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The News in Brief

Thursday, December 24
Mikheil Saakashvili – Negotiations between Georgia and Russia possible if Kremlin recognises Georgian State

Negotiations between Georgia and Russia are possible if Russia recognises the Georgian state, Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili has said in an interview with the Ekho Moskvi radio station.

Saakashvili said that Georgia is ready for dialogue with Russia but Russia doesn’t want to communicate with the democratically elected Government of Georgia. He said that this indicates Russia's lack of democratic culture. "We can communicate with Russia if it recognises the Georgian state. However Russia doesn’t want to recognise not only the democratically-elected Government but our country in general," the President said.

Saakashvili added that Russia and Georgia have different understandings. Russia presents Georgia in school and Kremlin textbooks differently, leaving many important elements out. "The Georgian state is older than the Russian one by centuries. We will communicate with you if you say. "Yes, Georgia is a small country, but it is a country and deserves our respect," Mikheil Saakashvili said. (Interpressnews)

U.S. Senator urges U.S., NATO to rearm Georgia

A senior Republican Senator is urging the Obama administration and European allies to consider rearming Georgia, an action which would inevitably upset Russia.

A report by Senator Dan Lugar`s staff, released on Tuesday, warns that Georgia's military vulnerability could lead to further instability in the Caucasus amid continuing tensions between Georgia and Russia. It urges the administration to coordinate a strategy within NATO that strikes a balance between Georgia's security needs and NATO's relationship with Russia. "The Alliance must come to grips with the reality that Georgia will require coordinated security support from America and European nations for some years to come," Lugar writes in a letter accompanying the report.

Lugar's report notes that the destruction of Georgia's radar capability and air defence has left the country vulnerable to further attack and also unable to verify air incursions over its territory. It also warns that Georgia's current insecurity could destabilise the country and lead to greater nationalism. "A continuation of the status quo appears to ensure that Georgia will not only have difficulty providing for its own territorial defence needs but remain susceptible to the internal strife and external manipulation that often accompanies such national insecurity," the report says. (Rustavi 2)

Yuri Luzhkov selects site for Memorial of Glory

The Russian Memorial of Glory in imitation of the one recently destroyed in Kutaisi will be erected on the Poklonnaia Hill in Moscow, its Mayor Yuri Luzhkov has been quoted by RIA Novosti as saying.

"We will select an exact site for the memorial tomorrow. Our main architect and the Ministry of Culture are involved in this project," Luzhkov said, adding that they will ask the original sculptor of the memorial to recreate it.

The Memorial of Glory in Kutaisi was blown up prior to being dismantled on 19 December. Two people died as a result. Merab Berdzenishvili created the original monument. (Interpressnews)

Sergey Bagapsh – Iran ready to enter Abkhazia’s economy

De facto Abkhazian President Sergey Bagapsh alleges that Iran is ready to play a part in Abkhazia’s economic life, Interfax says.

Bagapsh says that Abkhazia has diplomatic relations with the Middle East and Caribbean countries. "We have active contacts with Iran. Representatives of Iran have visited Abkhazia; meetings have also been held in Moscow. Iran is ready to enter the Abkhazian economy," Baghapsh said.

However, he acknowledged that it was too early at this stage to talk about Iran recognising Abkhazia as independent. (Interpressnews)

Lawyer arrested for fraud

The General Inspection of the Justice Ministry of Georgia has arrested lawyer Kartlos Vashakidze in suspicion of fraud. He will face the charges in accordance with the second paragraph of Article 180 of the Criminal Code of Georgia.

An investigation has learned that Kartlos Vashakidze offered a deal to the family of defendant Ivane Matiashvili, in which he would give money to a senior prosecutor in order to get the charges against Matiashvili changed. The lawyer may face from four to seven years in jail if found guilty. (Rustavi 2)

Father wounds son

A father has wounded his son after a dispute. The incident occurred on Tsitsamuri Street, Tbilisi, late on Tuesday night. Mikheil Bendukidze, 22, was hospitalised immediately with wounds in his chest but doctors say he is in a stable condition.

His father Nugzar Bendukidze was detained by the police and taken to the Ortachala police department for interrogation. Neighbours say the father and the son had often argued before. (Rustavi 2)