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The News in Brief

Thursday, April 6
Norwegian Defence Minister Concludes Georgia Visit

Norwegian Defense Minister Ine Eriksen Soreide arrived on her first official visit to Tbilisi on April 3 and met her Georgian counterpart Levan Izoria and President Giorgi Margvelashvili.

During the meeting, the two Defence Ministers spoke on security environment in the country, Georgia-NATO relations, Norwegian-Georgian defence cooperation and defence reforms in Georgia.

Minister Levan Izoria invited his Norwegian counterpart to the Georgia Defence and Security Conference in the capacity of a keynote speaker. The sides also signed the 2017 Bilateral Cooperation Plan.

Speaking at the joint press conference on the same day, the Norwegian Defence Minister underlined that Georgia is “a highly-valued NATO partner” and that the Alliance is “looking into how it can enhance cooperation even further.” “We commend the steps that Georgia has been taking in order to both do reform and to be a very good and reliable partner,” she said.

Minister Ine Eriksen Soreide also reaffirmed “Norway’s full support for Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.”

She also touched upon the bilateral defense cooperation and stated that Norway would like to further develop “longstanding relationship” between the Norwegian Home Guard and the National Guard of Georgia. “We have added one new item to our bilateral list this year that is advanced distance learning,” the Norwegian official added.

Soreide spoke on the possibility of Georgia’s involvement in NATO’s new initiatives. “One of the things that I have raised with Mr. Izoria is to make use of the experiences Georgia now has. We, in Nordic-Baltic context, are looking into ways of ‘exporting’ JTEC (the Joint Training and Evaluation Center) to the other countries as well. And we would very much like to bring Georgia on board in doing that. I will raise this with my Nordic colleagues when we meet in May and try to find the formats where Georgia also can participate as an associated member of that group,” the Minister said.

Following the press conference on Monday, the Norwegian Defense Minister visited the NATO-Georgia Joint Training and Evaluation Centre (JTEC). (

Minister of Education: We will have e-books this year

“We will have e-books this year as an alternative to paper books; so, we will have both e-books and paper books,” Minister of Education Alexandre Jejelava told reports.

Jejelava spoke about the weight of books and reduction of the number of lessons and noted that Ministry works in several directions.

"There are a lot of components. One thing is to allow children not to take all books to schools; Second, the number of lessons must be reduced; Third, large books must be divided into several books; Fourth, new textbooks must be in compliance with the standard weight. These standards have already been developed and accordingly, our students' bags will weigh less from this year,"- said the Minister of Education.

Jejelava said that the new rules will apply low grade students at the first stage.

"For the first time we will have electronic manuals this year, as an alternative to paper books. For example, students will use paper books at home, while at school they will be able to sue e-books," said the Minister of Education. (IPN)

9 people kidnapped in 33 days for crossing occupation line

An Incident Prevention and Response Mechanism (IPRM) meeting was held today in Ergneti village several kilometers away from the Russian occupied Georgian region of Tskhinvali (South Ossetia), where security conditions along the occupation line were on the top of agenda.

Nine cases of kidnapping along the occupation line between Georgia and its breakaway Tskhinvali region have been reported since the previous IPRM meeting on March 2.

Safe transportation of the local population living along the occupation line is always among the main topics regularly discussed at the IPRM meetings both in Ergneti and Gali in Abkhazia, another Russian occupied region of Georgia.

It is not always obvious where the occupation line has been demarcated as Russian occupation forces keep changing the so-called borders. This process is informally referred to as "creeping occupation.”

Russian border guards often detain those who intentionally or unintentionally cross the so-called border at locations that do not have barbed-wire fences.

Detainees are then usually released after their families pay a fine. The Georgian State Security Service says that this fine is generally around 2,000 rubles, which is about 88.80 GEL or $35.8 dollars or ˆ34.02.

The illegal detention of Georgian citizen Giorgi Giunashvili back in 2016 was one of the issues discussed at today’s meeting in Ergneti as well.

Last month, an unrecognised court in Georgia's Russian-occupied Tskhinvali region sentenced Giunashvili to 20 years imprisonment.

Demanding Giunashvili’s immediate release from detention, IPRM participant Kakha Kemoklidze, who is the Deputy Head of the Information-Analytical Department under the State Security Service, calls Giunashvili’s sentence "inventory.”

The IPRM was created in February 2009 following the 2008 Russia-Georgia conflict to address security concerns and ensure the protection of human rights in the occupied regions. (