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The News in Brief

Wednesday, February 18
Fourth round of Geneva talks opens in Geneva

The fourth round of US, EU, UN and OSCE-mediated Geneva talks between Russia and Georgia began in Geneva on Tuesday. The Georgian delegation, headed by Deputy Foreign Minister Giga Bokeria, will raise the questions of the de-occupation of the Georgian territories, returning IDPs to their homes and allowing international monitors onto the occupied Georgian territories. According to the Georgian media, the Georgian side will also demand that a special document concerning these issues is adopted.

The head of the Abkhazian Government in Exile Malkhaz Akishbaia and the head of the South Ossetian Provisional Administration Dmitry Sanakoyev are also part of the Georgian delegation. The representatives of the de facto South Ossetian and Abkhaz Governments also participate in the talks. Despite the changes in the US Government, Deputy Assistant Secretaries of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Daniel Fried and Matthew Bryza still represent the US delegation.

EU officials have expressed the hope of reach a positive result at these talks. “We are interested in ensuring that the deployment of international monitors, including those of the OSCE, EU or UN, in the conflict zones of Georgia is supported,” Nadezhda Kholikova from the Czech Republic, which holds the EU Presidency, said, adding that “we still support Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.” The plenary session in Geneva is planned for today. (The Messenger)

Nino Burjanadze meets Robert Simmons

Leader of the Democratic Movement United Georgia Nino Burjanadze has met NATO Special Representative for the South Caucasus Robert Simmons. As Burjanadze stated after the meeting, the perspective that Georgia will integrate with NATO is no longer valid.

“All meetings in Georgia and abroad prove this. The August war has become serious hindrance to NATO integration. Russia achieved its goal with the help of the Georgian Government.

“Our level of democracy is not close to what it was several years ago. The NATO integration prospect will continue to diminish as long as this Government stays,” Burjanadze stated. (Interpressnews)

Zurab Noghaideli welcomes Alasania to Georgian politics

Leader of the Movement for Fair Georgia Zurab Noghaideli welcomes the appearance of Irakli Alasania in Georgian politics.

“We hope that Alasania will bring well-being and success to the country. We are ready to cooperate with him and take concrete steps,” Noghaideli states. (Interpressnews)

Banks to restructure debts of damaged people

MP Jondi Baghaturia, who leads the Kartuli Dasi movement, has announced the result of consultations held with the Association of Banks of Georgia and foreign banks operating in Georgia.

Baghaturia said the banks would take into consideration the problems of people damaged by the Russian intervention, who had been deprived of their incomes and jobs. The banks will agree to restructure debts on the basis of individual agreements with clients. (Rustavi 2)

Speaker concludes visit to Lithuania

Georgian Parliament Speaker Davit Bakradze has wrapped up an official visit to Lithuania, during which he met the President, Prime Minister and Parliament Speaker of that country. The problems of Georgia’s occupied territories, the Russia-Georgia war, Georgia`s aspirations to join Euro-Atlantic structures and the development of the European Neighbourhood Policy was discussed at these meetings.

The Lithuanian authorities reiterated their support for Georgia`s territorial integrity and sovereignty. They said Russia should do its best to regulate relations with Georgia. Lithuania supports the extension of EU monitoring missions in Georgia.

“We talked about the conflicts and the occupied territories and expressed our clear position that we demand the reinforcement of the EU monitoring mission in Georgia and intensification of the neighbourhood policy towards Russia, which conducts the militarization of Georgia`s occupied regions,” Davit Bakradze said. (Rustavi 2)

Christian Democrats cautious about President’s initiative

The Christian Democratic Party thinks the President’s initiative of proposing a GEL 5 insurance package for the citizens of Georgia is a bit premature. The opposition party says the Government should think through every detail of the project to avoid disputes between medical institutions and insurance companies in the future.

The Christian Democrats believe the project should describe in detail what will be considered an accident and what emergency assistance, and identify which treatment of which diseases will be covered. The Christian Democrats are demanding tough public monitoring of the insurance process. (Rustavi 2)

Tbilisi hosts international conference

Tbilisi is hosting an international conference dedicated to Georgia’s roads. The conference aims at developing closer ties with road building companies with international experience.

The first part of the conference will be dedicated to the discussion of plans for the development of Georgia’s road infrastructure. In the second part of the conference foreign companies will introduce modern road building technologies to Georgian partners. (Rustavi 2)