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The News in Brief

Friday, September 27
Rasmussen: Ditsi and Dvani developments are in violation of Russia’s international commitments

NATO demands respect of Georgia’s territorial unity and sovereignty, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen stated commenting about the recent developments at Ditsi and Dvani.

NATO will continue its non-recognition policy of South Ossetia and Abkhazia.

“We have a clear position regarding Georgia – we demand full respect of its territorial integrity and sovereignty. We continue the non recognition policy concerning Abkhazia and so called South Ossetia and call on Russia to meet its international commitments. These steps are against international commitments,” Rasmussen said. (IPN)

Georgia to have highly professional army meeting NATO standards by 2017

Georgian Defense Minister Irakli Alasania held a meeting with military attaches and analysts of the Swedish and Turkish embassies. Swedish Ambassador to Georgia Diana Janse also attended this meeting.

Alasania and his deputy Tamar Karosanidze familiarized the guests with the ongoing reforms in the ministry, the Georgia Defense Ministry told Trend on Thursday.

According to the minister, Georgia will have a highly professional army meeting NATO standards by 2017. He also spoke about the high level of transparency which has been achieved in the Defense Ministry over the last year.

Colonel Vladimir Chachibaya, Deputy Chief of the Georgian Armed Forces Joint Staff, spoke about the reforms in the Joint Staff. Chachibaya stressed that Georgia's military education system is one of the best in the region. He expressed a desire to cooperate with Sweden Defense Ministry in this sphere.

During the meeting, the parties talked about Georgia's transit role after the completion of the ISAF mission.

At the end of the meeting, Alasania thanked Sweden for its political support of Georgia and spoke of intensifying bilateral cooperation between the countries. (Trend)

Georgian Foreign Minister holds several meetings at UN General Assembly session

Georgian Foreign Minister Maia Panjikidze held meetings with the ministers of foreign affairs of Grenada, Fiji, Lebanon, Kiribati, Solomon Islands, Honduras, Iran and Gambia during the 68th session of the UN General Assembly.

Panjikidze and the Foreign Minister of Grenada Nicholas Steele discussed prospects of bilateral economic and cultural relations, the Georgian Foreign Ministry reported on Wednesday.

During the meeting with Fijian Foreign Minister Inoke Kubuabula, the Georgian Foreign Minister stressed the importance of strengthening cooperation with the countries of Oceania.

In addition, during Panjikidze's meeting with Lebanese Foreign Minister Adnan Mansour, the sides expressed satisfaction with the development of relations between the two countries. It was noted that 2013 marks the 20th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Georgia and Lebanon.

During Panjikidze's meeting with Anote Tong, who is the President, Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Kiribati, a memorandum of understanding was signed and the importance of developing bilateral relations between the countries was stressed.

During the meeting with Clay Forau, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and External Trade of the Solomon Islands, the Georgian Foreign Minister expressed her country's readiness to share reform experience in different areas with countries in Oceania.

The Ministers of Foreign Affairs of Georgia and Honduras also signed a memorandum of understanding on bilateral political consultations.

During the meeting with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, the sides discussed the intensification of contacts between the two countries. The Foreign Ministers of Georgia and Iran noted that their countries are interested in maintaining peace and stability in the region. (Trend)

European Commission Vice-President to hold talks with Eastern Partnership FMs

Catherine Ashton, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice-President of the European Commission, will hold an informal meeting with foreign ministers of the Eastern Partnership countries today during the 68th session of the UN General Assembly in New York, Deputy Foreign Minister David Jalagania said on September 26th.

According to Jalagania, relations with the European Union and plans for the future in particular in the context of the Eastern Partnership summit at Vilnius will be discussed during the meeting.

The Eastern Partnership summit will be held in Vilnius in November.

The Eastern Partnership Program is a Polish-Swedish initiative under the EU Neighborhood Policy aimed at improving EU relations with six former Soviet countries Belarus, Ukraine, Moldova, Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan. (Trend)

Rescue workers struggle with flood damage in western Georgia

Vani, a city located in the Imereti region of western Georgia, is struggling with the consequences of floods caused by heavy rains. Local residents' homes have been flooded.

"We do not remember such a flood. Almost all of our supplies for the winter were destroyed. We asked for government help." locals said.

Imereti rescue services received warnings about the flooding in Vani on Wednesday early in the morning. Currently, all employees of the rescue service have been mobilized to help the population. (Trend)

Georgia extends maternity leave

The government in Georgia is extending maternity leave and increasing the amount of paid leave.

On Wednesday, Parliament began a fast-track review of a new bill that will amend the labor code. The amendment is an initiative of the healthcare committee.

With the new changes, maternity leave during pregnancy and child care will be increased from 477 to 730 days.

183 days out of this will be paid leave, instead of 126 days as it is now. In case of complications or delivering twins, 200 days will be paid leave instead of 140.

183 days will be paid with 1 000 lari ($600), while today 126 days are paid with 600 lari ($360). (Democracy and Freedom Watch)

Ugulava responds to Ivanishvili's comments

The Mayor of Tbilisi has responded to Prime Minister Ivanishvili's comments regarding the restoration of Aghmashenebeli Avenue during the past few years. In a statement posted on his official Facebook page, Gigi Ugulava invited Bidzina Ivanishvili to walk with him down Aghmashenebeli Avenue.

"The prime minister said that 'they painted and demolished Plekhanov.' I really do not want to engage in a political dispute about this issue because I believe that what was done was done in the best interests of the residents and guests of Tbilisi. Therefore, I invite Mr. Bidzina to walk along the 'demolished' Plekhanov, Leghvtakhevi and Zemo Kala. I will be your guide and promise to take your advice into consideration." Ugulava posted. (Rustavi 2)

Video cameras being installed in minibuses

Tbilisi Minibus Company has commenced a new stage of installing video cameras in minibuses in the capital. Two hundred cameras are planned to be set up in buses, with seventy already installed. (Georgian News)