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The News in Brief

Tuesday, March 6
Minister of Foreign Affairs raises issue of Georgian monastery during visit to Israel

Minister of Foreign Affairs Grigol Vashadze has officially raised the issue of Jerusalem’s Monastery of the Cross during his visit to Israel, Deputy Foreign Minister Nino Kalandadze announced Monday.

Prior media reports suggested that the Israeli Foreign Ministry was unaware of Georgia’s interest in the historically Georgian monastery, however Kalandadze said there was some misunderstanding.

"A misunderstanding had taken place. Preparatory efforts had been launched in Georgia and we were going to notify relevant persons about it," she said.

On February 25, President Mikheil Saakashvili spoke about the return of the monastery in an address to the National Academy of Defence. He said that a specially-created group is working to buy the site.

The President also said that Georgia’s embassy in Israel is involved in the case, and has had close contact with the government.

“We are grateful to the employees of the government of Israel, for saving Georgian sacred objects kept in the Monastery of the Cross. I raised the issues during my first visit to Israel. Now the issue must be raised to return the Monastery of the Cross to Georgia and the Georgian Church. Georgian prayers must be delivered there. It must be part of the Georgian Church, and Georgian culture, as it has been for centuries,” he maintained.

Drug addict reintegration project underway

At the initiation of the Minister of Internal Affairs a reintegration project for former drug addicts will be carried out.

"The project is aimed at assisting those persons who wish to be absolutely cured of drug addiction,” the Ministry press service told InterpressNews, noting that participation in the project is voluntary.

Saakashvili visits new hospital in Akhmeta

President Mikheil Saakashvili visited Akhmeta, Kakheti and toured a new hospital, together with the Minister of Health Care of Belarus and medical specialists.

The hospital, equipped in accordance with European standards, was constructed by the Imedi L insurance company, within the framework of the government’s program of hospital development.

The hospital opened February 17 and has already served over 200 patients, including birthing 30 children. The hospital can serve 20 patients simultaneously, and has a staff of over 100 people.

Imedi invested $3.5 million USD in its construction.
(Rustavi 2)

Baramidze visits Landshut military hospital

Giorgi Baramidze, Georgia's Vice-Prime Minister, Ambassador to NATO, and Ambassador to Germany, visited Georgian soldiers at the U.S. military hospital in Landshut, Germany.

He met with soldiers from the Georgian ISAF contingent undergoing medical treatment at the hospital, and presented them with gifts.

Baramidze also met with the Director and doctors of the hospital, and was briefed on the conditions of the soldiers. The Minister invited the staff to visit Georgia.

Soldiers serving in the 31st Battalion in Afghanistan within the NATO-led ISAF security operation have been undergoing medical treatment at the hospital. Landshut is the largest and most significant U.S. military medical facility outside the country’s borders.