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The News in Brief

Thursday, July 25
Georgia-EU negotiations on free trade agreement concluded

According to an official report, the EU and Georgia have successfully concluded negotiations on Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement (DCFTA), which in particular is a part of the Association Agreement.

The Association Agreement alongside with the DCFTA will contribute to a political association and Georgia's economic integration into the EU, the report said.The report also notes that a comprehensive free trade zone, on which the agreement was reached within 17 months and seven rounds, will give Georgian products greater possibilities in accessing the EU market. (Trend)

Salome Zourabichvili cannot yet participate in Presidential Elections

The former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Georgia, Salome Zourabichvili, cannot take part in the presidential elections. According to the Article 29 of the Constitution of Georgia, a person who is also a citizen of another country is not eligible to be the president, prime minster, or the chairperson of the Parliament of Georgia.

“An official application from Salome Zourabichvili presenting her as a presidential candidate has not entered the Central Election Commission (CEC) yet, though in cases of dual citizenship, the CEC decision will be in compliance with the law,” CEC speaker, Eka Azarashvili, said.

According to the official data, 23 individuals have expressed the desire to register as a presidential candidate, 2 of which were denied. Three of the candidates were represented by a political party and the rest by initiative groups.

As the CEC explains, no candidate has been officially registered yet. “The process of registering candidates will be over on September 27. We’ll know by that time who will officially run for the presidency,” Azarashvili explained. The general-public discussion commission discussed the draft of constitutional changes now regarding the issue of eligibility of citizens with dual citizenship to be president of Georgia, Prime Minister or chairperson of parliament. (IPN)

Georgian-Russian Patriarchs meet in Russia

Ilia II, the Catholicos-Patriarch of Georgia, met with Russian Patriarch Kirill in the frames of his visit to Moscow with regard to the 1,025 anniversary of the Epiphany of Russia.

“We have to do many things. When I say the word “we”, I mean the united Orthodox Church, which is inseparable. Our borders were drafted by history and not by ideology. Therefore, we are meeting each other as brothers who are serving the united Orthodox Church,” Patriarch Kirill said. Ilia II will meet with Vladimir, Metropolitan of Kiev and Metropolitan Filaret of Minsk and Slutsk, the Patriarchal Exarch of All Belarus. Within the framework of the visit, His Holiness will meet with Vladimir Putin on July 25. (Front News)

Georgian PM meets with group of foreign investors

Georgian Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili met with a group of foreign investors.

The Prime Minister's press-service said that the meeting was held at Ivanishvili's business residence. The representatives of the Georgian partnership fund attended it. The PM briefed the guests on the investment environment in Georgia, the tax system and the reforms planned in terms of promoting business development were discussed. (Trend)

Additional train launched in Georgia in direction of Black Sea resorts

JSC Georgian Railway added a new train consisting of four coaches on the Tbilisi-Makhinjauri-Tbilisi route, in order to solve the problem of the shortage of train tickets that arose as a result of an increase in passenger traffic in the direction of Georgian Black sea resorts.

Thus, JSC Georgian Railway can offer the passengers an additional 300 seats. The train will be departing from Tbilisi at 07:30, and will arrive in Makhinjauri at 12:52. The train will be returning at 17:40 and arrive in Tbilisi at 22:55. (Trend)

Tsulukiani says the new government has nothing to do with throwing stones

The new government has nothing to do with throwing stones, Justice Minister Tea Tsulukiani said while making a comment on the Zugdidi and Batumi incidents. According to her, the Georgian Dream, as a political coalition and the government of Georgia, dissociated itself from the incident. “We should put an end to the shameful facts like the Zugdidi and Batumi incidents as soon as possible. The Georgian Dream, as a political coalition and the government of Georgia, dissociated itself from the incident, because the new government has nothing against its opponents' different opinions,” Tsulukiani said, adding any party should be given the opportunity to meet supporters in a democratic society. (IPN)

NGOs Address EU

NGOs appeal to EU to increase efforts against the Russian federation policy in Georgia/region. The Georgian National Platform addressed the EU’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Catherine Ashton, and EU Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighborhood Policy, Stefan Fule on July 22.

In the statement, the NGOs ask the EU to increase efforts in Georgia’s regions against Russian policy, which is deliberately making rules for crossing the administrative boundary more difficult and is constructing insurmountable barriers and barbed wire fences.

The statement highlights the policy carried out by the Russian federation in the Abkhazian autonomous republic and former South Ossetian district, which is a blatant violation of international justice and sovereignty of the country.

The address gives the facts about what has been carried out by the Russian military forces in the territory, including ethnic cleansing and repressions in case of “violation of so called border regime” by the locals.

The signatories of the letter hope the EU has tangible levers to resist the Russian Federation’s deceptive policy.

The letter is signed by 64 organizations. (IPN)

Andrey Makarevich’s jazz transformations in Batumi

The Batumi Art Center hosted a concert by Andrey Makarevich titled “Jazz Transformations”. The popular Russian singer presented a two-hour program of Jazz compositions. Makarevich told reporters after the event the audience in Batumi was “warm” and his band had done everything for them. The event took place in frames of the VI International Poetry Festival. (Georgian News)