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The News in Brief

Friday, July 14
Giorgi Vashadze proposes picketing Parliament building if no consensus is achieved on draft constitution

Giorgi Vashadze, leader of the Civic Platform - New Georgia, is considering picketing the Parliament building if no consensus is achieved on the draft constitution.

Giorgi Vashadze will propose the mentioned initiative to the opposition parties.

Opposition parties are holding a meeting within the framework of the Protection of the Constitution campaign. Representatives of various parties are attending the meeting, including:Bachuki Kardava, Giorgi Vashadze, Nika Rurua, Nika Machutadze, Sevdia Ugrekhelidze.

“My offer to all opposition forces is to picket the Parliament building if no consensus is proposed by the Georgian Dream party on the draft constitution. There are three entrances to Parliament and we will simply not let them in the building. They will not be able to vote for the draft constitution in the third reading. This problem can be solved without any violence,” said Vashadze. (IPN)

100 Georgians soldiers leave for Afghanistan

100 Georgian soldiers from the 3rd Infantry Brigade are leaving for Afghanistan.

The Ministry of Defence held a special farewell ceremony today prior to their departure.

The one hundred soldiers, led by Captain Shalva Megrelishvili, will serve in Mazar-i-Sharif under the supervision of German command over the course of six months.

Before setting out on the peacekeeping mission, the soldiers underwent a special 13-week training course in Georgia and in Germany, between February 4 and June 23.

They will be responsible for control of their perimeter and participation in fast response operations.

Georgia is the largest non-NATO contributor to the Resolute Support mission, with 885 troops.

The Resolute Support mission was a follow-on task from the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) mission, to which Georgia contributed about 750 troops. (

Tallinn: Estonian EU Presidency to Advance Eastern Partnership Agenda

The Estonian Presidency of the Council of the European Union “will focus on advancing the Eastern Partnership agenda,” the Estonian Foreign Ministry told on July 11.

Estonia, which assumed the rotating six-month Presidency on July 1, “would like to keep the ambitious Eastern Partnership in the focus of the EU,” and will support democratic and economic reforms “to bring the Eastern partners closer to the EU.”

“The Eastern Partnership enables to uphold a fundamental principle of European security order: the right of countries to choose their own future, their own path to development,” the Foreign Ministry noted, adding that it “is the more important in terms of current security situation in the European neighborhood [when] some partners are still facing aggression or violation of their territorial integrity.”

Speaking on the Presidency’s concrete plans targeting the Eastern Partnership countries, the Estonian Foreign Ministry said that the country will “pay particular attention to sustainable public sector reforms of the partner countries, the development of transport and energy connections, digital society, entrepreneurship and civil society, as well as people-to-people contacts.”

“Estonia fully supports the further political association and economic integration of Georgia, Ukraine and the Republic of Moldova with the EU and the implementation of association agreements,” and sees “opportunities for further developing relations with Armenia, Azerbaijan and Belarus.”

The Ministry also stressed the importance of the European Union’s “continued focus on conflict resolution in the Eastern neighborhood,” and added that it will “seek the commitment of the partner countries to fight cybercrime more effectively and to undertake reforms to fight corruption.”

Georgia in Estonian Priorities

The Foreign Ministry spoke specifically about Georgia as well, saying that the country’s “track of political and economic integration and approximation of the European Union laws has been impressive,” and that it marks the EU’s “enhanced and wide-ranging partnership” with Georgia.

“By signing the Association Agreement and the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement (DCFTA) in June 2014, relations between EU and Georgia were brought to a new level,” the Ministry said.

“Georgia is committed to political association and economic integration by implementing time-consuming and unpopular reforms,” it also noted, adding that the country “is benefiting from DCFTA economically: trade with the EU is growing, and today, EU is Georgia’s main trading partner.”

The Foreign Ministry also touched upon the introduction of visa free regime to Georgia. “The process was difficult but at the end of the day Georgia proved its quality with successful reforms. Visa freedom is not only about traveling; it has more symbolic value being accepted to European family,” it stated.

In the words of the Foreign Ministry, Georgia is “an outstanding example in implementing reforms in many other areas as well,” which shows that the EU “approaching each partner differently helps to increase the sense of ownership over the reform process”. “With more reforms, there will be more cooperation possibilities; this in turn works as a motivation for further reforms, as Georgia adjusts national legislation to the EU standards,” the Ministry said. (