The messenger logo

The News in Brief

Tuesday, August 19
US missile cruiser docks in Batumi

An American military ship is visiting Batumi this week to reaffirm the United States’ support for Georgia and the wider region.

The Norfolk-based guided missile cruiser USS Vella Gulf will make a port visit in Batumi on August 18-20.

The vessel was deployed in a multi-mission role in the US 6th Fleet area of operations, which involved contributing to regional maritime security, conducting bilateral and multilateral training missions and to support NATO operations and deployments throughout the region.

"The Vella Gulf’s visit reaffirms the United States’ commitment to strengthening ties with NATO allies and partners like Georgia, while working toward mutual goals of promoting peace and stability in the Black Sea region,” the US embassy in Tbilisi said in a press release.

The USS Vella Gulf (CG 72), a Ticonderoga-class will conduct routine combined training exercises with the Georgian Coastguard, provide ship tours and host a reception for local officials.

The US embassy believed the Vella Gulf's Batumi Port visit would build on previous US Navy visits to Georgia, which enhanced professional and personal relationships between the US and its allies and regional partners.

The US Navy routinely operated ships in the Black Sea, consistent with the Montreux Convention and International Law. The ship entered the Black Sea on August 6. The vessel previously made a trip to the Black Sea in May as tensions rose in the region following Russia’s actions in Ukraine.

Georgian Defense Minister Visits Azerbaijan

Georgian Defense Minister Irakli Alasania started a two-day visit to Azerbaijan on Monday where he will meet his Azerbaijani and Turkish counterparts in Nakhchivan on August 19, according to the Georgian MoD.

Trilateral meeting of the defense ministers aim at discussing joint measures to provide protection to regional energy and transport infrastructure in “critical situations,” Alasania said on Sunday.

“We have been preparing this trilateral meeting for a long time already,” Alasania said. “As you are aware the Georgian side put this initiative last year. This will be first formal meeting of the three defense ministers in Azerbaijan.”

“This meeting and consequent agreement will be about the planning of [measures] how these three countries and their armed forces will protect our communication infrastructure in critical situations – the protection of our oil and gas pipelines, as well as railway network in case of military escalation,” the Georgian Defense Minister said.

“I would like to underline that this is only about security and self-defense and not against anyone,” Alasania said. “On the contrary, such agreements create additional foundation for regional stability.”

Before the trilateral meeting, the Georgian Defense Minister will meet his Azerbaijani counterpart Zakir Hasanov on August 18, according to the Georgian MoD.

Ministers of Foreign Affairs of Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey are already holding trilateral annual meetings since 2012 with the most recent one held in Azerbaijan in February, 2014.

Presidents of the three countries held the first trilateral summit in Tbilisi in May, 2014.

New case of Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever infection revealed in Georgia

Another case of Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever was recently registered in Georgia's Shida Kartli region.

One of the locals in the region was discovered about a week ago to have symptoms of the disease.

Vaccinations for the Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever are being distributed in the Shida Kartli region.

Two people died from this disease in Georgia this April. Thirteen cases of infection with Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever have been identified in the Khashuri region of the country.

The disease poses a risk to human life, but in case of timely visit to the doctor the patient can be saved, doctors say.

Currently, five people are undergoing treatment from the disease in the Infectious Diseases Hospital of Tbilisi, one of which is a six year old girl.

National Center for Disease Control and Public Health of Georgia noted that the epidemiological situation in the country at present is not a cause for concern.

UNM calls on President Margvelashvili not to grant Kakha Targamadze Georgian citizenship

The United National Movement (UNM) has called on Georgia’s President Giorgi Margvelashvili not to grant former Interior Minister Kakha Targamadze Georgian citizenship.

According to one of the leaders of the UNM, Akaki Minashvili, Kakha Targamadze appealed to Minister of Justice Tea Tsulukiani regarding the above-mentioned on July 13, 2014 and now Tsulukiani is going to grant Georgian citizenship to him.

“I would like to call on Margvelashvili not to grant Kakha Targamadze Georgian citizenship. Georgia must not go back to the past”, Minashvili said.