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The News in Brief

Thursday, April 10
Danish Foreign Minister visits Georgia

Politics, economic trade and regional security were on the agenda of a dual country meeting between Georgia and Denmark.

Danish politician Martin Lidegaard, who took up the role of Denmark’s Foreign Minister in February this year, is in Georgia to meet his Georgian colleagues.

At his first meeting with Minister of Foreign Affairs Maia Panjikidze, the sides discussed the current political situation in Georgia and the prospects of further development of bilateral and multilateral cooperation between Georgia and Denmark.

At the meeting, Lidegaard reaffirmed Denmark’s support for Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and he expressed support to Georgia’s European and Atlantic integration.

"The reason of my visit to Georgia is to emphasize and express our support, especially in light of the European Union Association Agreement (AA), which will be signed in a few months. It will be very good for Georgia as well as for the EU. We will do our best to have the AA be signed and completed,” Lidegaard said.

At his meeting with Prime Minister Garibashvili, the Georgian leader expressed hope for further cooperation with Denmark. He particularly noted the importance of Danish assistance in the protection of Human Rights, in the issue of internally displaced persons (IDPs) and support of media freedom and economic development.

Later at the afternoon, Danish Foreign Minister met with President Giorgi Margevlashvili and travelled to the Tserovani IDP settlement near Tbilisi as well. (Agenda.Ge)

US State Department representative: We believe in Georgia’s potential

A high profile US State Department official believes Georgia has made great gains in the past decade.

Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs Douglas Frantz began his 10-day global tour in Georgia and said the country had changed immensely since he last visited about 10 years ago.

Assistant Secretary arrived in Georgia to discuss the issues of media freedom and government transparency with the community.

He held meetings with local journalists and journalism students, and visited US Government-sponsored programs that support press freedom.

While speaking to journalism students at the GIPA Caucasus School of Journalism and Media Management, Frantz said the US would continue to support Georgia.

"Because we believe in the potential of the people of Georgia to build a more peaceful and prosperous future,” he said adding he had had several opportunities to visit Georgia as a journalist of New York Times in the beginning of 2000s.

"Eleven years passed since I have last been here and when I arrived last night and while moving inside the city, I really noticeable the amazing transformation that your country has undergone over the last 10 years. Dynamism of the economic growth is really eye-catching,” Frantz told the GIPA students.

Assistant Secretary Frantz’s global tour will see the official travel to Georgia, Kyrgyzstan, South Africa, and Turkey from April 8 to 18. (Agenda.Ge)

Georgian Prime Minister praises country’s independent justice system

Enforcing an independent judicial system is one of the Georgian Government’s main achievements, said the country’s Prime Minister Irakli Gharibashvili to a group of representatives of the Supreme Council of Justice.

Meeting the Supreme Council of Justice members Gharibashvili said the Georgian Government had made no attempt to interfere with the court system, and would not interfere.

“This was my message today and I reiterated with full responsibility that our Government has not exerted and will not exert any pressure on the court. No one will dare to interfere in the court’s activities. Judges today have a unique opportunity to get fully free of any pressure that existed in the past years, the PM said.

The aim of Gharibashvili’s visit to the Supreme Council of Justice was to reinforce the message that the new Government has given the public a free and fair judicial system.

“One of the messages that I had was that the main achievement of our Government was laying the foundation for an independent judiciary. We have the ambition to build a fair state, a fair society and it cannot be achieved without independent judiciary,” Gharibashvili said.

The sides discussed issue related to the legal and judicial reforms in the Georgian court.

Gharibashvili said the Government fulfilled its promise of increasing judges’ wages by 70-80 percent, which had a positive effect. Until now, judges’ salaries had not increased for the past five years, which Gharibashvili said this reiterated the previous government's "vicious attitude toward the judiciary”.

He ended his discussion with the Supreme Court members by repeating that the Georgian justice system "should be as free as never before”. (Agenda.Ge)

Slovakia strengthens support for Georgia

Slovakia is the latest country to express its support to Georgia’s goal of integrating with the European Union (EU) and NATO.

Slovakia’s Vice Premier and Minister of Foreign and European Affairs Miroslav Lajcak voiced Slovakia’s support to Georgia during a meeting with Georgia’s Foreign Minister Maia Panjikidze today, which was followed by a joint press conference.

"I currently have the honor to open the Slovak Embassy in Tbilisi, which is an important step. Embassies are not being opened so frequently during the economic crisis. We decided to take this step because we believe in Georgia’s development as well as mutual cooperation and potential,” Lajcak said.

"We strongly support Georgia’s orientation towards the EU and NATO and appreciate the efforts and results that your country has achieved.”

Lajcak said Slovakia would support Georgia in its efforts to become more aligned with the West.

"While preparing for the NATO Summit, I would like to express my belief that the Allies will find a way to somehow confirm all the effort and commitment Georgia has implemented in the field of security. Slovakia will be one of those countries who will advocate recognition of that,” Lajcak said.

Georgia’s Foreign Minister noted Slovakia was an important partner and supporter of Georgia.

"I am confident that by the consistent politics of Georgia and with the support of our European friends, we will be able to implement our foreign priorities and objectives in the shortest time,” she announced. (Agenda.Ge)

Georgia appoints ambassadors to India, Slovenia, Kuwait

Georgia has appointed new ambassadors to India, Slovenia, Vatican and Kuwait.

From May 1, Georgia’s ambassador to Slovenia will be Zurab Bekaia, Tamar Grdzelidze will be ambassador to Vatican from June 1, 2014, Roland Beridze will be ambassador of Kuwait from June 2, 2014 and Levan Nizharadze, became ambassador to India from April 3, 2014, according to a decree by President Giorgi Margvelashvili.

Bekaia has prior diplomatic experience in Cyprus representing Georgia, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He has also worked at different posts in the Foreign Ministry.

Grdzelidze worked at the World Council of Churches in Geneva from 2001 to 2014.

Beridze has been Georgian consul in the US, Canada and Mexico and worked in different positions at the Foreign Ministry. (Democracy & Freedom Watch)