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The News in Brief

Friday, May 22
Georgian Ambassador presents credentials to Obama

The Georgian envoy to the United States has officially assumed the office of Ambassador. Batu Kutelia presented President of the United States Barak Obama with his credentials on Wednesday.

At the ceremony, the diplomat had a brief conversation with the President, who reiterated support for Georgia`s Government and providing security in the region.

“In his remarks the President said that he supports the democratic development of Georgia. He believes that Georgia must become a model of democratic development in the region and reiterated that the United States would continue to be the guarantor of security in the region,” Kutelia said. (Rustavi 2)

Bilateral consultations held between Foreign Ministries of Georgia and Slovakia

The Press Centre of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs reports that “On 21 May 2009, at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia, bilateral political consultations were held between the Foreign Ministries of Georgia and the Republic of Slovakia.

“The Slovak side was led by State Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Olga Algayerova.

During the aforesaid consultations Mrs. Algayerova reaffirmed the Slovak side's unconditional support for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Georgia.

“The sides discussed a broad spectrum of bilateral and multilateral relations between the sides, including close cooperation between Georgia and the Slovak Republic within international organizations and Georgia's integration into European and Euro-Atlantic structures. Special attention was also focused on the importance of cooperation between Georgia and the European Union within the framework of the Eastern Partnership and the humanitarian assistance either provided or scheduled to be rendered by the Slovak side.

“The Georgian side provided the delegation of the Slovak Republic with detailed information on the situation in Georgia's occupied regions, internal political processes and the reforms taking place in Georgia.” (Interpressnews)

Labour Party Leader sends special letter to UN

Shalva Natelashvili has held a press conference in the office of the party and spoken about the preliminary document on the conflict zones adopted by the UN. Natelashvili has addressed the UN Secretary General and members of Security Council in a letter to that body and urged them to change the text of the document.

“Georgia and Abkhazia should not be mentioned separately in the text as this calls the territorial integrity of Georgia into question. Such a formulation is contrary to the principles of the UN,” Shalva Natelashvili remarked, adding that the UN encourages the separatist movement by taking this step. (Interpressnews)

Two servicemen killed during Russian-Georgian war identified

The Press Centre of the MoD reports that “Two servicemen killed during the Russian-Georgian war last year have been identified. The Georgian war heroes have been buried today with military honours at the Mukhatgverdi Cemetery. The dead servicemen were identified through DNA and biological analysis.

“The funeral ceremony at the cemetery was attended by family members of the dead servicemen, Defence Minister of Georgia Vasil Sikharulidze, Chief of the Joint Staff of the Georgian Armed Forces Major General Devi Tchankodadze and other leading military officials.

”Corporal Shmagi Khaikashvili used to serve in the 41st Battalion of the 4th Brigade. He was killed on August 9 near Tskhinvali. The other war hero, Mamuka Shubitidze, worked in the Special Tasks Main Division of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Georgia.

“A special prayer service was held for the souls of the two deceased servicemen by Bishop Davit Londaridze,” the statement concludes. (Interpressnews)

Nikozi cleared of mines

Initial mine clearance works conducted as part of the Norwegian People`s Aid programme have finished in the Georgian village of Nikozi in breakaway South Ossetia. The cleared land has been handed over to the municipality of Nikozi.

The mine clearance works began on March 2 and finished on March 13. An area of ten thousand square metres was swept both on the surface and to a depth of three metres. The quality of the mine clearance works has been approved by the Coordination Centre for Explosive Remnants of War of the Information Management and Mine Action Programme.

Although this first stage of the mine clearance works has finished, four others will be implemented in the outskirts of Nikozi and the villages of Zemo Khviti and Kvemo Khviti. (Rustavi 2)

Appathurai responds to Germany`s former Chancellor

NATO spokesman James Appathurai has said that the position of the Alliance on the integration of Georgia and that Ukraine is unchanged. This was his response to the statement by Germany`s former Chancellor Gerhard Schroder of a few days before. Schroder had said that NATO-Russia relations would be improved if Georgia and Ukraine refused to join the Alliance.

“The Alliance will never share a position like this with any country. The decision made at the Bucharest summit is in force and Germany`s current Chancellor has already supported it,” Appathurai said. (Rustavi 2)