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The News in Brief

Tuesday, March 15
Georgian soldier dies in Afghanistan

Georgian Ministry of Defence extends its condolences over the death of Corporal Valeri Verskiani, who was seriously wounded on March 5 as a result of a mine explosion in Helmand province where he was serving in the peacekeeping mission in Afghanistan. He had been receiving special treatment (in the throat area) in a German military hospital. In the Georgian armed forces since 2007, the corporal was serving in the 32nd battalion within the NATO-led ISAF security operation.

Meanwhile commander of the light infantry company of the 32nd battalion, Captain Aluda Seturidze and Corporal Revaz Gorgazde, who were also wounded during the peacekeeping operations in Afghanistan and are also being treated in the German military hospital are in a satisfactory condition.
(Rustavi 2)

President meets Georgian diaspora in New York

Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili met with members of the Georgian diaspora in New York, where he was welcomed with the national anthem. During the meeting, the President spoke about the economic and political development of the country as well as the role of the Georgian Diaspora. He said the door was always open for Georgian migrants to return home.

Saakashvili said the country was gaining a new image as a democratic country, hailing how the Diaspora understood the reality of the situation in Georgia.

“Georgia is a democratic Singapore in the region; this is a country, which as a result of the government programme of modernisation should turn into a country with the largest economic growth in Europe by 2015. With the current reforms, this is really feasible,” Saakashvili said.

President said that despite the propaganda machine, which has openly opposed Georgia, the country succeeded in becoming an example of order in the region – its reform model being exemplary for others.

The President also touched on the issue migration, saying the number of migrants has reduced in comparison with the number of Georgians returning to their homeland.
(Rustavi 2)

Georgia – Israel relations are fine

According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, there are no grounds for the deterioration of relations with Israel due to the detention of Israeli citizens. “This is a clear criminal issue and will be decided accordingly – as a criminal case and it will not be mixed with the political relations between two countries. At this stage we are not facing any threat regarding our relations with the Israeli government. We have a very good relationship with Israel and I am sure this will continue,” stated the Deputy Foreign Minister, Nino Kalandzdze.

Regarding the failed visit of Parliamentary Chairperson, Davit Bakradze to Israel she said the visit has simply been postponed due to the heavy schedule of the Israeli government. New elections have been set, along with a new round of negotiations with the Palestinians.

Georgian Delegation to visit European Parliament

A Georgian parliamentary delegation will take part in a session of the European Parliament in Brussels on March 15-16.

Before his departure for Brussels, MP Gia Tortladze said on the Rustavi-2 television station the main topics for the discussions will be Georgia’s occupied territories and the simplification of visa regime with the EU.

“This session will discuss the recommendations of the European Parliament regarding the reforms in Georgia, as well as issues concerning the occupied territories and refugees,” said Tortladze.

According to the MP, a draft resolution of the European Parliament, the first part of which refers to the problem of occupation and the issue of de-occupation of Georgia, and the second - to a package of documents on Georgia-EU relations, the main one being the agreement on simplifying the visa regime, will be discussed in Brussels.

Georgian detained for entering Turkey illegally

A Georgian citizen, Levan Mgaloblishvili has been detained at Sarpi by Border Police of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Georgia for attempting to cross the Georgian-Turkish border illegally, reports the Border Police press service.

The investigation is being carried out according to articles 19 and 344 of the Criminal Code of Georgia.

Georgian sailors waiting for documents to leave Malta

Georgian sailors are waiting for the necessary documents to leave the Malta port, which they entered after fleeing Libya following 18 months’ captivity. The lack of appropriate documents hinders their departure, however, the Georgian Marine Transport Administration says they are working on the problem and the sailors will probably return to Georgia by the end of the month.

The crew of the Georgian ship Vasilius N, escaped from Libya a week ago following the start of the political crisis. They used the stars to navigate their way to Malta and it is reported they are in a satisfactory state of health.
(Rustavi 2)