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News in Brief

Tuesday, March 4
President expresses support to Armenian people and authorities

President Mikheil Saakashvili expressed his support to the people and authorities of Armenia in a March 2 telephone conversation with his Armenian counterpart, Robert Kocharyan.

“The Georgian president was interested in the overall situation in Armenia after [March 1]’s opposition supporters’ turmoil,” Armenian presidential press secretary Victor Sogomonyan said.

On March 1 Armenian police used lethal force in clashes with demonstrators protesting February 19 presidential election there, which they claim was rigged. A state of emergency was declared soon after and protesters dispersed early on the morning of March 2.
(Black Sea Press)

Nine female prisoners pardoned on Mother’s Day

Nine female prisoners were released on Mother’s Day, the Justice Ministry announced.

Convict Magda Mamrikashvili, 19, was one of those pardoned yesterday. She received a seven year prison sentence for stealing GEL 170. A week ago her month-old son was hospitalized with a cranial hematoma.

“From this moment on Magda and her baby are free. I believe she will never commit any criminal offence in future and will bring up her son as a decent citizen of Georgia,” Justice Minister Nika Gvaramia said.

Gvaramia added that female prisoners who have given birth in prison have had their sentences reduced. “In this way we are congratulating woman prisoners on Mother’s Day,” he told journalists.
(Black Sea Press)

Saakashvili begins trip to Poland

President Mikheil Saakashvili and First Lady Sandra Roelofs were officially received at the residence of Polish President Lech Kaczynski in Warsaw yesterday afternoon.

Saakashvili is meeting with leaders of NATO member states to drum up support ahead of an April summit in Bucharest at which Georgia hopes to receive a Membership Action Plan, the next stage in progressing toward NATO membership.

The two leaders held a closed-door meeting, after which Saakashvili was awarded the Order of the Cross for contributions to the Republic of Poland.

The Georgian delegation, which included Foreign Minister Davit Bakradze and Energy Minister Aleksandre Khetaguri, laid a wreath at the tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Warsaw.
(Black Sea Press)

Tbilisi holds Kazakhstani reforms in high regard

Georgia holds the ongoing reforms in Kazakhstan in high regard, Prime Minister Lado Gurgenidze said, according to a statement from Astana.

“The Georgian government emphasizes the development of multilateral cooperation with Kazakhstan. It is impossible to overstress the importance of such a wide-scale project as a Western Europe–Western China transportation corridor, which will be a new incentive for the economic development of the region. We can do nothing but welcome the expansion of export channels of Kazakhstani agricultural products through Georgian ports,” a statement from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Kazakhstan quotes Gurgenidze as saying.

Gurgenidze said Kazakhstan’s decision to strengthen security in Central Asia through the interaction of Euro-Atlantic structures is an important step “on the path to Europe.”
(Black Sea Press)

Russian presidential election held in Georgia

Voting for the Russian presidential election took place in Georgia on March 2. A polling station opened at the Russian Embassy in Tbilisi at 8 a.m. local time.

“The polling station has been provided with all necessary materials and voting ballots. A representative from the Communist Party of Russian has been registered in the capacity of an observer,” Russian Embassy press attache Zarina Gabiyeva said.

Early voting tool place in Akhalkalaki and Batumi where 125 and 45 people cast their ballots.

The Russian Embassy in Tbilisi has not observed the elections conducted in the breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

According to the RIA Novosti news agency, three polling stations opened at 8 a.m. (Moscow time) in Sokhumi, de facto capital of Abkhazia.

Russian Ambassador to Georgia Vyacheslav Kovalenko took part in the election.

“I have voted for the future of Russia. I believe that Russia has good prospects. It has been successful in developing its foreign policy and I am optimistic about positive changes in Russia,” the ambassador told journalists on March 2.

Kovalenko also emphasized that the election would not lead to radical changes in Russian foreign policy. “I do not think Russian policy will change much. Of course, everyone who occupies the presidential post has his own vision, but I do not think the country’s foreign policy will change much,” he said.

“I am optimistic about the development of Georgian-Russian relations,” he added.
(Black Sea Press)