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The News in Brief

Friday, June 21
Georgia to take part in World Bank forum in Berlin

Georgian Minister for the Environment and Natural Resources Khatuna Gogaladze is participating in the 11th "Questions for Leaders: Business and Politics as a Force to Promote Inclusion and Sustainable Development" forum organized by the World Bank in Berlin, which began on June 20th.

The forum is expected to bring together more than 100 leaders, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel and German Minister of Economic Cooperation and Development Dirk Niebel, as well as academics, representatives from the private sector and NGO's. Angela Merkel and Dirk Niebel are scheduled to give a press conference at the forum.

Khatuna Gogaladze is one of the speakers and a co-host of the plenary session. Her meeting with high-level representatives of the German Federal Ministry of Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety is scheduled for June 21st.

The main theme of the forum is the role of government in the development of business and the economy, the protection of natural resources, reducing gas emissions and overcoming poverty. Among other issues, the forum participants attach importance to the political processes ongoing in Georgia, the process of developing 'green' business strategies, and improving the efficiency and competitiveness of production.

In the next 30 years the world's population is expected to increase from 7 billion to 9 billion, which will put huge strains on the existing level of agricultural production, energy and natural resources. Climate change poses a threat to the achievements of economic development. In order to overcome existing problems, the joint efforts of world leaders are required. (Trend)

Ivanishvili, Vollebaek discuss rights of national minorities

Georgian Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili and OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities Knut Volleb?k discussed the protection of national minorities' rights in Georgia at a meeting held at the Prime Minister's residence on Wednesday. Ivanishvili and Volleb?k also discussed the living conditions of internally displaced people living in Georgia’s occupied regions. Ivanishvili and Volleb?k also discussed the installed wire entanglements across the occupational line in the occupied region of Tskhinvali and the artificial trenches that have been dug there. (Rustavi 2)

Irakli Alasania to visit U.S.

Georgia’s Minister of Defense Irakli Alasania will pay an official visit to the United States on August 19th. Alasania said the U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel invited him and described the visit as "very important". There has not been such a visit for the last 4 years.

"We agreed at the ISAF Ministers’ meeting in Brussels that it’s important to deepen bilateral military relations. These relations concern not only our joint operations in Afghanistan, but also deepening Georgia-U.S. military relations, including helping the Georgian army to be stronger, so we can defend our sovereignty." Alasania said.

The Minister of Defense says that his visit is part of ongoing U.S.-Georgia bilateral strategic cooperation. Alasania emphasized that Georgia must be able to defend itself at a high military level.

"We will have meetings with those departments that have been long involved in training the military forces of our country. This is about political topics too, including the recent congressional resolution, though the visit is devoted to bilateral cooperation in military terms." Irakli Alasania said. (IPN)

Georgia – EU association agreement to make integration irreversible

The conclusion of an agreement on Georgia's association status with the European Union will make the process of integration into the EU irreversible, State Minister of European and Euro-Atlantic Integration Alexi Petriashvili said at a press conference on Wednesday.

According to Petriashvili, the text of the EU association agreement, including a free trade agreement, has been nearly finalized and approved by both sides, excluding some minor points.

He expressed confidence that the initiation of the agreement will take place at the Vilnius Eastern Partnership summit later this year.

"This is an important result. The main text of the association status agreement is nearly finalized, but I will not speak about the details before the end of the negotiations. The principal negotiators are the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Economy who are coordinating this process," Petriashvili said.

He noted that 70 percent of the association status agreement was completed under the previous government, but there were still very important issues that the current government resolved.

"Together with experts who participated in the negotiations under the previous government, we came to an agreement about all the important points." Petriashvili said. (Trend)

Czech Police arrest alleged Georgian crime boss

Czech police have arrested an alleged high-ranking member of a Georgian organized criminal group.

Czech police officials say the 46-year-old man arrested in Prague on June 18th is thought to be a member of the Kutaisi criminal group from Georgia.

His name was not released.

The suspect's arrest was part of an operation against so-called "legal thieves" or organized crime members from countries that were once republics of the former Soviet Union.

In all, 32 suspected members of the Kutaisi group were arrested across the European Union this week.

Some of the detained individuals are accused of taking part in racketeering, conspiracy to murder, and money laundering. (RFE/RL)

First Georgian awarded at Cannes International Creativity Festival

Founder of the Sakideamsheni creative agency Giorgi Popiashvili has become the first Georgian to have been put on the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity shortlist. Popiashvili's project - made for Mercedes-Benz - was selected for two categories in the festival.

The advertisement was released exclusively by the website. (Georgian News)