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Prepared by Diana Dundua
Wednesday, January 9

“Russia’s chief sanitation officer ready for negotiations on wine embargo”

Gennady Onishchenko, Russia’s chief sanitation officer, is ready to begin negotiations over re-opening the Russian market to Georgian wine and mineral water, according to Akhali Taoba.

Onishchenko says he is waiting for a response from Georgia.

“If the Georgian side wishes to lead negotiations regarding restoring the export of Georgian wine and mineral water to Russia we are ready to conduct the appropriate [sanitation] tests. We have done the same in Moldova,” Onishchenko stated.

“I hope that the situation will improve, production quality will be improved and normal export trends restored. Though I cannot specify the exact time this will happen,” Onishchenko added.

“Vladimir Zhirinovsky congratulates Saakashvili on election ‘victory’”

Akhali Taoba reports that Russian Liberal Democratic Party leader Vladimir Zhirinovsky sent a letter to ruling party leader and presumed election-winner Mikheil Saakashvili, congratulating him on a “brilliant victory” in the January 5 presidential.

However, the InterFax news agency quotes Zhirinovsky as saying that with the presumed reelection of Saakashvili, “now an authoritative regime is in power in Georgia.”

Zhirinovsky is a registered candidate for the Russian presidential election slated for March 2.

“Opposition coalition: we will appeal to the court!”

Rezonansi reports that the United National Council, the nine-party opposition coalition which backed Levan Gachechiladze in the presidential election, protest the official election results and will appeal to the court.

“The court is our next step…We will argue that in those places where massive falsification took place results should be annulled. The court must support us in achieving our goal of holding a second round,” Levan Berdzenishvili of the opposition Republican Party commented.

He also said that protests in Tbilisi will continue, as the media is not covering their complaints. “We call on the people to come to the protest rallies and we will tell them the truth there,” Berdzenishvili said.

“Okruashvili’s detainment extended for two weeks”

The German court has extended former defense minister Irakli Okruashvili’s detainment for two weeks, according to Kviris Palitra.

According to Eka Beselia, Okruashvili’s lawyer, his term of imprisonment ended on January 5, the day that France was due to make a decision on whether to grant him political asylum or not. A decision is yet to come from Paris.

Note: On September 27 Okruashvili was detained on corruption charges stemming from his tenure as defense minister. He was freed on bail and flew to Germany, with the court’s consent, under disputed circumstances on November 1.

On November 14, following a request from the Georgian Prosecutor General’s Office, German police took Okruashvili into custody.

“The future of Imedi TV remains unclear”

The future of Imedi TV is unclear, the station’s director of social and political programs, Giorgi Targamadze says, according to Kviris Palitra.

“I do not know when the TV station will restore broadcasting. This is what happens when we are totally dependent on our owner and the manager’s decision,” Targamadaze said.

Imedi TV was founded by presidential candidate and prominent business tycoon Badri Patarkatsishvili, who claims to have since given up his management rights of the channel.

Targamadze said it is business as usual at the station and everything is being archived for future broadcast. He added that he hopes they will receive more information soon.

Note: Imedi TV shut down on November 7 after a police crackdown on anti-government protestors. It reopened on December 7 but closed just weeks later, “to distance ourselves from dirty political games,” after the government broadcast tapes appearing to show Patarkatsishvili organizing a post-election coup.