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The News in Brief

Friday, May 24
U.S. Statement on Arrest and Detention of Former Senior Georgian Officials

The United States Government is closely following the cases of arrest and detention of former senior Georgian officials, including former Prime Minister Merabishvili. We have stressed to the Georgian government the importance we attach to ensuring that such investigations and prosecutions are conducted with full respect for due process and the rule of law – including the presumption of innocence -- and avoiding the perception or reality of political retribution. This is particularly true with respect to a politically-sensitive case such as the arrest of a former prime minister. We note the open access to pre-trial court hearings, including detention hearings, and to trial proceedings to both Georgian and international observers, and we encourage continued transparency. We believe that pre-trial detention should be imposed in accordance with Georgian law where there is a clear justification, and in accordance with relevant international and European guidelines and commitments.

Vice PM says May 26th will be a public event

Independence Day on May 26th will be a public festival which will be celebrated equally by the government, army and ordinary residents of Georgia, Vice Prime Minister and Minister for Education and Science, Giorgi Margvelashvili said before the cabinet session on May 23rd.

Stressing that the main framework of the event has not been changed, the Vice PM said it is common knowledge that the traditional parade will not be held on Independence Day as it used to be in previous years. (IPN)

Georgian MPs familiarize themselves with the Polish experience

Georgian MPs familiarized themselves with the experience of Poland when dealing with reforms in the local self-government system. Deputy Parliamentary Chairman, Zviad Dzidziguri and Chairman of Legal Issues Committee, Vakhtang Khmaladze, met with the representatives of the Senate of self-governance of Poland and the state governance committee at the Holiday Inn.

Dzidziguri said before the meeting that serious reforms were being planned in terms of self-governance in the country and added that Poland has come a long way in this regard and this is why it is interesting to look at their experience.

The Polish MPs also met with the Chairman of the Parliamentary Regional Policy and Self-Governance Committee, Erekle Tripolski, Chairman of the Group of Friendship with Polish Parliament, Giorgi Volski and the parliamentary minority. Meetings are still underway. (IPN)

Minister of Defence meets his Latvian counterpart

The delegation of Georgia’s Ministry for Defence is paying an official visit to the Baltic countries. On May 23rd Georgia’s Minister of Defence, Irakli Alasania met his Latvian counterpart, Artis Pabriks.

An official welcoming ceremony was held at the Defence Ministry in Latvia. At the meeting, Defence Ministers discussed the issues of Georgian-Latvian military cooperation. Irakli Alasania thanked the Latvian side for their support for Georgia’s Euro-Atlantic aspirations. He also outlined the significance of Latvian colleagues’ engagement in the EUMM. Georgia’s Minister for Defence briefed Artis Pabriks on the current Georgian defence reforms. The Ministers focused their attention on the regional security environment, Georgia’s NATO integration perspectives, participation in the ISAF mission and post-ISAF period, as well as on the Georgia-Russian relationship. The sides discussed bilateral cooperation plans between Georgia and Latvia.

Mr. Alasania, along with the Chairman of National Security Committee of the Saeima of the Latvian Republic, Valdis Zatlers took part in public discussions in the EU House. The topics of discussion referred to Georgia’s security and defence policy, NATO integration process and international relations with the Russian Federation. (IPN)

EU Helps Small Farmers with Agricultural Support in Adjara

Small farmers in Georgia’s Autonomous Republic of Adjara will benefit from a ˆ3.3 million programme jointly funded by the EU and Adjara’s Government. The three-year initiative is part of the European Neighbourhood Programme for Agriculture and Rural Development (ENPARD).

A press release from the EU Delegation to Georgia said the programme would aim “to increase the efficiency of farming, to establish and strengthen small farmers which may become the backbone of the agriculture sector, and to enhance institutional development of the Adjara Ministry for Agriculture.”

The new programme will be implemented by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Georgia and will work closely with the Government of Adjara and the Adjara Agroservice Centre.

ENPARD helps to boost inclusive growth and stability in the EU’s Neighbourhood, and to promote agriculture as a foundation for food security, sustainable production and rural employment. ENPARD was introduced in Georgia in 2013 with a ˆ40 million programme, which aims to increase food production and to reduce rural poverty. (CENN)

The Agency of Protected Area has a new man at the top

From May 18th, the Agency of Protected Area has a new person in charge. Before moving to the new position, Rati Japaridze worked at the World Bank’s Program “Improving Forest Law Enforcement and Governance in the European Neighbourhood Policy East Countries and Russia.” He was engaged in various environment protection activities and held leading positions in local and international organizations during his career. (The Messenger)

SOCAR - one of Georgian best business companies

The "Georgian Times" Media Holding and the Association of Public Opinion and Marketing Research (GORBI) named the top 25 companies in the business sector for the year.

The Azerbaijani State Oil Company (SOCAR) was among the best companies.

The Media Holding president, Malkhaz Gulashvili and GORBI director Merab Pachulia said at the press conference on Wednesday, that some 50 companies were initially chosen. The professional jury chose only 25. The ratings included companies which added anything from one million lari to the country's budget.

The Ministry of Finance, the International Chamber of Commerce, Business Association of Georgia, the American Chamber of Commerce and the Georgian Chamber of Commerce are partners of the event. The traditional awards ceremony will be held on May 30th . (Trend)