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The News in Brief

Friday, February 21
Government confirms Georgian soldiers will serve in Africa

The Government of Georgia has approved of a military contribution to a European Union (EU) rescue mission in the violence-torn Central African Republic.

One hundred Georgian soldiers will be added to the mission, which will begin in May and last for six months.

"The Government of Georgia has discussed the request of the EU to contribute to the mission and a decision was made to send Georgian soldiers to the Central African Republic,” said Georgia’s Minister of Defence Irakli Alasania.

"This is a humanitarian mission implemented in accordance with the United Nations’ resolution,” he said.

Officials discussed the upcoming mission and the decision to send Georgian troops to Africa was supported by the country’s Ministers.

An official invitation for Georgia to contribute came from the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice-President of the European Commission Catherine Ashton.

Alasania said Georgia’s military was among the best in the world.

"The Georgian armed forces are distinguished by their professionalism, combat readiness, and inter-operability with EU and NATO member countries. I believe this mission, like others, will be very successful for Georgia. Our armed forces will perform their duties and come back to Georgia,” Alasania said. (Agenda.Ge)

Figure skater Elene Gedevanishvili in 17th place at Sochi

Georgian figure skater Elene Gedevanishvili Wednesday ended up in 17th place in the first round of the Sochi Olympic Games.

The 24-year old competed in the short program against 30 athletes at Iceberg Skating Palace.

Gedevanishvili received 54.70 points from the jury. That was enough to get in among the 24 competitors who will participate in the free program on February 20.

The first place in the short program went to South Korean Yuna Kim, who scored 74.92 points. She won in the 2010 Winter Olympics.

Also Wednesday, two Georgians competed in the giant slalom, but without success. Aleksandre Beniadze and Iason Abramishvili could not end the first race. They will participate in the slalom on February 22.

The first Georgian athlete who competed in the Sochi Olympics was Nino Tsiklauri, who finished 49th in the giant slalom on February 18.

These four sportsmen decided to compete in the Sochi Olympics, though part of the Georgian public are against their athletes participating at Sochi, because of the situation with Russia propping up two breakaway regions with money and military bases. Sochi lies only 35 km from Abkhazia. (Democracy & Freedom Watch)

Azerbaijani, Georgian, Turkish FMs meet in Ganja

The Foreign Ministers of Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Turkey met in the Azerbaijani city of Ganja on February 19 for what was the third trilateral ministerial since 2012 when the format was launched in Trabzon.

After the meeting, the foreign ministers announced their readiness to start preparation for a summit of the Azerbaijani, Georgian, and Turkish Presidents, expected in May in Tbilisi.

“It was the initiative of the Georgian President to hold the first [trilateral] meeting at the level of presidents in Tbilisi in May,” Georgian Foreign Minister Maia Panjikidze said.

Georgian President Giorgi Margvelashvili visited Turkey in January and held talks with the Azerbaijani leadership in Baku on February 12.

Speaking at a joint press conference after the meeting in Ganja, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said that the three countries have “problem-free” relations.

The foreign ministers agreed to hold the next trilateral meeting later this year.

Also on February 19, the three foreign ministers participated in a ceremony of opening the Georgian consulate general in Ganja. (Civil.Ge)

PM Gharibashvili discusses Georgia’s obligations with OSCE representatives

Prime Minister of Georgia Irakli Gharibashvili held an evening meeting with an official from the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) last night.

PM Gharibashvili and the OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities (HCNM) Astrid Thors discussed how Georgia would fulfill its obligations towards the EU while being a part of the European Commission.

PM Gharibashvili thanked Thors for the organisation’s support and expressed his hope that cooperation between the two parties would continue into the future.

The meeting, held at the Chancellery building of the Georgian Government, was attended by OSCE HCNM Personal Advisor Sirpa Rautio, HCNM Senior Legal Adviser Vincent de Graaf, HCNM Senior Political Advised Kaupo Kand and the manager of the national program in Georgia, Nino Gogoladze. (Agenda.Ge)

Georgian government gives new homes to refugees

543 refugee families have been given apartments for one lari a piece from the government.

Refugee Minister Davit Darakhvelidze said on Thursday that the apartments are in Tbilisi, Rustavi, Mtskheta, Borjomi, Chiatura, Kutaisi, Tskaltubo, and Batumi.

According to Darakhvelidze, 1635 families were given apartments last year, and the government plans to donate living quarters to several thousand refugee families this year.

According to data from the Refugee Ministry, there are 88 499 registered refugee families in Georgia. (Democracy & Freedom Watch)

Patriarchate of Georgia comments on the events in Ukraine

The Administration of the Patriarch of Georgia has released a special statement on the situation in Ukraine, where the number of victims has increased by up to 28 people during the past few days’ clashes and strikes between the riot police and the demonstrators.

“The processes in Ukraine prove once against how unstable peace is in the world. It is clear for everybody that these developments are really very dangerous, because so many people were killed and injured at EuroMaidan. We convey our sincere condolences to the families of the victims of this tragedy, including the family of our citizen, Zurab Khurtsia. We believe that the parties should make proper steps to discharge the situation in the country,” the statement says. (Rustavi 2)

Georgia ready to study successful economic experience of other countries

Georgian President Giorgi Margvelashvili met on Wednesday with the World Bank (WB) Regional Director for the South Caucasus: Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia, Henry Kerali and WB Chief Economist, Hans Timmer.

The guests first were familiarized with the "Georgia 2020" socio-economic development strategy.

The Georgian president's administration told Trend that the parties discussed challenges faced by the country's economy.

They also discussed cooperation between Georgia and the WB within the new strategy.

The cooperation in economic development and exchange of experience among countries were also discussed.

Hans Timmer stated that the meeting discussed a wide range of issues.

"The talks covered examples of economically successful countries. We saw the willingness of the Georgian president to use the experience of other states, which is encouraging," Timmer said. (Trend)

Remnants of giant animal found in Georgia

Bones and teeth of a giant animal have been found by Georgian Gurjaani municipality's culture and national heritage service director, Tamaz Markozashvili, in Vejini village in Kakheti region, eastern Georgia.

Markozashvili found the animal's remnants while taking pictures of historical monuments together with other specialists.

"Our attention was drawn to a place eroded by water; there we have found bones, skull fragments and teeth of an ancient animal. I do not know what kind of animal it was and to what age the remnants belong. I believe it is an extinct mammal," Markozashvili said.

The remnants have been taken to Gurjaani and will soon be transferred to the National Museum of Georgia to be studied there. (Trend)