The messenger logo

The News in Brief

Thursday, July 27
Preparations Underway for U.S.-led Military Drills in Georgia

U.S. military equipment, including M1A2 Abrams main battle tanks and M2 Bradley infantry fighting vehicles, were delivered via ferry from Bulgaria to Georgia’s Black Sea port of Poti for annual joint military exercises, which will start next week outside Tbilisi.

The military vehicles were then transferred by rail from Poti to the Vaziani training area east of the Georgian capital, where the third annual Noble Partner exercise will take place on July 30 – August 12.

Over 2,800 troops will take part in the drills, including 800 Georgian and 1600 U.S. military personnel. Other participating nations include Armenia, Germany, Slovenia, Turkey, Ukraine and the United Kingdom.

The key purpose of the exercise is to enhance cooperation and interoperability between the participating nations. Among the goals of the drills this year according to U.S. Army Europe is “to support the training, evaluation and eventual certification of Georgia’s second light infantry company contribution to the NATO Response Force (NRF) for 2017.”

Among the planned training events are airborne operations led by the U.S. 173rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team (based in Vicenza, Italy); joint live-fire exercise of the Georgian Fourth Brigade and an American battalion from the Third Armored Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division; U.S. Naval Forces Europe equipment transfer from Bulgaria to Poti port; and combined arms live-fire exercise built around a defensive scenario.

Noble Partner 17 is a part of a series of U.S.-led military exercises that are being held in the Black Sea region, including Saber Guardian, held in Bulgaria, Hungary and Romania, and Sea Breeze, held in Ukraine.

Georgian Defense Minister LevanIzoria commented on July 21 that “our chief strategic partner, the United States, is particularly represented in this exercise”. He also said that the number of troops and military equipment was “unprecedented,” which will “make clear the support of Georgia by NATO member states, especially the U.S” (

,b>“I was asked the same questions by the Prosecutor’s Office as at the police station” - Leila Mustafayeva

“I was asked the same questions by the Prosecutor’s Office as at the police station. I gave them the same answers,” said Leila Mustafayeva, the spouse of arrested Azerbaijani journalist AfgnaMukhtarli, speaking to journalists after questioning in the Prosecutor's Office.

"I urged them to reveal the state officials involved in the kidnapping of Afgan Mukhtarli and to launch a criminal case against them," she said.

According to Leila Mustapayeva, whose husband disappeared from Tbilisi, "Georgia’s Prosecutor's Office is interested in launching their own investigation".

"I told them that the police were asking the same questions, but nothing was done afterwards. The main thing I asked them was to investigate why all the cameras from our home to the border did not work, who was responsible for this, how Afgan crossed the border without a passport, why he was not stopped by border police. I asked for a quick and objective investigation. We'll soon see if they carry one out," said Mustafaevaya. (IPN)

Venice Commission says consensus has to be reached on constitutional changes

Gianni Buquicchio, President of the Venice Commission, addressed the opposition parties with a letter on the constitutional amendments. The letter says that the Venice Commission maintains its position that a solution has to be found through dialogue and the broadest possible consensus.

“Dear representatives of the opposition parties. Thank you for your new letter. The Venice Commission still maintains its position that a solution has to be found through dialogue with the aim of reaching the broadest possible consensus.

“This consensus has to be reached among the political forces of Georgia. While it should be based on the opinions of the Venice Commission, it cannot be the role of the Commission to try to impose a concrete solution," says Gianni Buquicchio in a letter dated 25 July.

Opposition parties sent a joint appeal to the Venice Commission and European Structures on the constitutional amendments a week ago. (ipn)