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The News in Brief

Friday, March 13
Patriarch talks about the unity and strengthening of Georgia

Patriarch of Georgia Ilia the Second talked about the unity and strengthening of Georgia in his sermon at Holy Trinity Cathedral yesterday.

Ilia the Second stated that Georgia has had to face sorrowful and hard facts. “They sometimes say that the occupied territories are lost. I think this is inconceivable,” the Patriarch stressed, adding that Abkhazia and Shida Kartli are inseparable parts of Georgia and the will of God and of the people is similar in this instance. “We must take care to create a united and strong Georgia,” the Patriarch stated.

Ilia the Second also talked about his meeting with Matthew Bryza, UD Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, at which Ilia the Second presented the concept of a Caucasus peace zone.

President to give awards to artillerymen

The Defence Ministry of Georgia celebrated the 16th anniversary of the establishment of the Georgian Artillery yesterday and the President of Georgia presented awards to artillerymen.

InterpressNews was told by the Defence Ministry that President Saakashvili gave awards to 67 artillerymen. They took part in the August war.

Veterans of Abkhazian war commemorate 16th Anniversary of attack on Sokhumi

Veterans of the Abkhazian war are commemorating the 16th anniversary of the attack on Sokhumi on 15-16 March 1993 and will pay homage to the war dead.

The Union of Abkhazian Warriors will gather at Heroes’ Square on March 15 at 11 p.m. They will lay wreaths on the memorial to those who died for Georgia’s territorial integrity. A memorial will also be served.

The attack on Sokhumi on 15-16 March 1993 ended in defeat. 137 soldiers died and up to 350 were injured in the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 6th battalions of the 23rd Brigade, staffed by the local population defending Sokhumi. Apart from Abkhazians, sub-divisions of the North Caucasian People’s Confederation forces, Cossacks and sub divisions of the Russian Defence Forces took part in the fighting on the Abkhazian side.

Conference of ex-Speaker`s party will not be held in Sports Palace

The Board of Directors of the Tbilisi Sports Palace has refused to allow Nino Burjanadze`s political party to use the hall until April 24. The Democratic Movement - United Georgia had intended to hold a conference there before April 9, but due to the intensive preparation works being undertaken prior to the building hosting the European Judo Championship the building cannot be used for any kind of event.
(The Messenger)

Leader of Georgian Labour Party holding meetings in Washington

The leader of the Georgian Labour Party has been holding talks in the US for several days. Shalva Natelashvili has met with senior officials of the US State Department. He has also met a representative of the Washington Post.

“The visit has been extraordinarily successful compared with previous visits, as under the Bush administration any anti-Saakashvili statement was considered anti-American,” Shalva Natelashvili said.
(Rustavi 2)

Georgian Economic Minister meets new Ambassadors

Lasha Zhvania has met the new Ambassadors of Georgia approved by Parliament. They have discussed attracting foreign investment to Georgia. The Minister of Economy talked about the role of the diplomatic corps in this process.

Lasha Zhvania emphasized the necessity of restoring Georgia’s image as a secure country and attracting tourists. The Minister gave specific tasks and advice to the Ambassadors.

“Embassies and Ambassadors are very important. Our priorities are tourism and attracting investment, because these two directions give us an opportunity to create additional jobs,” Lasha Zhvania said.
(Rustavi 2)