trade between Georgia and Russia.”

“The Russian side tries to present the occupied Tskhinvali Region as a party to the agreement, which obviously contradicts to the principles and the purpose of this agreement. Such interpretation of the agreement signed between the two countries in 2011 is categorically unacceptable for Georgia and this was clear to Moscow from the very beginning,” the MFA noted.

It then added that following the agreement signature, “important steps” were taken to implement it with the support of Switzerland, including the selection of a neutral company to administer customs monitoring, as well as a number of technical steps. As a result, the MFA added, “Georgia completed all preparatory procedures for signing the contract with a neutral company and for launching the agreement implementation.”

The Georgian MFA called on Russia to “review its unconstructive position and start unconditional implementation of its international commitments.” It also urged the member states of the World Trade Organization to give adequate assessment to Russia’s “destructive steps” and “prevent politicization of the agreement.”

Georgia agreed to give its go-ahead to Russia’s WTO membership only after Tbilisi and Moscow signed a Swiss-mediated agreement in November, 2011, envisaging the deployment of sophisticated systems for tracking and auditing of cargo passing through Abkhazia and South Ossetia. According to the agreement, “neutral private company” will carry out monitoring of cargo movement through three “trade corridors” two of which run through Abkhazia and South Ossetia and the third one on the Zemo Larsi-Kazbegi border crossing point on the undisputed section of Georgia-Russia border.

Monitoring should be carried out, among other means, also through the presence of company representatives at entry/exit points of these corridors, meaning that they will be present outside of the regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

CEO of Georgia’s embattled opposition television station resigns

Rustavi 2 director general Nika Gvaramia has resigned.

Gvaramia’s resignation was reported yesterday by several Georgian media outlets and confirmed Friday morning by one of the TV company’s editors who spoke to DFWatch on condition of anonymity.

The Rustavi 2 management sat in talks with journalists and lawyers around midnight, after Gvaramia’s resignation became known. Staff have not said anything yet about what was discussed at the meeting or who will replace Gvaramia.

The TV company has not said why its director has resigned, but the news agency Interpressnews reported, relying on its sources at Rustavi 2, that Gvaramia named financial hardship at the company as the reason for his resignation.
(DF watch)

Heavy rain and hail hits Kakheti region of Georgia

Heavy rain and hail damaged vineyards and other agricultural lands in Georgia’s main wine-making region of Kakheti.

The village of Giorgitsminda in the Sagarejo region and its surrounding areas suffered most from Saturday’s sudden storm that lasted no more than 20 minutes.

The special hail protection facilities have saved the population from even greater damage.

Governor of Kakheti Irakli Kadagishvili said the country’s Military Scientific-Technical Centre DELTA launched 30 anti-hail rockets into clouds to resist the hail.

The anti-hail system installed on Chorota Mountain in Kakheti worked by launching an unguided 60mm rocket into the air, which would disperse a reagent into the air to reduce hail from forming in the clouds.

When the rocket reached the appropriate height, the silver iodine reagent will be dispersed at an altitude of 2.5-4.5 km above ground for 30-35 seconds.

Governor Kadagishvili said the anti-hail system is currently working in the municipalities of Akhmeta, Gurjaani and Telavi where the hail has been forecast. He said "almost every third day we have to deal with the hail”.

The total amount of damage is not yet clear as the monitoring groups of the local municipality are still counting the damage.

Heavy rain also reached some districts of the Georgian capital of Tbilisi.

Georgia's 112 emergency service said the rain entered the ground floors of the residential buildings in the districts of Gldani and Tsereteli. However, the sky has cleared now and the roads are being cleaned for traffic.