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The News in Brief

Wednesday, August 14
Georgia, U.S. hold naval exercises in Batumi

Joint Georgian-U.S. naval exercises began in the waters of Batumi port on Tuesday morning.

The U.S. naval destroyer Bulkeley and two Georgian coast guard boats are participating in the exercises. During the training, the sides worked out a system of ensuring the population's safety, as well as detention of encroaching ships. Prior to the action at sea, the U.S. Navy conducted tactical and theoretical training for their Georgian colleagues. During the visit, the crew of the U.S. ship and officers of Georgia's Coast Guard held a meeting to plan for the exercises.

The U.S. destroyer Bulkeley arrived in the port of Batumi on an official four-day visit on August 10. (Trend)

Georgian parliamentary delegation meets with US representatives in OSCE PA

A meeting of Georgia's parliamentary delegation with U.S. Senator Roger Wicker, the Vice President of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly, Robert Aderholt and Congressman Christopher Smith was held in Istanbul.

The meeting was attended by the Speaker of Georgian Parliament David Usupashvili, Deputy Speaker Zurab Abashidze, Chairman of the Committee on European Integration Viktor Dolidze and Member of Georgian Parliament and Vice-President of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly Gigi Tsereteli. During the meeting, the Speaker of the Georgian Parliament briefly familiarized the U.S. delegation with the ongoing political processes and reforms in Georgia.

He underscored the need to restore the OSCE observation mission in Georgian territory, and also touched upon Russia's actions in the recent period. The conversation also touched upon the theme of Vilnius summit. Members of the U.S. delegation openly expressed their full support for Georgia, as well as a willingness to support the country's democratic development process.

Usupashvili invited Senator Roger Wicker to make an official visit to Georgia. (Trend)

Tbilisi mayor calls for growth of budget

Mayor of Tbilisi Gigi Ugulava calls on the city assembly to transfer funds to the Tbilisi budget for developing several directions - for buying new busses in the Tbilisi bus park, to improve infrastructure of kindergartens, and to provide water supply systems for the districts recently merged into the borders of the capital. The mayor also aims at funding the installation of gas meters in the buildings where IDPs live and calls for cooperation with the Ministry of IDPs and Accommodation. Ugulava said he is prepared to discuss all these issues with all factions of the assembly. He says 17 million GEL is necessary for implementing these projects. (Rustavi 2)

Ukrainian-Israeli company interested in Georgian market

The Ukrainian-Israeli company the Benish Group is interested in the Georgian market.

Georgian Deputy Minister of Finance, David Lejava, met with the representatives of the company. According to the Georgian Ministry of Finance, the holding has been successfully operating in the high-technology market and has representative offices in several countries.

The company wants to find partners in the Georgian market in both the public and private sectors. Lejava familiarized the guests with the investment environment in Georgia, the current tax law, and expressed confidence that the meeting helped the holding's representatives to get more information about the country. (Trend)

Natelashvili starts his election campaign

Leader of the Labour Party of Georgia, Shalva Natelashvili, has kicked-off his election campaign for the president. Natelashvili presented the list of signatures of his supporters and pledged to the voters to justify their hope. (Rustavi 2)

Ivanishvili wedding appearance might have violated campaign rules

Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili might have violated election legislation after he gave a ring to a wedding couple during a visit to a village. International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy (ISFED), which is observing events around the election, claims that the PM might have violated at least the administrative law. He might have even broken the criminal code, but that depends on the cost of the ring, according to the organization.

ISFED explains that if the price of the gift is less than 100 lari (USD 60), it is an administrative violation, as a party or politician is prohibited from giving money, presents or other material goods to a Georgian citizen. However, if the price of the gift was more than 100 lari, it might be a criminal violation. On August 11, local media in the Adjara region reported that Ivanishvili attended the celebration of Shuamtoba 2013 in one of the villages in the southwestern part of the country. Adjara TV reported that the PM gifted a diamond ring to a newlywed couple.

The press office of the Prime Minister explained to DF Watch that the ring was not a present; he was only following a village tradition that the most honorable guest in the wedding puts the wedding ring on the bride instead of the groom. As the PM was attending the wedding, the head of the family selected him as the most honorable guest.

“That’s why this was not a violation and anybody can check this information in this village,” head of the press office Manana Tokmajishvili told DF Watch. (DFWatch)

EBRD compliments Georgia on stabilizing bank sector

The president of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) says Georgia’s bank sector is in “a very good shape.” Sir Suma Chakrabarti, EBRD President, said in an interview with the Georgian edition of Forbes magazine that many countries are still fighting to achieve stability in their bank sectors and maintain it, while Georgia remains one of the best in this regards.

As an example, he pointed to statistics showing that the rate of overdue loans in Georgia is 9.5%, while in southern and Eastern Europe the rate is 20%, which creates problems for the banks. He complimented Georgia for being in a better position, and added that EBRD participated in the stabilization of the local banking sector.

Chakrabarti said the National Bank of Georgia focuses on maintaining the stability of prices in a macroeconomic framework and “this way does a real good job.” (DFWatch)