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The News in Brief

Wednesday, March 24
Tbilisi says giving Sokhumi Airport an identification code is annexation

The Parliament of Georgia has declared that Russia granting Sokhumi Airport an internal identification code is an attempt to annex Abkhazia.

Chair of Parliament Davit Bakradze has responded to Deputies’ concerns by promising to schedule a special hearing on this issue. Deputies will discuss the issue at a joint sitting of the Commission on Restoration of Territorial Integrity and the Foreign Relations Committee. Bakradze said that this action violates all international norms and Georgia must use all means to oppose it.

Georgian legal experts state that there are two means of stopping this. The ICAO (international aviation authority) can impose sanctions on Russia and it can also take concrete measures against companies flying in and out of this airport.

Prime Minister of the Sokhumi regime Sergey Shamba stated at a press conference in Sokhumi that Russia has granted Sokhumi Airport an internal identification code. He stated that Russian, Jordanian and Turkish businessmen showed interest in Sokhumi Airport at meetings he held in Moscow last week. (Interpressnews)

EOC head visits Nodar Kumaritashvili’s family

Secretary General of the European Olympic Committee Patrick Hickey has visited Nodar Kumaritashvili’s family with a delegation of colleagues, the head of the Georgian Olympic Committee’s press service Kakha Beridze has told Interpressnews from Bakuriani. The delegation once more expressed condolences to the family.

The EOC delegation will observe the area where a new luge track is to be built. It consists of Patrick Hickey, President of the International Luge Federation Josef Fendt, President of the Turkish Olympic Federation Togai Baiatli and representatives of the Luge Federations of Ukraine, Austria and Latvia.

Nodar Kumaritashvili suffered a fatal crash during a training run for the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, Canada on 12 February. A representative of the organising committee of Vancouver 2010 has visited Georgia to bring his family the things Canadians brought to Nodar’s memorial and a book where condolences to Kumaritashvili were expressed. (Interpressnews)

Unofficial meeting between Mikheil Saakashvili and Barack Obama may be held

President of Georgia Mikheil Saakashvili will attend the Nuclear Summit in the USA on 12-13 April, his spokesperson Manana Manjgaladze stated yesterday. She said that the President has been invited by US President Barack Obama.

Mangjaladze added that some unofficial meetings are scheduled within the summit, one possibly with the US President. A concrete decision concerning this meeting will be taken during the summit. (Interpressnews)

Holidays of ethnic minorities may be granted status of national holiday

The Georgian President's Press Secretary Manana Manjgaladze announced at a briefing yesterday that it is quite possible that the religious holidays of various ethnic groups in Georgia will be granted the status of national holidays, like Nowruz Bayram, the major religious holiday for Muslims.

The President thinks that Georgia's various ethnic minorities make the country rich. "Georgia is proud of its tradition of peaceful co-existence between representatives of various ethnic minorities, who have lived here for centuries, therefore, it is not ruled out that like Nowruz Bayram other holidays of ethnic minority groups will be given the status of national holiday in Georgia," Manjgaladze said.

The Press Secretary also commented on the agreement signed between Kazakhstan and Belarus, which makes the return of Georgian products to the Russian market feasible.

"The Georgian Government has asserted that the Russian embargo cannot destroy the Georgian economy and the country should not depend only on one market, which is politicised," Manjgaladze said. (Rustavi 2)

Gia Maisashvili to take part in selection of joint candidate

At a meeting organised by the National Council at the Chess Palace it was declared that Gia Maisashvili is a prospective candidate for the Tbilisi Mayoral elections. He will also take part in the opinion polling being conducted by National Council to identify the most appropriate joint opposition candidate for these elections.

The joint candidate will be declared on 9 April by the National Council. Koba Davitashvili and Zviad Dzidziguri will also take part in the opinion polling. (Interpressnews)

Vaclav Havel’s visit to Tbilisi cancelled

Vaclav Havel’s visit to Georgia has been cancelled owing to his illness. The Embassy of the Czech Republic told Interpressnews that he has a high temperature.

Havel's visit to Tbilisi was scheduled for today. He was due to open the European House with Mikheil Saakashvili.

Vaclav Havel was President of Czechoslovakia from 1989-1992 and the first President of the Czech Republic from 1993-2003. (Interpressnews)