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The News in Brief

Friday, February 22
United National Movement to Hold Meeting on Rustaveli Avenue on April 19th

The United National Movement (UNM) invites “Georgia’s patriots” to Rustaveli Avenue on April 19th, the party’s Secretary General Vano Merabishili said at a special briefing today.

He said that Georgia has to make a choice.

“The vague position of the government of Georgia on its foreign policy course gives us reason to gather once again and tell them that our future is Europe. Our plan is to hold a meeting on April 19th at 16:00 on Rustaveli Avenue, in front of the Old Parliament Building. I want to invite all Georgia’s patriots, to show the current government that we are not indifferent to our children’s future. Georgia must not revert to the past, with no democracy and freedom. We want our children to have a guaranteed future, Georgia must not be enslaved." Merabishvili said.

He said UNM leaders will visit the regions and meet with the population of all of Tbilisi's districts to show the government that “the will of people is unwavering and Georgia’s future is in the West, not Russia”. (IPN)

Georgia to sponsor wine tourism conference in Zagreb

Georgia will participate in the 5th International Wine Tourism Conference (IWINETC). The event will take place on March 15th-17th in Zagreb, Croatia.

Deputy Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development Dimitri Kumsishvili said that the event will be attended by representatives of the Ministry of Agriculture of Georgia and the National Tourism Administration. Georgia's National Wine Agency and National Tourism Administration are gold sponsors of Zagreb's conference. Kumsishvili said next year the conference will take place in Georgia.

The report "Wine Tourism Destination Georgia" will be presented by John Wurdeman, owner of Pheasant's Tears winery.

Georgian wine tasting will be held during the conference, scheduled for March 16th. Represented wines will include Kondoli Vineyards Rkatsiteli 2009, Qvevri Traditional Kakhetian, Kisi & Chateau Mukhrani Reserve Du Prince 2007 Saperavi. (Hvino News)

US funds creation of rehab center in Georgia

A centre for rehabilitation and prosthetics for military people has been opened in Georgia.

The Georgian Defense Ministry informed Trend that the project to support and rehabilitate injured soldiers was created by the Defense Ministry with the support of the USA and the Office of Defense Cooperation (ODC).

Georgian solders injured in Afghanistan as part of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) mission will be able to go through a physical, social and psychological rehabilitation course at the clinic which is fully equipped and meets international standards.

U.S. Ambassador in Georgia Richard Norland and Head of the Medical department of Joint Headquarters Vice-Colonel Medea Betashvili visited the Centre for Social Rehabilitation for Persons with Disabilities on Tuesday. (Trend)

Gia Tsagareishvili says reorganization of the Ministry of Environment is underway

Chairman of the Parliamentary Committee on Environment Protection Gia Tsagareishvili said the Ministry of Environment will be reorganized. He said Parliament has to discuss 47 proposed bills. “The Agency of Natural Resources will revert to the Ministry’s authority except for the oil and gas segment.” Tsagareishvili said adding that the Ministry will regain the powers it lost due to the “criminal reform” of the United National Movement’s (UNM) governance. Tsagareishvili emphasized that employees for the new offices will be selected through an open application process. (Netgazeti)

Malashkhia has three proposals for Parliament

UNM MP Shota Malashkhia has asked Parliament to consider three proposals. The first of Malashkhia's proposals is the creation of a state commission which would calculate the damage inflicted from Russia during various conflicts with Georgia in the last 20 years. The commission would then calculate adequate compensation and share the figures with international courts. The second is that every government leaflet or booklet should include the fact the 20% of Georgian territories are occupied, 30,000 people are dead and 40, 000 have become displaced persons as a result of Russia's infringement of Georgian sovereignty. The third is a proposed boycott of the 2014 Winter Olympics to be held in Sochi, Russia. "When 20% of Georgian territories are under occupation and all the principles of the Olympic charter are being violated, Georgia cannot participate in the Olympics...I plan to make these proposals during the next parliamentary session." Malashkhia said. (

Russian experts may arrive in Georgia on February 25th

Russian experts may arrive in Georgia on February 25th to inspect Georgian wine and mineral water companies before Russia accedes to lifting an embargo on Georgian products, Russian Chief Sanitation Doctor Genady Onishchenko has said.

According to Onishchenko, the Russian sanitation agency Rospotrebnadzor is prepared to send three groups of experts to monitor the work and standards of Georgian companies which have expressed their desire to export their products to Russia.

Onishchenko says his agency is now waiting for official confirmation from the Kremlin. If approved 44 Russian experts will arrive in Georgia next week. The delegation will stay in the country until March 1st. (Rustavi 2)

Moscow Court Sentences Givi Targamadze to Imprisonment

A court in Moscow has sentenced Georgian MP Givi Targamadze to imprisonment in absentia, the Russian media reports.

According to reports, Givi Targamadze was officially declared wanted by Moscow Police. The Georgian politician has been accused of plotting mass disorder in Moscow and has been added to the electronic data base of wanted individuals.

Russia’s Investigative Committee issued an international search warrant for Givi Targamadze. The investigative committee declared Givi Targamadze guilty of organizing mass disorder on Russian territory in coordination with the leftist front leader Sergey Udaltsov and his accomplice Leonid Razvozhayev.

The Georgian government has responded that Givi Targamadze will not be extradited to Russia if requested to do so by Moscow. (IPN)

Parliament confirms nine new ambassadors

Nine ambassadorial nominations, among them candidates for diplomatic posts in Washington, Paris, Brussels and Rome, were confirmed by Parliament on February 20th.

The new ambassadorial nominations were made by President Saakashvili, as required by law, but the candidates were actually selected by the new government led by Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili.

Foreign policy analyst Archil Gegeshidze has been confirmed with 82 votes as Georgia’s ambassador to the United States. A few hours before the new ambassadors were confirmed by Parliament, Georgian Foreign Minister Maia Panjikidze praised the ambassadorial nominees as “high level professionals” and added that the Foreign Ministry’s decision to replace some of the ambassadors was “right.” She also said that she was not satisfied with the work of those ambassadors who had been recalled; she said without specifying further that some of them were not following instructions received from the Foreign Ministry. (