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The News in Brief

Monday, April 23
By Mariam Chanishvili

Stoltenberg: NATO is not Isolating Russia

NATO is not aiming to isolate Russia after a nerve agent attack on the former Russian agent and his daughter in Britain last month but had to crack down to show its unhappiness with Moscow, Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said on Wednesday.

The alliance last week expelled seven diplomats from the Russian mission to NATO and cut the maximum size of the delegation to 20 from 30 after the attack, which the West blames on Moscow, although the Kremlin denies it.

“We continue to strive for a better relationship with Russia because Russia is our neighbor, Russia is there to stay. We are not aiming at isolating Russia,” Stoltenberg said in remarks at the University of Ottawa.

Georgia also demanded the expel of one Russian diplomat from Tbilisi, from the Swiss Embassy, as Georgia and Russia have no direct diplomat ties since 2008.

In response, Russia sent a diplomatic note to Georgia to withdraw one of Georgian diplomats from Moscow.

Int’l Experts to Study Labor Safety Conditions in Tkibuli Mines

International experts will study labor safety conditions in the Tkibuli mine, in the west of Georgia, in the wake of a deadly accident early this month killing six minors and leaving several others injured.

On April 19 trilateral meeting was held between the Trade Unions, Ministry of Labor, Heal and Social Affairs and Georgian Industrial Group, the employer company, after which the decision was made.

Representative of the Trade Unions, Vitali Giorgadze said that their request was that the mine was checked and examined by international experts.

“We also demanded from the state and the employer that the miners must be paid while the mine is closed for examination and they agreed,” he said.

Georgian Industrial Group Director General, Zurab Gelenidze stated that the international experts will give recommendations on the improvement of working conditions in the mine.

“After the examination, the experts will make a list of necessary future activities, that need to be carried out and the Georgian Industrial will decide if we want to continue working in such a format,” Gelenidze said.

The student movement “Auditorium 115” was meanwhile protesting in front of the Ministry of Labor, Health and Social Affairs of Georgia, due to the refusal to Tkibuli miners to attend the meeting.

Tkibuli miners and "Auditorium 115" demand temporary suspension of the Tkibuli mine operations, to make a collective agreement between the employer and the employees, which will provide adequate employment and social guarantees for the miners.

Immediate dismissal of those who were responsible for safety in the mines was also demanded.