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The News in Brief

Thursday, March 27
No one is above the law, says NATO regional envoy

A NATO special envoy believes transparency in an investigation against Georgia’s ex-President will prevent the country from "revenge policy” perceptions.

James Appathurai, NATO Secretary General’s special representative for Caucasus and Central Asia, said everyone who committed a crime should be judged and the process needed to be transparent, in an interview with the Georgian Public Broadcaster.

"We need to make sure the system is based on the law and the law works,” Appathurai said, adding no one in his country, even high officials, stood beyond the law.

The NATO representative discussed Georgia’s North-Atlantic perspectives too. Appathurai said the country’s latest progress was "obvious” and now NATO was challenged with ways to "move Georgia closer to NATO”.

He claimed he was sure there would be a positive step made in September but he did not know whether this would be a Membership Action Plan (MAP) or not.

"Whatever it will be, I hope Georgia will be satisfied with it,” Appathurai stated.

He had three messages to deliver to the country. Firstly, Georgia could be sure in NATO’s support; secondly, Georgia had been very successful in recent years and NATO wanted this success to continue; and finally, the integration issue needed to be followed step-by-step and the expectations needed not to be too high.

Appathurai said NATO has not yet discussed Georgia’s possible MAP at the highest level so he could not say anything for certain regarding this issue. (Agenda.Ge)

Georgia might accelerate signing the Association Agreement with EU

Georgia might sign the Association Agreement (AA) with the European Union (EU) earlier that June.

State Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration Alexi Petriashvili commented about this possibility at the first meeting of the 16th session of the Parliamentary Cooperation Committee between Georgia and the EU.

If signing of the AA was accelerated earlier than June, Georgia needed support from the EU following the tense situation in the wider region, Petriashvili said.

"We are pleased that the AA will be signed no later than June. I do not exclude further speeding up of this process. The Georgian Government has been implementing reforms aimed the end of dialogue of visa liberalization” Petriashvili said.

The state Minister indicated questioning of Georgia’s former President Mikheil Saakashvili will not influence the process of signing the AA. (Agenda.Ge)

EU Ambassador: “We will help Georgia move forward”

The European Union’s Ambassador to Georgia has advised the country not to get concerned over its partners giving recommendations surrounding the country’s ex-President’s summons to the Chief Prosecutor’s Office.

"When concerns are raised by your friends, it is not very helpful and they should be taken away,” Philip Dimitrov said.

Dimitrov claimed the EU was trying to help Georgia in signing the Association Agreement.

"However this signing is not the end, [but] the beginning. We will help Georgia to move forward. This is because we believe that the Georgian people deserve it,” Dimitrov said. (Agenda.Ge)

Ukraine crisis turned everything upside down, says Georgian official

The crisis in Ukraine was completely unexpected and the work of international organizations will be questioned if they do not act appropriately and effectively, says Georgia’s Special Representative for Relations with Russia Zurab Abashidze.

Abashidze participated in a meeting with members of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly at the Courtyard Marriot Hotel.

"The scale of developments in Ukraine was unexpected for many people, including our Western partners. That is why, when you ask me about sanctions, the negotiations and consultations about this topic are being held now,” he said.

"The G7 [formerly G8 as Russia has been suspended from the forum] gathered yesterday in The Hague, so the West is not clear yet about what sanctions they will impose against Russia,” Abashidze said.

He then noted the full picture of the plan would soon be announced and said it was correct not to take hasty and rushed steps.

"The developments in Ukraine turned everything upside down. International law [and] European security has been shaken so much. The question now arises on how the recovery will happen. This is the biggest and most serious question. Many international organizations’ work will be brought to question if they do not act effectively,” Abashidze added.

Abashidze said that there had been "absolutely no conversations” between him and Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Gregory Karasin about starting legal proceeding against the Georgian ex-president Mikheil Saakashvili.

"We have practical, specific topics of discussion and these are mainly focused on trade and economic problems, transportation connections and humanitarian themes. Our conversations concerned these topics before and if the meetings continue, we will continue to discuss these issues,” he said.

Abashidze explained the date of the next meeting between himself and Karasin has not yet been decided. (Agenda.Ge)

Usupashvili: US offered “friendly advice” in Saakashvili questioning

Chairman of Georgian Parliament Davit Usupashvili says the US was offering "friendly advice” when commenting on Georgia’s summoning of former President Mikheil Saakashvili.

The US State Department’s statement was "very clear and accurate”, Usupashvili told Georgian media.

He noted that the statement came from a "well-wisher” country, who is a strategic partner for Georgia.

The United States expressed concern over the demand of Georgia’s Chief Prosecutor’s Office to question Saakashvili in regards to several cases.

The US said this demand "raises legitimate concerns about political retribution, particularly when legal and judicial institutions are still fragile”. (Agneda.Ge)