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The News in Brief

Tuesday, December 20
US ambassador hails Congress statement on Georgia

US Ambassador to Georgia John Bass commented on the document adopted by the US Senate on Sunday. The senate passed a USD $662 billion defense bill, which calls for closer military ties with Georgia, including the sale of weapons that supporters say would help the country, which fought a brief war with Russia in 2008, defend itself.

Bass said he did not know the details of the document, however, he welcomed the enhancement of relations between Georgia and the United States in the defense sector.

As reported, the addition to the bill was proposed by Senator John McCain.

The USD $662 billion defense bill was sent to the president`s office and Barack Obama is expected to sign it.
(Rustavi 2)

European Court of Human Rights declares second application admissible in the case of Georgia v. Russia

The European Court of Human Rights has declared the second application admissible in the case of Georgia v. Russia. The European Human Rights court’s decision was declared to journalists by Deputy Justice Minister Tina Burjaliani Monday.

The case concerns the armed conflict between Georgia and Russia at the beginning of August 2008 following an extended period of mounting tension, provocations and incidents.

The Georgian government alleges that the Russian Federation violated Articles 2 (right to life), 3 (prohibition of torture and of inhuman or degrading treatment), 5 (right to liberty and security), 8 (right to respect for private and family life) and 13 (right to an effective remedy) of the European Convention on Human Rights, as well as of Article 1 of Protocol No. 1 (protection of property), Article 2 of Protocol No. 1 (right to education) and Article 2 of Protocol No. 4 (freedom of movement) to the Convention.

On 12 August 2008, the President of the Court, acting as President of the Chamber, decided to apply Rule 39 and called upon both Parties concerned to comply with their engagements under the Convention, particularly in respect of Articles 2 and 3 of the Convention.

The application of Rule 39 has since been prolonged several times and is still in force to date. The formal inter-state application was submitted by the Georgian government on 6 February 2009. The European Court of Human Rights held a chamber hearing in the case Georgia v. Russia on 22 September.

Wilfried Martens met with ruling party leaders

Georgia is Europe and Europe will never stand the occupation of its territories - the president of the European People`s Party, Wilfried Martens announced at a meeting with leaders of the United National Movement in Tbilisi Monday.

Mr. Martens spoke about the reforms carried out by the Georgian government and also assessed the processes that followed the December 4th parliamentary elections in Russia.

`This is my third visit in Georgia and I feel at home in Tbilisi. I feel at home because we are among friends, members of the same political family, the family of the European People`s Party. I feel at home because we share the same values, and the same roots; I feel at home, because Georgia is a European country, we share the same heritage and fate. We believe as it is said in the resolution of the European Parliament - you are not only a European state, but you can become a member of the European Union,` Martens said.

The United National Movement has been a member of the European People`s Party since 2008. The meeting with the party`s president was held in the party`s new office, which moved from the central district of the capital to a suburb - on Kakheti Highway.

The statement published on the website of the ruling party says that the new office was purchased with funds gained by the sale of the previous office.
(Rustavi 2)

Nestan Kirtadze sets up Georgian-Abkhazian and Georgian-Ossetian House

Nestan Kirtadze has set up Georgian-Abkhazian and Georgian-Ossetian House. The above-mentioned statement was made by Kirtadze at a press-conference in the InterpressNews office.

According to Kirtadze, the organization has already been registered at the Justice Ministry.

The main objective of Georgian-Abkhazian and Georgian-Ossetian House is confidence-building between peoples.

The house is going to work in several major areas, namely: restoration of transport, trade and business ties, medical service, student exchange programs, and to establish relations between scientific-creative circles. The organization will also help IDPs visit their ancestors’ graves on religious holidays.

‘We have contacts with Abkhaz and Ossetian citizens of Abkhazeti and Tskhinvali region. Their position gives us hope that the organization will be able to fulfil its function", said Kirtadze.

According to her, they have already informed the embassies and international organizations about the creation of the organization. In addition, a letter was sent to Hillary Clinton's office at the US Department of State.

"The role of the Russian side is very important in this process; so, we will send a letter to the Russian Foreign Ministry through the Swiss Embassy. We want Russian civil society to promote a bilateral dialogue", said Nestan Kirtadze.