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The News in Brief

Wednesday, October 23
Anders Fogh Rasmussen - Georgia will not join NATO in 2014

Georgia will not become a NATO member in 2014. The Russian news Agency Ria Novosti informs that NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen told Russian journalists that the new Georgian government has confirmed its aspiration to join NATO, but it will not happen next year. “We will cooperate in the framework of the Georgia-NATO council,” Rasmussen said before a Russia-NATO council session. He declared that at the 2008 Bucharest summit, both Georgia and NATO expressed being in favor of integration into the alliance. (InterPressNews)

Alasania to take part in NATO Defence Ministerial

Georgian Defense Minister Irakli Alasania will take part in the NATO Defense Ministerial. Improving capabilities, progress in Afghanistan and NATO-Russia cooperation will top the agenda of this week’s two-day NATO Defense Ministerial which starts today, the NATO official webpage says.

The first working session will be devoted to capabilities and take stock of the efforts to improve them. The defense ministers will also discuss cyber-defense, NATO’s ballistic missile defense system and review NATO reforms. The ministers will also assess the progress made in the over 20 Smart Defense projects launched at the Chicago Summit last year. A second working session on Tuesday will consider the next step in the alliance’s Connected Forces Initiative, with a focus on NATO training, education, and exercise program after the completion of the ISAF mission in Afghanistan in 2014.

A NATO-Russia Council will focus on the ways to build on the positive practical military and defense cooperation achieved so far. The NATO ministers, with Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoygu, will also discuss pressing international security issues, including Syria. A meeting of defense ministers from NATO and partner countries which contribute to the ISAF mission will wrap-up the ministerial. The Afghan Defense Minister, Bismullah Mohammadi Khan; the European Union’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Catherine Ashton, and the UN Secretary General’s Special Representative, Jan Kubis, are expected to attend. (InterPressNews)

Two former Georgian Interior Ministry senior officials arrested for terrorist attack

The Georgian Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) has detained two former senior officials of the Ministry for organizing a terrorist attack. The ministry solved the case of explosions in the village of Khurcha, near the bridge over the Inguri River, at the administrative border with Abkhazia on the day of the 2008 parliamentary elections, the head of Public Relations Department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Georgia Nino Giorgobiani said at a briefing on Tuesday. Four people were injured as a result of the explosion of two buses near Khurcha.

"By the decision made by the court on charges of organizing a terrorist act, former chief of the Constitutional Security Department of the Interior Ministry of Georgia on Abkhazia, Roman Shamatava, and a former employee of the Department of Special Affairs of the Center for Special Events at Samegrelo - Zemo Svaneti of MIA, Malhaz Murgulia, were arrested," Giorgobiani said. (Trend)

Georgian Labor Party’s presidential candidate presents his platform

On Monday, the leader of the Georgian Labour Party, and presidential candidate, Shalva Natelashvili, presented his election program called Nine Steps to Victory.

Natelashvili said on October 21 at the presentation that if he wins the presidential election, democracy, peace, justice, territorial integrity, state concern for every citizen and family will be secured regardless of ethnic or religious affiliation. An active process of reconciliation with Abkhazia and South Ossetia will also begin.

"The confrontation of superpowers in Georgia will end, the country will turn into an area of cooperation of world's poles, friendly relations with the Russian Federation will be restored, a simplified visa regime will be achieved with the U.S., Russia and the European Union countries for Georgian citizens, the close strategic cooperation with the U.S. and the European Union will continue, and economic, cultural and political integration with the Caucasian people will start," Natelashvili said.

The presidential candidate believes that Georgia's economic and geopolitical situation allows for the implementation of his program. (Trend)

Onischchenko’s term expires

Russian vice Prime Minister says the chief of the Rospotrebnadzor office Genady Onishchenko will soon leave office, as his term is soon going to expire. Olga Golodets says Onishchenko will be replaced by his deputy Anna Popova. Genady Onishchenko denied the reports about his possible resignation calling vice PM a very odd character, who never makes decisions herself. The statement by Golodets was also denied by the press speaker of the Russian Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev.

Onischenko has chaired Russia's consumer inspection office since 2004. He was the initiator of the decision to ban imports from various countries, including the ban on Georgian wines and mineral waters, Moldovan wines, and Belarusian and Lithuanian milk products. (Rustavi 2)

Minister of Education summarizes reforms in education system

Minister of Education and Sciences of Georgia, Tamar Sanikidze, summed-up the ongoing reforms in the system of education that were carried out during the past one year in Georgia. The minister outlines the issues on which the ministry was focused since she assumed the office. She spoke about making text-books for public schools free, making several faculties of state universities free and growth of salaries for school teachers. The minister said the programs of teachers’ professional training would continue and the qualified pedagogues will have their salaries increased accordingly. (Rustavi 2)

Diplomats and ministers bake bread and make Khinkali in Kakheti

The Foreign Ministry organized a cultural tour of the the Shukhmani Wine Factory in the Telavi District in the village of Kisiskhevi for the diplomatic corps. Alongside the ambassadors, Foreign Minister Maia Panjikidze and Agriculture Minister Shalva Pipia took part in the event.

The diplomats visited the ethnic corner in the factory yard and learned about the customs of celebrating Rtveli harvest season. They also tried their hand at making Churchkhela sweets, khinkali dumplings and bread baking. The latter job was managed notably well by the United States' Ambassador Richard Norland, while the Qatar envoy, Mohammed Bin Khamees Nasir Al-Kuwari, did not enjoy the same success, seeing his piece of dough fell into the oven.

The foreign minister also tried baking bread and making khinkali, but she proved more successful in the backgammon tournament, in which she defeated the reporters present at the event. (Georgian News)