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Compiled by Lera Khubunaia
Tuesday, March 13
Government meeting with Ivanov no accident

In an interview with Akhali Taoba, Mamuka Areshidze noted that the Georgian government’s meeting with Sergey Ivanov was intentional.

While there has been no denial from Tbilisi that it has been trying to renew a relationship with Moscow, Areshidze believes that the government has been trying to cover up its meetings with Russian officials.

“The Russian Foreign Ministry’s announcement makes me think this way, because in this announcement, unlike in similar announcements, there is no mention of [negative] steps taken by President Saakashvili’s regime, which is often mentioned by the Russian Foreign Ministry,” said Areshidze. “Therefore, we can say that there are some backstage negotiations between Tbilisi and Moscow that could be the basis for future [closeness]. Of course, these negotiations are very important to me, but more important is, what will these negotiations be about?”

Georgian government officials recently met with Ivanov in Munich, according to Areshidze.

“Things like this do not happen accidentally. Even though I had to meet these types of people during my international symposiums and conferences, who were high standing officials yesterday, but today they represent nothing, still Ivanov is a totally different case," he said, calling the former Russian Foreign Minister a person who possesses "special information and special responsibilities".

“When you meet with him, and especially as a deputy of Georgia, it is difficult to figure out [in what capacity] that person appeared at an international symposium, if not as politician. [It] makes me think that this was wrapped as an international conference,” Areshidze said, implying that the conference was merely a cover-up for a diplomatic meeting.

"The fact that Saakashvili is searching for solutions is normal, but what exchanges will be required and on what [topics]... is interesting and important," he remarked.

Georgian Dream sport policy group led by Levan Kipiani

Georgian Dream has launched a sports-focused policy group in order to address the issue of sports development, Rezonansi reports.

Led by former football player Levan Kipiani, the team "unites all those famous athletes who are appreciated by the public but not by the government," he explained. "This group was created in order to present a real picture of sports development and offer it to political parties. Our door is open to everyone; anyone who wants to can attend our meetings. Georgian sport faces disaster and if there are no rapid changes, nothing will be resolved,” he remarked.

The group includes a mixture of representatives from various sports organizations, including: David Kvachadze, three-time boxing champion in Europe and the USSR; Tamaz Tevzadze, the international sports expert and European handball delegate; Oleg Iadze, the national Sambo team coach and world/European champion in Sambo; Joseph Magalashvili, one of the best Sambo wrestlers of the twentieth century; Alexander Metrevel, the Wimbledon tennis finalist; Mikheil Kavelishvili, football representative; Guram Biganishvili, yachting champion in Europe and the USSR; Maya Azarashvili, a sprinter who won a bronze medal at the Seoul Olympics; Zurab Grdzelidze, champion basketball player; Ramaz Saneblidze, who came in second in the European Regions’ Cup amateur football competition; and Nugzar Kandelaki, coach of Georgia’s young adult baseball team and the country's European team.

“We think that sports should not be defined only by football; there must be a global change toward sports. This is why we decided to unite all different types of sport in order to speak the same language – generally, on the development of sports, and then on problems that face each type of sport,” Kipiani said, noting that most of the major sports federations in Georgia are dominated by government officials.

The group intends to present a strategic direction to the public in the future, which will showcase what they believe sports in Georgia should look like.