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The News in Brief

Monday, June 7
Georgian delegation leaves for Geneva

The Georgian delegation left for Geneva yesterday to attend the next round of negotiations on 8 June. Representatives of the legal Abkhazian Government, the Provisional Administration of South Ossetia and the Ministries of Foreign and Internal Affairs will take part in the negotiations.

Deputy Foreign Minister Giga Bokeria told journalists before departure that the sides will discuss new security mechanisms. He said that the Georgian side will raise the issue of human rights violations by the Russian occupiers in the conflict zones and demand a response to them.

"The most acute issue is the illegal detainment of our citizens by the occupation regime and the fact that, despite our goodwill, continual terror is still being inflicted on citizens of Georgia living in the conflict zones, especially in the Gali region," Bokeria stated.

Drug dealers arrested

The Ministry of Internal Affairs of Georgia has detained five international drug dealers as a result of special operations held in Kutaisi and Tbilisi on June 2.

According to the MIA one of the detainees, who is a citizen of Greece and lives in Spain, regularly sent cocaine from Panama, Peru and Colombia to Georgia. Georgian law enforcers have impounded Euro 1,700,000 hidden in a Tskaltubo citizens’ greenhouse.

Georgian law enforcers have already left for Spain to establish closer contact and deepen cooperation with Spanish law enforcers in the fight against organised crime. Criminal Shakro Kalashov’s case will also be discussed with Spanish law enforcers.

Russian Vice-Premier explains reasons for recognition of Abkhazia, S. Ossetia

Russia recognised the independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia (Georgia's Russian-occupied regions) in order to prevent future conflicts, Russian Vice-Premier Sergey Ivanov has said in a speech at the International Security Conference in Singapore. He said that this recognition is a guarantee that aggression will not take place again.

Ivanov also said that the Russian peacekeepers have been doing their best over the last 15 years to promote peace and stability in Abkhazia and South Ossetia; and in 2008 Russia was constrained to take proper measures to defend the local population.

The Russian Vice-Premier suggested that the international community reinforce the UN's peacekeeping capabilities and the Military Committee of the Security Council to help regulate conflicts.
(Rustavi 2)

Baramidze in Germany

Deputy Prime Minister and State Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration Giorgi Baramidze will pay a working visit to Germany. Baramidze, who recently accompanied President Mikheil Saakashvili to Romania, has already left for Germany.

Bilateral meetings are planned during the visit. On June 4 a meeting with the Deputy Foreign Minister of Germany is scheduled. On the same day Baramidze will participate in the 27th International Seminar on Global Security.

Baramdze's office says that the current democratic reforms in Georgia, the prospects of Georgia’s integration with NATO and the EU, the Russian-Georgian conflict, violations of human rights on the occupied territories and the international community’s active support and role in conflict regulation will be discussed at his meetings.

US nonimmigrant visa fee increased

The US Embassy in Georgia says that the Department of State implemented a worldwide increase in the nonimmigrant visa application processing fee on Friday, June 4, 2010. This fee increase was based on an independent study of consular operation costs conducted in June 2009, which determined the actual cost of accepting, adjudicating and issuing nonimmigrant visas in 2010.

Under the new, tiered fee structure there are separate fees for different visa categories. The vast majority of visa applicants in Georgia, that is, those who apply for business/visitor visas and students and exchange visitor visas, will see an increase from the current $131 to $140. Other nonimmigrant visas will have varied fee revisions.

All applicants with interviews scheduled on or after June 4, 2010 must pay the GEL equivalent of 140 USD at TBC Bank prior to their interview. If you have an appointment scheduled on or after June 4, and paid your visa fee at TBC Bank before June 4, you will be able to pay the difference at the Consular cashier at the U.S. Embassy.

The new fee schedule is as follows: Non-petition-based nonimmigrant visa: (B, C, D, F, I, J, M) - $140; Petition Based visas (H, L, O, P, Q, R) - $150; Treaty Trader/Investor visas (E) - $390; Finance (e) visas (K) - $350.