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The News in Brief

Friday, January 9
Georgia accuses Dutch TV of ‘false’ war report

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia has accused Dutch broadcaster NOS of making “a false and misleading report” on the August war and suspects it is part of Russia’s anti-Georgian campaign.

A statement by the Foreign Ministry of Georgia released on January 8 says that NOS, which is part of the Dutch public broadcasting system, aired in a January 3 news programme a report in which its Moscow correspondent says that President Saakashvili started the war.

The MFA said that the report quoted a Georgian woman, Nino Matkava, who allegedly served in the Georgian Army and fought on the frontline during the August war, as saying: “He [President Saakashvili] viewed the war as a game, in which Nino and others like her were putting their lives in jeopardy.” The MFA contended that Matkava was dismissed from the Georgian Army in 2006 and could not have been on the frontline during the August war.

The Georgian Foreign Ministry says the Ambassador of Georgia to the Netherlands has brought these details to the attention of the Dutch broadcaster and formally requested an on-air retraction of the report. (The Messenger)

Police arrest three people for offering bribe

Police in Kvemo Kartli detained Shakhan Mustapa Oghli Kocha, a citizen of Turkey, at the Tsiteli Khidi border checkpoint on January 7. The detainee allegedly offered a bribe to a patrol-inspector in the amount of 10 USD in an attempt to gain quick registration and passage over the state border.

On January 6 Kvemo Kartli officers had also detained Ali Murad Oghli Bugdai, another citizen of Turkey, at a railway checkpoint, who allegedly offered the patrol inspector 10 USD and 17 GEL in return for crossing the Georgian state border with a damaged passport. On January 7th a citizen of Armenia, Arsen Gevorqian, allegedly offered the patrol inspector of Sadakhlo border checkpoint a bribe of 500 Armenian dram in return for crossing the Georgian state border without any obstacles, and was also detained.

Preliminary investigation of these cases has been initiated under Article 339 part I of the Criminal Code of Georgia. The cases are being investigated by the Kvemo Kartli Patrol Police Division of the Ministry of Internal Affairs. (The Messenger)

Georgian Ambassador leaves for Washington

The newly-appointed Ambassador of Georgia to the United States, Batu Kutelia, has left for Washington to assume office. His first day of work as Ambassador will begin with signing the Strategic Partnership Charter with the United States.

According to the diplomat the key priorities of his service will be the issues stipulated in the Charter - state security and cooperation in the defence and economic sectors. (The Messenger)

Opposition MP condemns amendments

Opposition MP Jondi Baghaturia has objected to amendments made to the Criminal Code of Georgia, saying it is now a fascist document. Baghaturia voiced his complaints at a news conference yesterday.

Baghaturia said the new version of the document is inhumane. He particularly disapproved of the article which punishes contradictory testimonies by eyewitness or injured parties with imprisonment. Baghaturia proposes amending several articles of the code, and will make a statement on this at the spring session of Parliament. (The Messenger)

Georgian Democratic Party producing manifesto

The Georgian Democratic Party is working on a manifesto and proposes setting up a political union.

The ways to restore territorial integrity, improvement of the economic situation, the internal political arrangement of the country and cooperation with political parties which will be addressed in the manifesto.

The party discussed these and other issues at a session of its Political Council. The manifesto will be made public and presented to every political party for consideration. (The Messenger)