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The News in Brief

Tuesday, May 15
A telephone conversation between Mikheil Saakashvili and Francois Hollande

President Mikheil Saakashvili conducted a telephone conversation yesterday with newly-elected French President, Francois Hollande.

Saakashvili congratulated Hollande for an election he called "historic" and an electoral campaign that rose interest and hope well beyond French borders. He stressed the common values shared by both nations and the fundamental role of France for Georgia especially and Europe in general.

The French President-elect - whose official inauguration is planned for today - thanked Saakashvili warmly and expressed his strong support for the territorial integrity of Georgia and for its young democracy.

Both leaders insisted on the importance of Franco-Georgian bilateral relations, showed confidence that they would continue to progress at a quick path, and expressed a wish to meet in the near future.
(Rustavi 2)

UNDP official visits Georgia

Haoliang Xu, Deputy Director of the UNDP Regional Bureau for Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), is currently in Georgia from May 14-17.

During his four-day introductory visit, Xu will meet government officials, key donour organisations, and representatives of civil society and the media.

On May 16, the UNDP delegation will visit UNDP project sites in Adjara and meet Chair of the Adjara government, Levan Varshalomidze.

The same day, Xu will travel to Samegrelo, where the UNDP provides social and economic assistance to internally displaced persons. The delegation will visit IDP settlements and the professional college in Poti.

Xu manages UNDP country offices and other field operations in 25 countries in the region of Europe and the CIS. Previously, he served as the UNDP Resident Representative in Kazakhstan.
(The Messenger)

Vashadze visits New York

Minister of Foreign Affairs Grigol Vashadze is in New York through May 19. The Minister will hold meetings at United Nations headquarters to discuss issues of cooperation.

Georgian Language for Further Success continues

A state-funded program conducted by the Ministry of Education and Science, Georgian Language for Further Success, is seeking volunteers to teach the Georgian language to ethnic minorities living in rural areas.

Interested individuals may submit applications to the Ministry. Those with Bachelor's degrees will be paid, and may receive a grant towards a Master's degree after participation in the program.
(Rustavi 2)

Saakashvili comforts losing Georgian football team

President Mikheil Saakashvili attended a U17 football match between the Netherlands and Georgia in Slovenia this past weekend, in which the Georgian team lost 0-2.

“After the game, I went to the footballers and I calmed them down; everyone was depressed. I remembered the match when Tbilisi Dynamo lost against Liverpool by one goal. Old fans remember the match well. Then, everyone was convinced that after this defeat a series of victories would start. There is a defeat after which you feel that the time of victory comes," he said.

"This generation of footballers will be the best," the President continued. "They played the Netherlands with 10 footballers and this means that a new spirit appeared. These boys don’t have a loser’s psychology. I think the main problem before was that they had complexes about everything; the new generation doesn’t have them. The new generation has a different mentally in football and other areas too”.

Diaspora Minister in France to settle Tsereteli dispute

Minister for Diaspora Issues Papuna Davitaia is currently holding negotiations with Georgian Diaspora in France, regarding transfer of the coffin of Mikhako Tsereteli, a prominent Georgian public worker, scientist and politician. The Minister visited his grave in Leuville.

The Diaspora in France is divided on the issue - some support Tsereteli's move back to Georgia, and the opposes it. idea and the other, which is against.

Leuville-sur-Orge, 25km south of Paris, was the refuge of former Georgian President Noe Zhordania and other Georgian political emigres who left the country after the Soviet invasion in 1921. Opponents of the move say that exhuming Tsereteli or any of his contemporaries will contribute to a loss of Georgian history in the city.

Davitaia says that the opinion of his surviving family should be taken into consideration, along with the will of the late politician, who wished to be buried in his homeland.

The government of Georgia has agreed to transfer the grave from France to Georgia and bury Tsereteli in the Mtatsminda Pantheon of Public Workers.
(Rustavi 2)

New Parliament to cost over 130 million GEL

Construction of a new parliament building in Kutaisi is estimated to cost 133.7 million GEL, Minister of Finance Dimitry Gvindadze told InterPressNews. The Minister reports that the legislative complex is being financed by a regional fund.

In 2009, five million GEL was spent on construction, 68 million in 2010, and 60 million in 2011. Gvindadze affirmed that all budget spending in transparent, and construction should be complete by the end of 2012.