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The News in Brief

Friday, June 26
Parliamentary Committee supports Ambassador candidates

The Parliamentary Foreign Relations Committee declared its support for the candidacy of two new Ambassadors yesterday. Parliament will confirm Grigol Mgaloblishvili as Permanent Representative to NATO and Grigol Tabatadze as Ambassador to Armenia at its next sitting.

Former Prime Minister Grigol Mgaloblishvili told journalists that Georgia must use all instruments available to draw closer to NATO. He emphasized the importance of the work of the NATO-Georgia Commission and the implementation of annual national action plans in this process. Future Georgian Ambassador to Armenia Grigol Tabatadze said that Georgians and Armenians have a traditional friendship which will always exist and all problems must be solved on this basis. (Interpressnews)

Adamkus discusses Georgia crisis with Obama

President Valdas Adamkus has spoken on the phone with US President Barack Obama. During their conversation, President Obama’s visit to the Russian Federation, scheduled to begin on July 6, and the situation in Georgia were discussed.

President Obama said that Lithuania was an important US partner in the region and thanked President Adamkus for his contribution to the development of bilateral relations. President Adamkus expressed the hope that Lithuania and the United States would continue their successful cooperation in spreading democracy and transatlantic integration. Adamkus said that the United States and the European Union had to place strong focus on Europe’s eastern neighbours to strengthen stability in the region.

Concerning the situation in Georgia President Adamkus underlined that political forces supporting and opposing the Government must refrain from further confrontation and respect the principles of democracy in their actions. (Rustavi 2)

Tbilisi hosts conference of European Mayors

The Tbilisi Mayor’s Office is demanding a change in the law on local self-government. It has already presented a proposal on this to Parliament, Gigi Ugulava said at the Network of Europe’s Big Cities International Conference in Tbilisi on Thursday. Ugulava supports the idea of the direct election of Tbilisi Mayors.

The Tbilisi Mayor outlined the projects implemented in the Georgian capital over the last four years and a number of future programmes to representatives of the local governments of 40 European cities. He said the Mayor’s Office will present another new project in the near future. The Tbilisi - City of Knowledge programme will make big investments in the education field and employ twenty thousand people.

Tbilisi is hosting the Network of Europe’s Big Cities International Conference for the first time. The participants of the conference will discuss the European Neighbourhood Policy and the role of big cities in the implementation of the Eastern Partnership over two days. (Rustavi 2)

CDM objects to closure of schools

The Christian Democratic Movement objects to the closing of schools with small pupil numbers. Its members say several schools have been closed in the process of optimisation but this hampers the ongoing education reform.

Members of the Parliamentary minority are urging the Education Ministry to develop a new funding plan for schools in order to prevent future school closures. They plan to present their complaints and ideas to Minister of Education Nika Gvaramia and invite him to a broad session of the Education Committee. (Rustavi 2)

Opposition office declared state property

The Appeals Court has not altered the ruling of Tbilisi City Court concerning the office of the Movement for United Georgia, founded by ex-Defence Minister Irakli Okruashvili and currently led by Eka Beselia, and has declared it state property.

Eka Beselia has described the court ruling as a political decision against the 11 proprietors who gave the building to the opposition party. Beselia has said that by this ruling the Government has in fact legalised the oppression of opposition party members.

Beselia accused the judges of violating the European Convention on Human Rights. (Rustavi 2)