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The News in Brief

Wednesday, June 5
Mikheil Saakashvili meets with James Appathurai

Georgia’s President Mikheil Saakashvili met with Deputy Assistant Secretary General for Political Affairs and Security Policy and NATO Secretary General’s Special Representative for the Caucasus and Central Asia, James Appathurai.

According to the president’s administration, the main topic of the meeting was Georgia’s integration into NATO. Mikheil Saakashvili and James Appathurai also discussed the scheduled visit of the North Atlantic Council (NAC) to Georgia.

After opening NATO Week in Georgia with the Georgian State Minister for Euro-Atlantic Integration, Aleksi Petriashvili, Appathurai also met with Georgia’s Prime Minister, Bidzina Ivanishvili and representatives of the government.

NATO Week will be held in Georgia from 3-10 June. (Front News)

Georgian Foreign Minister holds meetings in U.S.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Georgia, Maia Panjikidze, is on a visit to the United States. The minister met with representatives of various countries at the UN headquarters to support a resolution on Georgia which includes the right for the return of refugees to their homes in Georgia's breakaway territories. The resolution will be discussed at the UN General Assembly on June 13.

On June 5, Panjikidze will meet with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, the Assistant Secretary General for political issues and the High Commissioner for Human Rights in New York. The main topics of the meeting will be the future prospects of the relations between Georgia and the United Nations, as well as the organization's role in the settlement of the conflict between Georgia and Russia.

The foreign minister will discuss with the UN high representatives the situation in the occupied territories including the process of establishing the barbed wire border on Georgian territory.

On June 4, the Georgian Foreign Minister met with the acting U.S. Trade Representative, Miriam Sapiro, to discuss the important topics of trade and economic relations between the two countries, including issues related to trade and investment dialogue in Washington, as well as held a meeting with the U.S. Deputy Secretary of State, Eric Rubin. It is planned to meet with members of the Senate and the House of Representatives, as well as the National Security Council. (Trend)

Georgian Troops in Kabul Placed Under U.S. Command

A Georgian platoon that served in Kabul as part of the ISAF mission under French command will continue their service in the Afghan capital under U.S. command, as French troops gradually pull out of Afghanistan.

The Georgian Defense Ministry said on Monday that a Georgian unit of up to 50 soldiers was redeployed from Camp Warehouse to Camp Phoenix, which is used primarily by the U.S. forces involved in the training of the Afghan army.

Like at Camp Warehouse, “providing security” of the base is the Georgian troops’ main task at the Camp Phoenix, MoD said.

Two Georgian infantry battalions serve alongside with the U.S. Marines in Helmand province in southern Afghanistan. (Civil.Ge)

UNM to Name Presidential Candidate in 10 days

The United National Movement (UNM) will name its presidential candidate in 10 days, "and we are not going to hold a primary," Giorgi Vashadze stated at a press conference for First Radio.

“After the party’s Secretary General Vano Merabishvili was detained, the party’s plans have been changed. We will agree on a presidential candidate,” Vashadze said, stressing the UNM will not hold a primary.

Vashadze thinks that the Presidential candidate of Georgian Dream is rather weak and the candidate of the UNM will have serous chances.

“They try to defeat the UNM through detentions of our party members and intimidation. They want to remove the party from political life and replace it with a state-run opposition”, Vashadze said. (IPN)

Village Kabali, Lagodekhi Region Significantly Damaged by Strong Rain

The village Kabali of the Lagodekhi region has been damaged by strong rain and wind. The disaster destroyed hundreds of green houses. The locals are asking for help, otherwise the farmers will not be able to pay their loans. The wind blew off the roofs of several houses in Lagodekhi, ripped down the trees and damaged electricity transmission lines, which caused the suspension of electricity. It is not known when the disaster’s damage will be calculated. The village of Erisimedi was also damaged by the wind. (IPN)

Zurab Abashidze leaves for Prague

The Georgian PM’s Special Representative for Relations with Russia, Zurab Abashidze, left for Prague where he will meet with Deputy Foreign Minister of Russia, Gregory Karasin, in the Czech Republic on June 5.

Issues like visa regime liberation by Russia and humanitarian issues will be discussed at this meeting. In addition, the sides will discuss the issue of the installation of wire fences across the Tskhinavali regions' occupation line. (Front News)

Gudiashvili’s “Temptation” sold for GBP 782,500 at Sotheby

Georgian painter Lado Gudiashvili’s Temptation was sold for GBP 782,500 at a Sotheby Auction in London. According to the official page of Sotheby Auction, the initial price of the painting was GBP 400-600,000. The work by the Georgian painter was exhibited on behalf of Russian art in the framework of “Russian Art Week”. Gudiashvili painted “Temptation” in 1921 in Paris; later giving it to the actress Nino Nikoladze. On November 26, 2012, Gudiashvili’s “Black Stream” was sold at Sotheby auction for GBP 937,000, which is considered the most expensively painting ever sold by a Georgian painter. (IPN)

Hundreds of Georgians rally for legalization of Marijuana

Hundreds of Georgians have rallied in downtown Tbilisi to demand the legalization of marijuana.

A majority of the protesters rallying in front of the old parliament building on June 3 were young people.

Many were wearing green shirts and holding posters and placards calling on authorities to "stop jailing people for smoking weed."

The protesters said they were not advertising marijuana but protecting the personal freedom of those who smoke it.

Labor, Health-Care, and Social Protections Minister David Sergeyenko said in a televised statement last week that his ministry was discussing the possible legalization of marijuana with Georgia's Justice Ministry. (RFE/RL)