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The News in Brief

Monday, June 2
Tough talk from the PM

The Georgian Dream will win the June 15 local elections in every city and every municipality across the country and “will not allow the victory of any other political force in any of the towns or districts,” PM Irakli Garibashvili said on May 31.

Addressing an outdoor campaign rally of his Georgian Dream coalition in the town of Ozurgeti in the Guria region in western Georgia, Garibashvili said that victory of a political party other than GD in any municipality will be “damaging” for the population of that particular district or town.

“We have yet another election to hold and to win,” he told supporters in Ozurgeti. “We have won in the parliamentary elections [in 2012], we have won in the presidential election [in 2013] and now we should definitely win in the local elections together with you.”

He said that upcoming elections are “very important” because for the first time voters in eleven towns will directly elect mayors and direct election of heads (gamgebeli) of 59 municipalities across the country will also be held. He said that GD government was “not afraid” to introduce direct elections and even set threshold for electing mayors and gamgebelis in the first round at 50%.

“I call on you to vote for our candidates, because we need a serious victory in these elections,” Garibashvili said.

“We have no doubt that we will win in these elections, but we should win deservedly and in dignified way,” he said.

“We should not allow victory of other political force in any single municipality of Georgia,” the PM said.

“It will be damaging first and foremost for population of a municipality, which may elect a mayor or gamgebeli from a political force other than [Georgian Dream]. This is a matter of principle my friends.”

“The rule of issuing social assistance is unfair and it will be revised after the local government election”

The rule of issuing social assistance is unfair and it will be revised after the local government election, Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Gharibashvili said on Saturday at the meeting with population in the village of Khidistavi, Chokhatauri region.

“The rule of issuing social assistance is unfair and it will be revised after the local government election. We are gradually resolving problems accumulated over the years. It is unfortunate that there is no gas and electricity in some villages of Georgia in the 21th century. The government creates all conditions to develop business in the country”, Gharibashvili said.

US offers support as Georgia meets UN envoys

Georgia’s Foreign Minister has spoken about her fruitful meeting with the United States (US) Ambassador to the United Nations (UN) in New York.

Yesterday, Minister Maia Panjikidze met US representative to the UN Samantha Power and discussed Georgia’s adoption of the resolution about refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs), which will be presented to the UN next week.

The sides also spoke about the situation in the breakaway regions of Georgia, particularly the US’ support of Georgia’s non-recognition policy and the poor state of human rights.

After the meeting Panjikidze said the US showed great support towards Georgia.

"As you know, Georgia will present a resolution to the UN in one week and the support of the United States is very important.

"We talked about two issues which were of particular interest for Georgia and the UN. Firstly, the non-recognition policy and secondly support of our resolution, and we were promised by the American side to have this support,” Panjikidze said.

Georgia’s Foreign Minister is on a business trip to New York to hold meetings with UN representatives.

Program of OSCE chairperson’s visit to South Caucasus announced

The program of OSCE's chairperson Didier Burkhalter's visit to South Caucasus has been announced.

Burkhalter, also the President of the Swiss Confederation, will visit the South Caucasus on June 2-4.

During this period Burkhalter will visit Azerbaijan, Georgia and Armenia, according to a message from the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs.

Burkhalter's first stop will be Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan, on June 2, 2014.

During his visit to Baku, Burkhalter will meet with Azerbaijani leadership and officials to discuss the peaceful settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, the country's cooperation with this organization and also the bilateral matters.

On June 3, Burkhalter will hold discussions in Georgia about the regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. The parties will also discuss the bilateral matters.

Burkhalter's trip will end on June 4 with a visit to the Armenian capital of Yerevan.

The message read that the region is a priority of the Swiss OSCE Chairmanship in 2014 because of a number of long-standing conflicts involving these countries.

"Switzerland is working to promote dialogue between the conflicting parties within the framework of its chairmanship," according to the message.

The conflict between the two South Caucasus countries began in 1988 when Armenia made territorial claims against Azerbaijan.

As a result of the ensuing war, in 1992 Armenian armed forces occupied 20 percent of Azerbaijan, including the Nagorno-Karabakh region and seven surrounding districts.

The two countries signed a ceasefire agreement in 1994. The co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group, Russia, France and the U.S. are currently holding peace negotiations.

Armenia has not yet implemented the U.N. Security Council's four resolutions on the liberation of the Nagorno-Karabakh and the surrounding regions.

Large scale military action was launched between Georgia and Russia in South Ossetia on August 8, 2008.

Later, Russian troops occupied Tskhinvali and expelled the Georgian military.

Russia recognized the independence of South Ossetia and Abkhazia in late August.

In response, Tbilisi ended diplomatic relations with Moscow and has called the two unrecognized republics of Abkhazia and South Ossetia occupied territories.

Turkish Government’s position is clearly negative

Georgian Ambassador to Turkey, Irakli Koplatadze, responds to the Turkish tour-operators’ visit to Abkhazia.

"The government's position is clearly negative and the NGOs and the private sector have been warned by the Turkish government to refrain from illegally entering Abkhazia, referring to Russia. So I doubt that even these certain attempts, which, of course, are contrary to our position and the Turkish government’s declared position as well, will have any significant result," - said Koplatadze. To be reminded, according to the Apsni Press, the Turkish tour operators paid an official visit to Abkhazia at the invitation of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry. The Turkish tour operators visited the hotels and got familiarized with the list of agencies working in the occupied Abkhazia.

Georgian PM and his family to have lifetime state protection

Aside from the Georgian president, the country's prime minister and his family will also be provided with lifetime state protection.

Appropriate changes were made to the government's act "On Approval of State Guard Special Service Position", dated by May 28, 2013.

One more amendment was introduced in a resolution, which provides the establishment of new unit within the Special State Protection Service - the PM Protection Department.