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The News in Brief

Monday, January 26
PM Garibashvili reviews Georgia’s foreign policy and investment environment with CNBC

"I don’t know anyone, who puts our European integration or our European orientation under doubt. This is our foreign policy and this is a choice of our people,” says Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili.

Within the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland Garibashvili was interviewed by American broadcaster CNBC.

Alongside Georgia’s foreign policy, the PM also talked about:
- What made his country attractive for investors;
- What were Georgia’s thoughts towards Ukraine;
- How much of a threat Russia posed to its neighbors.

"Ukraine is a close friend and we are very concerned about what is going on there,” Garibashvili said.

"We experienced the similar conflict in 2008 and at that time the world did not pay to it enough attention," he said, referring to a war against Russia in 2008 over two breakaway regions of Georgia - Abkhazia and Tskhinvali region (South Ossetia).

Last November, Russia's President Vladimir Putin signed a "strategic partnership treaty " with Abkhazia. Moscow recognized Abkhazia and Tskhinvali region as independent countries.

"The major problem with Russia is the occupied territories of Georgia it has. On the economic and trade side we have seen some improvements but there are no improvements in foreign policy regarding Russia," Garibashvili said.

"Russia is signing a treaty with Abkhazia and [South] Ossetia and we see these as a step towards annexation."

Public is not so tolerant and government representatives realize it - Bidzina Ivanishvili

Former Prime Minister of Georgia Bidzina Ivanishvili has responded to Aleksandre Tchikaidze’s resignation again.

As Ivanishvili told reporters, Aleksandre Tchikaidze did the right thing, confirming that the government takes public attitude into consideration.

‘’We will follow the processes and if any doubts emerge, the public will be no more tolerant. All representatives of the government realize it,’’ Ivanishvili said.

According to him, at present we need to wait for the investigation results.

Metropolitan Isaiah of Nikozi and Tskhinvali Eparchy disappears

Metropolitan Isaiah of Nikozi and Tskhinvali Eparchy has disappeared after entering occupied Akhalgori to visit the monasteries and churches located in Georgia's breakaway region of Tskhinvali.

Frontnews contacted the Patriarchate of Georgia; the Eparchy of Nikozi and Tskhinvali and the priest living in the occupied region in order to find out the Metropolitan’s whereabouts.

“Metropolitan Isaiah is unable to return due to the travel restrictions imposed by the de-facto government of occupied South Ossetia. He had a temporary passport, which expired several days ago. The Metropolitan will return when he receives a new document. As far as we know, he currently is in one of the monasteries in Akhalgori”, a representative of the Eparchy of Nikozi and Tskhinvali told Frontnews on Friday.

According to some people living in the village of Nikozi, Metropolitan Isaiah was detained and taken to Tskhinvali by the occupants several days ago.

The Patriarchate of Georgia has not recently made a statement on the disappearance of Metropolitan Isaiah, who did not attend a meeting of the Holy Synod on December 23.

“Some time ago Metropolitan Isaiah entered occupied Akhalgori to visit the monasteries and churches located in Georgia's breakaway region”, Father Mikael Botkoveli, Secretary of His Holiness and Beatitude Ilia II, the Catholicos-Patriarch of All Georgia, Archbishop of Mtskheta and Tbilisi, Metropolitan of Bichvinta and Tskhum-Abkhazia told Frontnews. “We could not establish any communication with anyone in the occupied region”, he added.

As one of the priests living in the occupied region told Frontnews on Friday, “Metropolitan Isaiah is a parish priest of the church, which is located near Akhalgori”.

Georgian orthodox priests deliver a liturgy and other religious services at the churches located in Akhalgori and they obey the Georgian Orthodox Church.

“A lot of law enforcement officers participated in the special operation in 2006; we cannot sack all of them”

Acting Interior Minister Vakhtang Gomelauri has confirmed that several law enforcement officers were sacked, days after the murder of Zurab Vazagashvili’s father Iuri Vazagashvili.

In 2006, police shot Zurab Vazagashvili in a car.

“A lot of law enforcement officers participated in the special operation in 2006; we cannot sack all of them”, Vakhtang Gomelauri said on Saturday.

As for the dismissed law enforcement officers, he said: “investigation will make everything clear; if they are innocent, they will return to their posts”.

Georgia's Interior Minister Aleksandre Tchikaidze resigned on Friday.

According to Tchikaidze, some people accused him of covering up the circumstances of the killing of Zurab Vazagashvili.

“Although these allegations are not true, I feel moral responsibility and quit”, Tchikaidze said in a statement posted on the Interior Ministry's website.

Iuri Vazagashvili was killed by an explosive device that went off as he was visiting his son’s grave on January 20.

Georgian MFA Expresses ‘Extreme Concern’ over Mariupol Shelling in Ukraine

The Georgian Foreign Ministry voiced its “extreme concern over shelling of civilian residential areas of the Ukrainian city of Mariupol from the separatist-controlled territories” on January 24.

According to the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine at least 20 people died and 75 were wounded as a result of attack by Grad and Uragan rockets in Mariupol, fired from the areas controlled by Russia-backed separatists.

“The rise in civilian casualties as a result of recent attacks in the Ukrainian cities of Donetsk, Volnovakha and Mariupol is especially alarming, which further deteriorates already extremely difficult situation in the eastern Ukraine,” the Georgian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

“We believe that deliberate use of destructive weaponry against civilian populated areas requires an immediate reaction from the international community and each of this cases should be promptly investigated,” the Georgian Foreign Ministry said.

“The Georgian Foreign Ministry expresses its solidarity towards the Ukrainian people, offers its sympathy to families of the victims,” it said.