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The News in Brief

Tuesday, March 1
Georgia’s obstacles for NATO and EU affiliation

Germany is the main obstacle to affiliation with NATO and the EU, Mikheil Saakashvili said in his interview with the Lithuanian magazine, Valstybe.

However, according to Saakashvili, Georgia will actively continue its efforts to be affiliated with the Euro-Atlantic structures.

“Everybody admits Georgia is the best pupil, however, we are not allowed to move to higher grade. It is not good,” Saakashvili responded when asked about the chances of Georgia’s integration with NATO given the problems of territorial integrity.

Saakashvili said he did not know how Georgia would become a member of NATO, saying, “You have to ask the question in Brussels, Washington and especially in Berlin. I think we have to continue our efforts, keep going forward, and sooner or later we will become a member of NATO.”

When asked whether Georgia was hurt by the resumption of relations between the USA and Russia, Saakashvili replied no. He commented, “I was in the USA two months ago. I was the first leader of a foreign state met by Obama. So, I can’t say that support from the West has weakened.”

Israel removes Georgia from danger list

Israel has removed Georgia from its list of dangerous countries.

Israel’s National Security Council says there is no longer any threat of danger in Georgia for Israeli citizens. Azerbaijan, Armenia, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan however remain in the list.

Israel put Georgia on the list of dangerous countries on 11 February. According to the state staff for Fight against Terrorism, the list of countries dangerous for the Israeli citizens included Egypt, Turkey, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Armenia, Mali, Mauritania and Venezuela, with the Israeli security service advising its citizens to refrain from traveling to those countries.

Georgian delegation attends OSCE PA session

A delegation of Georgian MPs attended the winter session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the OSCE in Vienna where the situation of Georgia’s occupied territories was one of the topics. Georgian lawmakers participated in the debates together with delegations of 55 other countries.

Issues discussed during the session were defending human rights and migration. Georgian MPs took part in the debates on global migration issues, stressing that the Oslo resolution of OSCE should be implemented and the IDPs currently residing in various regions of Georgia, should return to their homes.
(Rustavi 2)

Freeing of kidnapped Georgian sailors postponed

The release of the Georgian sailors held captive by Somali pirates has been postponed for ten days, according to Trend agency which quotes the father of one of the sailors – Sergei Devadze – as saying, “The Greek shipowner promised the sailors would return home at the end of February, but it has now become known that their release has been postponed for ten days.”

The commercial cargo ship ”MV OLIB G”, sailing under the flag of Malta with a crew of 15 Georgian and 3 Turkish citizens was seized by pirates in the Gulf of Aden on September 8, 2010.

According to various reports, the pirates demanded a ransom somewhere between USD 3 and 15 million from the Greek shipowner Frio Ventures.

Ukrainian journalists to film documentary on Georgia

Ukrainian journalists are visiting Georgia to collect video material to shoot a documentary on the country. Tatyana Shtani and Viktor Zelenko have already visited Old Tbilisi, Mtskheta, Sighnaghi and the ski resort of Gudauri.

The documentary will describe Tbilisi and Mtskheta as ancient historic and culture cities of Europe.

The Ukrainian journalists also plan to make several TV stories for news programmes about the problems in occupied Abkhazia, the ongoing successful reforms implemented by the Georgian government and the late Georgian sportsman, Nodar Kumaritashvili, who died in the Vancouver Winter Olympics last year. The journalists will also visit Borjomi and Bakuriani.
(Rustavi 2)

Crime Heads arrested for extortion

The Special Operative Department (SOD) of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Georgia has arrested Ramaz Gvaramdze, brother-in-law of the Georgian crime boss Zakhar Kalashov for extorting money from illegal personal gamblers, so-called ‘mazavshiks’ and another person - Giorgi Buchukuri, with the same charges.

Gvaramadze was trying to extort money from people who made personal bets on football games by involving other criminal, who now reside abroad.

The investigation is in progress under article 223 of the Criminal Code of Georgia. The suspects may face 5-8 year jail sentences.
(Rustavi 2)

Arrest of woman who deserted child

Police have arrested a woman who deserted her child. According to the press service of the Georgian Interior Ministry, 18-year-old Tamara Baramidze gave birth to the child on December 31, 2010. After leaving the maternity home she deserted the baby in the entrance of a house in Varketili, a suburb Tbilisi.

The investigation is being carries out under article 128 of the Criminal Code of Georgia; punishable by a fine or correctional work.

Ramaz Klimiashvili Found Dead

Political expert Ramaz Klimiashvili was found dead in his apartment; he was 70 years old. According to an InterpressNews correspondent, patrol police have sealed the entrance to the apartment block on Mtskheta Street in Tbilisi.

Cause of death might have been a gas leak. A neighbour said Klimiashvili was drunk.

The police have made no comment.