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The News in Brief

Wednesday, December 5
Candidate for Chief of Joint Staff of Georgian introduced

Georgia`s Defense Minister, Mr. Irakli Alasania, has introduced Colonel Irakli Dzneladze as the new candidate for the Chief of Joint Staff of the Georgian Armed Forces. As reported, the new candidate was selected as a result of consultations between the defense minister and the president of Georgia.

At the first meeting held yesterday, the defense minister gave the first commission to Colonel Dzneladze - to start preparations for the NATO Military Committee meeting, which is scheduled to take place in Georgia in 2013.

The committee meeting was scheduled to take place in November 2012. However, it was cancelled due to the detention of the Chief of Joint Staff of the Georgian Armed Forces. (Rustavi 2)

Georgian Justice Minister on ex-PM`s fake passport case

Georgian Justice Minister Ms. Tea Tsulukiani has commented on the questioning of former Interior Minister Vano Merabishvili regarding allegations over using a fake passport and attempting to cross the state border.

Ms. Tea Tsulukiani said it was the correct decision not to detain Merabishvili, because he was accompanying the president and commander-in-chief of Georgia.

The minister is convinced the investigation will ascertain the truth.

"Merabishvili was not detained in the airport and was not even kept long because he was accompanying the president and commander-in-chief of our country. Whether or not it was a method for Merabishvili to cross the border more easily, you should ask him. As I know, law-enforcement at the interior ministry became interested in this issue. But the fact is that the interior ministry made the only correct decision not to detain the former prime and interior minister for the simple reason that he was accompanying the president of our country," she said.

Merabishvili was questioned at the interior ministry regarding allegations over using a fake passport and attempting to cross the state border. (Rustavi 2)

Former Head of the Border Department Valeri Chkheidze Returns to Georgia

The former head of the department of Border Defence and intelligence, Valeri Chkheidze, returns to Georgia, InterPressNews was told by the Chkheidze’s family members, the fugitive 64-year-old military man left Georgia in July 2004.

Valerian Chkheidze’s son, Vakhtang Chkheidze, says that his father had to leave Georgia due to the government of the Rose Revolution.

“Valeri Chkheidze was moved from the border to the intelligence department. He says, he thought the government of the Rose Revolution would put Georgia on the right path, but it didn’t happen. The government’s representatives didn’t consider my father’s experience and opinion and went in a different direction. Conflict followed. They started to fabricate filth. Valeri Chkheidze has lived with dignity and he preferred to go away from this government to the Ukraine. Now the time has come for him to return to his homeland,” Vakhtang Chkheidze said.

He says that Valeri Chkheidze will arrive in Georgia on December 5 via a Moscow-Tbilisi flight. (IPN)

U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Meets Minister of Culture Guram Odisharia

The U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs, Bay Fang, met with the Minister of Culture and Monument protection Guram Odisharia yesterday.

The meeting was held at the Ministry of Culture and it was attended by the U.S. ambassador to Georgia, Richard Norland, Head of the public affairs department of the embassy, Michael Turner and culture attache Lola Petrova.

Bay Fang told journalists after the meeting that the main topic of the meeting was to prepare for the meeting of the working commission between the people, which will be held in Washington at the end of the month.

“The meeting will take place in the framework of the U.S.-Georgia strategic partnership charter. We also discussed other fields that we are working on and we want to see progress. We want to use culture as one of the instruments to assist in mutual understanding between the people and deepen our cooperation. It is especially important this year, on the 20th anniversary of U.S.-Georgia diplomatic relations," Fang said.

The Minister of Culture, Guram Odisharia, said that future meetings and events were planned to bring American and Georgian people closer. (IPN)

Georgian writer declared persona non-grata in Azerbaijan

Chairperson of the Georgian Writers Union, Ms. Makvala Gonashvili, has been declared persona non grata in Azerbaijan. On behalf of the foreign ministry of Azerbaijan, spokesperson Elman Abdulaiyev made a harsh statement, which followed Ms. Gonashvili`s arrival in Nagorno-Karabakh.

The visit was negatively assessed by the Writers Union of Azerbaijan as well.

Following the incident, the Georgian Foreign Ministry has called Ms. Gonashvili to refrain from visiting Azerbaijan for a while.

The chairperson of the writers union of Georgia responded to the Azerbaijan`s decision.

"This was not a political meeting. If it had been a political meeting, I`d of course have refrained from it as I know what kind of tension there is between the Azeris and the Armenians now. As it was a merely poetic meeting, I agreed to go. After I returned, there were positive comments regarding my visit from the Armenian side, as well as a strongly negative reaction from the Azeri side.

"It will be very hard, if Azerbaijan`s door is closed for me and I`m declared a person, who`s not able to arrive in Azerbaijan. But it would be much harder for me if my friends, colleagues and those people whom I very much respect won`t understand this," she said.

Makvala Gonashvili was invited to the poetry evening organized by the Young Writers Organization. The event took place in Nagorno-Karabakh on November 16-18, 2012. (Rustavi 2)