The messenger logo

The News in Brief

Wednesday, May 22
Saakashvili Says Pacific island no longer recognizes Abkhazia

Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili says the tiny Pacific island nation of Vanuatu has withdrawn its recognition of Georgia's breakaway region of Abkhazia.

Saakashvili, who held talks with Vanuatu Prime Minister, Moana Carcasses Kalosil, this week on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Water Summit in Thailand, announced on May 20 that Vanuatu authorities had "changed their mind" on Abkhazia.

Moscow was the first to recognize Abkhazia as an independent state after a brief war with Georgia in 2008.

Only a handful of countries have followed suit, including Vanuatu in 2011.

Saakashvili praised Vanuatu's policy reversal as "historic" and said it represented a "very serious defeat on the diplomatic front" for Russia.

Vanuatu never recognized Georgia's other breakaway territory, South Ossetia. (RFE/RL)

Usupashvili signs judicial council bill into law

Parliamentary Chairman, Davit Usupashvili, signed a package of bills that envisages the reform of the High Council of Justice (HCoJ), into law on Monday after the Parliament overturned the presidential veto on May 1.

The amendments were published on the state online registry of legal acts, Sakanonmdeblo Matsne, on Monday and will go into effect from May 21.

Usupashvili, who is the second highest ranking official in the country, became eligible to sign the bills into law after President Saakashvili again refused to do it after his veto was overridden by the Parliament.

HCoJ, the body overseeing judicial system, will have to be composed under the new rules within one month. (Civil.Ge)

Ilia II – We must protect our tradition, but no violence should take place

Catholicos Patriarch of Georgia Ilia II said that “we must protect tradition, but no violence should take place.” The Patriarch commented about May 17 developments in Tbilisi from the historic Constantinople in an interview with Channel 9.

“We must be calm, we must protect our traditions and customs, but at the same time, violence should not take place. Nobody must force ideas on each other. I want to say that this happened when three soldiers were mourned in Georgia and it’s very bad that they didn’t pay attention to this”, Patriarch said. (IPN)

Four arrested for violence on May 17 rally

Four persons have been arrested for hooliganism by the interior ministry - all of which were charged for the violent clashes and resistance to the police that occurred on Kolmeurneoba Square on May 17, when a wave of protestors violently attacked the small crowd of LGBT activists. All four detainees will face administrative fines or 90-day imprisonment. Police have built up several other cases for hooliganism and violence that occurred on the same day. (Rustavi 2)

Georgian Interior Minister visits Azerbaijan

Georgian Interior Minister, Irakli Garibashvili, met Azerbaijani President, Ilham Aliyev, in Baku on May 21 to discuss bilateral cooperation between the two countries, the Georgian interior ministry said.

During the visit to Baku, Garibashvili also plans meetings with his Azerbaijani counterpart, as well as with ministers of national security and emergency situations, according to the Georgian interior ministry. (Civil.Ge)

Two senior officials to take part in Georgia-NATO commission

Prime Minister’s Special Representative in Relations with Russia, Zurab Abashidze, and the Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs of Georgia, Davit Zalkaniani, have left for Brussels, where they will participate in the session of the NATO-Georgia Commission.

The main issue of the meeting will be the preparation of the visit of Atlantic Council to Georgia. The sides will also discuss the Geneva negotiations on the Georgia-Russia conflict and the process of the restoration of relations between the two countries. (Rustavi 2)

Oto Nemsadze wins the voice ring with “Jesus Super Star”

Knockout rounds of the Ukrainian "Voice" competition are underway. The latest round saw Oto Nemsadze and Tufan Cigdem from Svyatoslav Vakarchuk's team face each other, with the former performing "I Don't Want to Miss a Thing" by Aerosmith and Nemsadze responding with "Jesus Christ Superstar". After seeing the contest Vakarchuk chose Nemsadze for proceeding into the next round. (Georgian News TV)

“If I decide to involve in politics, I promise I will not hide”

Businessman Levan Vasaze says that he is not going to get involved in politics. Vasadze told Maestro TV.

"I showed interest regarding this issue after the Rose Resolution and I was told that Mikheil Saakashvili saw a rival in me. I think Saakashvili thought everyone was his competitor. I think the preventive measures were against me by the press controlled by Saakashvili. I’m saying now that I have no political ambitions and the desire or the knowledge, but after a month a foolish newspaper will write that I want to be president. If I decide to get involved in politics, I promise that I will not hide and say that this disaster happened to me,” Levan Vasaze said.

Vasadze talked about Giorgi Margvelashvili, who is a presidential candidate of the "Georgian Dream Coalition”. According to the businessman, Margvelashvili is his close friend and highly intelligent and he has absolutely crystal decency. (Front News)

Employees of Batumi City Hall detained for misappropriation of money

Employees of the City Hall of Batumi Tariel Makhardze, Nodar Mamuladze and Ramaz Devadze have been detained on charges of the misappropriation of huge amount of money and abusing of their power.

According to the Investigative Service of the Finance Ministry of Georgia, representatives of Lindek Ltd.,Georgia Mamuka Nacvlishvili, Malxaz Kokhreidze have also been detained.

The Investigation is in progress under Article 182 part III and Article 342 part I of the Criminal Code of Georgia. (Front News)

Action demanding legalization of marijuana scheduled in Georgian capital

In Georgia, organizers of an action for the decriminalization of marijuana on May 21 adopted an appeal to the Speaker of Parliament, David Usupashvili and Minister of Justice Tea Tsulukiani.

The appeal notes that currently in Georgia work is underway on the updated version of anti-drug legislation at the initiative of the Justice Ministry.

In their appeal, the organizers require their involvement in the working process so that the country develops a draft law that takes into account the interests of all parties.

The action demanding the decriminalization of marijuana will be held in Tbilisi on June 2 at 16:00 on Rustaveli Avenue in front of the old building of the parliament. More than 10,000 people have already expressed their desire to take part in the campaign on social networks. (Trend)