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The News in Brief

Monday, December 6
Malaysian trial of Georgian - Today

The trial of Babutsa Gordadze, detained in Malaysia will be held today, and that of Darejan Kokhtashvili on 13 December, member of Georgian delegation Irakli Chilingarashvili told Rustavi 2. The Georgian delegation returned from Malaysia three days ago.

Chilingarashvili said that they met with Gordadze and Kokhtashvili. The detainees do not plead guilty and state that they were the victims in the crime.

Chilingarashvili reported that the investigation has no testimonies against Gordadze and Kokhtashvili. He says that results of the chemical analysis are important and will be ready in January 2011.

The Georgian side provided the Malaysian investigation with the testimony of Eldar Davitiani, Gordadze’s spouse, who pleads guilty. Chilingarashvili considers that Davitiani’s testimony may help the detainees.

Babutsa Gordadze and Darejan Kokhtashvili were detained on October 24 in Malaysia for drug trafficking. If found guilty, they might face the death penalty.

Tbilisi Transport Fares rise to 50 Tetri

Municipal transport fares today rose from 40 to 50 tetri. The decision was made by Tbilisi City Assembly. Head of Tbilisi Transport Company Levan Kopatadze said that fares will not rise for socially vulnerable people. The majority of the City Assembly supported the increase in fares. The City council said high fuel prices were behind the rise.

Saakashvili to participate in Climate Change Summit

President Mikheil Saakashvili and Minister of Environmental Protection, Goga Khachidze will take part in the summit on climate change in Mexico.

Speaking at the Prime Time Press Club, Goga Khachidze said a similar summit was held in Copenhagen last year but was unable to adopt any important decisions.

The Georgian President and the Minister of Environmental Protection left for Mexico yesterday. The visit will last until December 11. The summit, which opened on November 28 will adopt a new action plan, according to which developing countries will be rendered financial assistance.

Georgian Deputy PM on “Frost over the World”

Al-Jazeera’s David Frost talked to Georgian Deputy Prime Minister Giorgi Baramidze about Georgia’s successes following the Rose Revolution, European integration, the occupied territories and Mikheil Saakashvili’s initiative over peaceful resolution of the conflicts on his show “Frost over the World”.

Frost asked the Georgian deputy PM about Georgia’s position over NATO’s intention to build a strategic partnership with Russia. Baramidze answered that this is not going to happen at the expense of Georgia’s interests.

He said all documents adopted at the NATO summit stress that Georgia will become a member of NATO, that the alliance supports Georgia’s territorial integrity and sovereignty and that all member countries urge Russia to fulfill the cease-fire agreement and to de-occupy Georgia’s territories.

Giorgi Baramidze was also asked about the Georgian president’s initiative over a peaceful resolution to the conflicts that Saakashvili announced during a speech at the European parliament.

“We want peace with Russia. We want a normal constructive relationship, because there are lots of objective interests,” Baramidze said. He added that the relationship between the two countries should be based on respect of sovereignty and territorial integrity. In these terms Russia should withdraw its forces from the occupied territories and respect the rights of victims of ethnic cleansing, the Minister said.
(Rustavi 2)

Georgian MP on Russia-Georgia relationships

Chair of the Foreign Affairs committee of the Georgian parliament talked to journalists of the Caucasus Internet Media Group on Saturday. Akaki Minashvili discussed Russia-Georgia relationships at the meeting.

The MP assessed the Astana Summit and said that a lot of supportive statements to Georgia were made there. He said the OSCE summit re-confirmed that Europe will not give up its principles.

Akaki Minashvili also said that Georgia will force Russia to concede through diplomatic means.
(Rustavi 2)

Second floor of customs facilities collapses

The second floor of Sarpi customs facilities of in Georgia’s Black Sea region of Adjara collapsed on Friday night. Eight workers were injured in the incident; four are in a serious condition.

The workers sustained multiple fractures. They were transported to hospital #1 in Batumi, but their lives are now safe.

Healthcare Minister of Adjara autonomous region visited the injured workers.

The cause of the collapse is uncertain as yet. The company that was carrying out rehabilitation works in the customs facilities has already been found. Representatives of the customs services have refrained from making any comment.
(Rustavi 2)

Russian political expert praises Saakashvili’s policy

"On second breath" - this is the headline of an article about Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili published by famous Russian political expert Sergei Markedonov in internet edition.

Markedonov says it looks like Mikheil Saakashvili has got a second breath of foreign policy. He says this is confirmed by the resolution of NATO Parliamentary Assembly on Georgia, his bilateral meeting with Barack Obama in Lisbon and his speech in the European parliament confirm that.

The expert says, the Georgian president makes serious moves not only towards the West but he is also deepening relationships with Iran. "But the main thing is Mikheil Saakashvili’s initiatives, which continually follow one another," he says and emphasizes the initiative over a peaceful resolution of the conflicts on the Georgian territory.

Markedonov thinks the main purpose of Saakashvili’s actions is to show the world that Russia is an aggressor country and show the West that there is no alternative to Saakashvili.

To conclude, Markedonov called upon Russia to competently respond to the Georgian President’s initiatives and sit down for talks.
(Rustavi 2)