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The News in Brief

Monday, September 16
Commissioner Says EU Ready to Speed-Up Signing of AA with Georgia, Moldova

European Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy, Stefan Fule, said that the European Commission is ready to do its “utmost” in order to sign Association Agreements with Georgia and Moldova “as soon as possible” after the treaties are initialed at the Vilnius summit in November.

“If we are able to initial those important Association Agreements with Moldova and Georgia at the Vilnius summit, the [European] Commission made it very clear that they will do their utmost in the way of legal preparation and translation of those documents so they can be signed before the end of the term of the duty of this Commission,” Fule said in an interview with RFE/RL Armenian service.

“This is important because – whether I like it or not, that’s not a question – unfortunately within the European Union the time to prepare this kind of document for signing takes much more time than one would wish. But in the case of those two countries [Georgia and Moldova], we are ready to do our utmost, to make this happen as soon as possible,” said Fule, who participated in the Informal Eastern Partnership Dialogue in Yerevan on September 13.

Parliament to stop working in October

Parliament will stop working in October. The decision was made after the consultations between, Davit Usupashvili, the Chairman of the Parliament and the members of the majority. As a majority member, Zviad Kvatchantiradze states, in the presidential election campaign period, Georgia’s constitution entitles Parliament the right of ceasing sessions for a month.

“In order to use this right in October, we will have to perform a great deal of work in September,” stated Kvachantiradze. The legislative body plans to consider the issues of narrowing the PM’s scope of authority and the necessity of amending the constitution. Other bills will be discussed after the Parliament sessions resume.

Three Wounded in Batumi Shooting

Three people, a local passer-by, a policeman and a Russian citizen, were wounded in a shootout in Georgia’s Black Sea town of Batumi late on Friday night.

The Georgian Interior Ministry said in a statement on Saturday evening that the Russian citizen, identified by the police as Yusuf Lakayev, opened fire after policemen approached him and his two companions, both Georgian citizens, to check his identification documents. The Interior Ministry said that after he opened fire, Lakayev wounded one of the police officers and a passer-by. It said that Lakayev was wounded after the police opened fire in response. The injuries are not life-threatening, according to the police. The Interior Ministry also said that Lakayev entered Georgia “illegally”.

Two Georgian citizens, who were accompanying the Russian citizen, were identified as Piruz Tsulukidze and Temur Bakhuntaradze.

Tsulukidze is a member of Georgia’s Greco-Roman wrestling junior team and Temur Bakhuntaridze is his coach.

The Interior Ministry said that according to information available to its anti-terrorism center, Tsulukidze and Bakhuntaradze, who were arrested, were intending to provide assistance to Lakayev to “illegally” enter Turkey from Georgia.

Georgia, Switzerland sign agreement on facilitation of visa procedures

Georgia and Switzerland have signed an agreement on the facilitation of visa procedures. The agreement was signed by Minister of Foreign Affairs of Georgia, Maia Pandjikidze and Swiss Foreign Minister, Didier Burkhalter, the Georgian MFA told Trend.

The Georgian side is working on several more agreements, Pandjikidze noted.

"It was the first official visit to Switzerland after the embassy was opened here. Moreover, it is very important that we have signed an agreement on visa facilitation. There are still some agreements we are working on that we surely have to complete," Panjikidze said.

Prime Minister comments on scandal of expensive helicopters

Prime Minister of Georgia Bidzina Ivanishvili says the government of Georgia cannot afford to take care of two expensive helicopters purchased by the previous government, but neither can it sell them off, because no buyer has emerged.

“The state budget cannot afford having such luxuries and the ministries of interior and defense can use old helicopters after repair, which will take a few million and not 60 or 80 million, which is the price of the two helicopters,” Bidzina Ivanishvili said.

According to the Prime Minister, a country with such a poor population, cannot afford such precious transport means.

“We did not want to bring these helicopters from France, but we did so because the aftercare took millions and we could not afford it. Even today we are trying to sell them, but unfortunately, no buyer has emerged,” Bidzina Ivanishvili said.
(Rustavi 2)

Labor inspectorate to be established in Georgia

The Georgian government is working on a bill on the establishment of a Labor Inspectorate.

The Public Defender's Office voiced its initiative to create the Labor Inspectorate to monitor labor relations. According to Deputy Ombudsman Paata Beltadze, after the Public Defender's Office appealed to the government with the recommendations, it was reported that the Ministry of Health began working on a bill. One of the articles of the legislative package envisages the establishment of Labor Inspectorate, he said.

The lost tourists found in Mtatusheti Mountains

The Ministry of Internal Affairs of Georgia carried out a successful search and rescue mission to locate tourists lost days ago in the Mtatusheti Mountains. Hungarian citizen Bianka Timzsuk and Bulgaian citizen Stefan Boiadjiev had gotten lost during their hike from Khevsureti to Mtatusheti and asked a shepherd they had encountered by chance for help. The shepherd contacted law enforcement agencies while the Hungarian and Bulgarian embassies in Georgia notified the Interior Ministry’s Tbilisi Main Section about the developments. After days of search the tourists were found on Tsitlovana Hill in Mtatusheti. They were offered first aid and taken to Akhmeta. The health condition of the missing individuals has been assessed as “acceptable”. The tourists were visited by representatives of the Bulgarian and Hungarian embassies at the Interior Ministry Akhmeta District Section.
(Georgian News)