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The News in Brief

Thursday, January 17
Lavrov to lead Russian delegation at Saakashvili’s inauguration

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov will head the Russian delegation at the inauguration ceremony of Mikheil Saakashvili, the confirmed winner of the recent presidential election, Russian Ambassador to Georgia Vyacheslav Kovalenko stated on January 16.

The inauguration ceremony is slated for January 20. Saakashvili has said he is ready to improve the frosty relations with Moscow, publicly inviting Russian President Vladimir Putin to his inauguration.

While the Russian president is not coming, heads of state from Ukraine, Turkey and other nearby countries are expected.

The political opposition, which has accused authorities of rigging the election, plans to stage a mass protest the day of the inauguration. (Prime News)

Public transport free for veterans in Tbilisi

Measures making public transport free for war veterans went into force yesterday, when the state veterans’ department began issuing travel coupons in the capital. Vouchers will be distributed in the regions soon. (Prime News)

Rotation of Georgian troops in Iraq begins

The scheduled rotation of Georgian troops in Iraq began on January 16. The Defense Ministry announced that units of the 1st Infantry Brigade departed from Alekseevka military aerodrome yesterday.

Troops will fly first to Kuwait to undertake a two-week training program, before being deployed in Iraq, where they will replace the 3rd Infantry Brigade in Delta Base, Al-Kut. (Prime News)

Foreign Ministry, Russian Ambassador discuss embargo

Vyacheslav Kovalenko, Russian Ambassador to Georgia, met deputy Foreign Minister Grigol Katamadze, at the Foreign Ministry on January 16 to discuss the Russian embargo on Georgian goods that has been in place since 2006.

Katamadze gave a letter to the ambassador addressed to Russia’s chief sanitary officer Gennady Onischenko, reaffirming Georgia’s interest in starting talks on restoring the export of Georgian wine and mineral water to the Russian market.

Ambassador Kovalenko expressed his willingness to cooperate to the process. (Prime News)

Two people die of gas poisoning in Tbilisi

Two people died of gas poisoning in the capital on the night of January 15.

Nika Shanava and Tato Basaria, law students at Tbilisi State University died after a gas leakage caused by a faulty heater, in a Tbilisi flat. According to a neighbor, the students were refugees from Gali. Their bodies were transported to Zugdidi yesterday. (Prime News)