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The News in Brief

Friday, April 18
Russia issued 25,000 visas for Georgian citizens last year

Consultations will be held between Russia and Georgia on restoring regular flights, as Russia’s Foreign Department informs about the meeting between the Deputy Russian Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin and Georgian Prime Minister’s special representative for relations with Russia Zurab Abashidze.

“The possibility to resume regular flights has been discussed. An agreement has been reached to hold the next round of bilateral consultations in the near future between the leadership. Restoration of contacts between the customs services was positively assessed, also the relations between trade-industrial chambers. In the humanitarian part, increase of cultural, sport, scientific, religious and other types of activities was highlighted. It was assisted by the increase in the number of issued visas for Georgian citizens. About 25,000 visas were issued in 2013. Opinions have been exchanged about the perspectives of bilateral projects in the fields of transportation and energy”, the statement says.

Russia’s Foreign Ministry has stated that the next Abashidze-Karasin meeting is scheduled to be held in July. (InterPressNews)

One Georgian released by Abkhazian so called law enforcers

De facto Abkhazian law enforcers released one Georgian yesterday. Tariel Beria, resident of village Khurcha, was detained on 8 April near village Khurcha. He was accused of illegally crossing the border.

The family members say that his relatives collected money to pay the fine. After paying 10,000 Russian rubles, Tariel Beria came home this morning. (InterPressNews)

EPG starts new employment project

JSC ENERGO-PRO Georgia (EPG) is starting a new employment project. On April 17 a memorandum of cooperation was concluded among JSC ENERGO-PRO Georgia, Ministry of Education and Science, Education Quality Increase National Centre and up to 15 professional educational facilities which plan to implement the program.

According to the company’s decision and pursuant to the memorandum all the students who will have satisfied the competition requirements and be enrolled in professional study facilities for the specializations of electrician, welder or other related fields, will receive stipends of 150-200 GEL from the company during the study period. At the final stage of their education, students will be given the opportunity to undertake 1-3 months internship at the company with future employment perspectives.

Competition requirements are as follows: the candidate must be no more than 35 years old, citizen of Georgia, possess secondary education at least and speak English or Russian at the beginner level at least.

Orphanages will also enroll in the mentioned project along with EPG. The human resources department of the company is planning to meet with the managers of various orphanages. The goal of the meeting will be to create the opportunity and give motivation to foster children of the orphanages to start an independent life and to take exams at professional facilities. The company will pay the students the stipend and provide an opportunity for their future employment. (InterPressNews)

Prisoners to receive Easter pardon in Georgia

The pardon commission under the Georgian president gave positive recommendations for about 100 prisoners after considering the cases of about 500 prisoners. Chairman of the commission Aleko Elisashvili said on April 16 that this is the first act of pardon as part of the new provision about the commission.

A list of candidates for pardon was sent to President Giorgi Margvelashvili for signing. The prisoners are to be released on April 20 when Christians celebrate Easter. (Trend)

Confusion over Georgian justice moratorium

In Georgia, the United National Movement (UNM) is crying foul over the trial against one of their top people, suspended Tbilisi Mayor Gigi Ugulava.

The reason is that the prime minister recently announced a ‘moratorium’ on prosecuting any member of the UNM until after the local elections held on June 15. The decision has now led to a quarrel, stemming from a lack of clarity about what this highly unusual decision actually means.

Ugulava is to stand trial for the embezzlement of 48.2 million lari (USD 30 million) ahead of the parliamentary election in 2012. If convicted he may be jailed from seven to eleven years.

The former mayor has been accused alongside Giorgi Sabanadze, who is the head of the Tbilisi Development Fund, which is owned by the City of Tbilisi and carries out various renovation work of parks and other city assets. Prosecutors claim the embezzled money was instead spent on the National Movement’s election campaign.

The announcement is surprising, as in it, he stated that Georgian law enforcement is violating the democratic rights to engage in politics when prosecuting former officials, a view the ruling Georgian Dream coalition has always distanced itself from until now. Their speaker of parliament said less than two months ago that police and prosecutors can’t take a vacation just because there is an election coming up.

Ugulava is disputing the charges and refuses to accept his suspension as mayor until the case has been settled. On Monday, he also demanded that the whole case to be postponed until after the local election on June 15, citing the moratorium. (Democracy & Freedom Watch)