The messenger logo

The News in Brief

Tuesday, March 4
Ukraine crisis postpones EU officials’ Georgian visit

An emergency assembly of European Union foreign leaders to discuss the Ukraine crisis has impacted on Georgia.

French and German Foreign Ministers were due to spend two days in Georgia but their visit has been postponed due to the tense developments in Ukraine.

It is still unclear how long the joint visit of Frenchman Laurent Fabius and Germany's Frank-Walter Steinmeier will be delayed. The pair's visit was scheduled for March 3 and 4.

Instead of coming to Georgia, the officials and other EU Foreign Ministers have been summoned to critically discuss the situation in Ukraine, where Russian troops have begun to establish a presence in Crimea. The assembly was held in Brussels.

A planned visit of EU Commissioner for Enlargement and Neighbourhood Policy, Stefan Fuele, has also been postponed by 24 hours for the same reason.

Fuele will also attend the meeting in Brussels and will arrive in Georgia on March 4. Within the framework of his visit, the EU Commissioner will meet with the Georgian President, Prime Minister, Speaker of Parliament, members of the Government and representatives of the opposition and civil sector.

Ilia II to pray for peace in Ukraine

The Catholicos-Patriarch of Georgia Ilia the Second will pray for peace in Ukraine, as he stated at today’s service at St. Trinity temple.

“You know that relations have tense between Russia and Ukraine. We will pray for peace in their relations,” the Patriarch declared.

Tbilisi City Council March 7 makes last attempt to pass budget

Tbilisi City Council will hold a special session on March 7 to once more put the city’s 2014 budget bill to a vote. City Hall has sent a draft budget to the council for the fourth time, but the council failed to approve it.

The capital has remained without a budget bill since January.

City Hall sent a new draft budget on Friday. Head of the council, Irakli Shikhiashvili, said they will get familiar with the bill before voting.

Under Georgian legislation, if the council fails to approve the budget by March 11, both the city’s executive government and the elected council will be dissolved, and the central government will take over the management of the capital.
(Democracy & Freedom Watch)

Court upholds pretrial detention for ex-warlord

Tbilisi City Court ordered on March 1 to hold a former warlord, Emzar Kvitsiani, who was arrested in Tbilisi airport on February 28 upon arrival from Moscow, in pretrial detention.

Kvitsiani led a paramilitary group and was in charge of upper Kodori gorge in Abkhazia (only territory controlled by Georgia) before being ousted from there by government forces in 2006 after he declared defiance to the authorities in Tbilisi.

Pretrial detention for Kvitsiani, who had been wanted by Georgia, was ordered by the court in his absentia in 2006 and 2007 and those decisions were upheld by the Tbilisi City Court on March 1.

Kvitsiani’s defense lawyer argued there was no need for holding his client in pretrial detention as he himself arrived in the country. But the prosecution argued that Kvitsiani “arrived not on his own free will” but had to return because he was “deported”.

Body of deceased captain Levan Tebidze brought to Georgia

The body of the deceased captain of the ship Stela, which sunk in the Aegean Sea, was brought to Georgia, an InterPressNews correspondent reports from Batumi.

According to the wife of Captain Levan Tebidze, Greek rescuers found the captain’s body on 30 November. Identification of the body took two months.

“The DNA analysis showed that the deceased individual’s body was my husband. His body has been brought to Georgia,” she said.

The ship Stela with 6 people on board sunk in the Aegean Sea on 2 November 2013. Five people survived, while Levan Tebidze had been missing for several months.

Former Deputy Minister fights dismissal and launches lawsuit

Former first Deputy Minister of Culture Marine Mizandari will appeal to the Civil Court against an official decision to terminate her employment.

The lawsuit is being filed against Georgia’s Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili and Culture Minister Guram Odisharia.

Mizandari will be represented by Sulkhan Saladze - an attorney of Young Lawyer’s Association.

Saldadze said the appeal demanded to annul the PM-ordered documents that confirmed Mizandari’s dismissal.

The lawyer said none of the decisions made by the Minister of Culture and the Prime Minister were "legally justified”.

Mizandari was dismissed from her role as the country’s first Deputy Minister of Culture on February 10, by the decree of the PM. The official reason of her dismissal was disobedience and personal incompatibility with the Minister.

But Mizandari believed she was let go following disagreements with Odisharia on several issues including the Sakdrisi Gold Mine case and the Ministry’s human resources policy.

Georgian water polo team to compete in Europe Championship final

Georgia's national water polo team is moving to new heights after winning the playoff and being accepted into the final stage of the European Championship for the first time in the team’s existence.

The Georgian team gained a victory in a two-match play-off with a score of 17:16, which saw them win the right to play in the final stage of the competition.

The Georgian athletes were involved in a dramatic game in Istanbul against the Turkish team on Saturday and achieved the desired result.

Last time the two teams challenged each other, Georgia won 8:4. This meant they needed not to lose by no more than three points in the game.

The game between the teams was very intense and ended in a Turkish victory of 12 points to 9, but Georgia took the lead by 17:16 in total of both games.

The Championship will host the 12 best teams of the continent and will be held in Hungary on July 14 to 27.