The messenger logo

The News in Brief

Tuesday, May 20
One more Georgian detained on disputed South Ossetian border

Russian soldiers on Sunday detained Otar Kokoshvili, 54, from the village Tamarasheni, near Kareli. He was taken to a detention facility in Tskhinvali, a central town in the breakaway region South Ossetia.

According to his relatives, Kokoshvili was out tending to cattle when he was detained. They also say that Otar did not cross the border and the pasture field where he was detained lies about 300-400 meters away from a sign warning that here is where South Ossetia starts.

A relative who was with Kokoshvili managed to escape and later told journalists that he and Otar did not notice that the Russians approached them from the other side.

Leila Koskoshvili, wife of the detainee, told Channel 1 that no-one from the de facto government has contacted them, but they learned that Otar is in the Tskhinvali isolator from relatives inside South Ossetia.

There are currently two Georgian citizens detained in Tskhinvali. In May, 2014 more than 20 Georgians have been detained by Russians. The majority of them were taken while picking jonjoli, or bladdernut, a plant used for food which may be sold in the markets and is an important source of income for people in the area.
(Democracy & Freedom Watch)

Italy cancels “friendship agreement” with Georgia’s occupied territories

Italian authorities are revoking a ‘friendship agreement’ between Italy and small cities in Abkhazia, an occupied territory of Georgia, Georgia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs says.

The Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs sent an official letter to Tbilisi stating a mutual agreement, signed earlier this month between the Abkhazian towns of Sokhumi, Bichvinta, Akhali Atoni and Italy, did not reflect the truth and the agreement would be terminated.

"The Italian side has already demanded the cancellation of the documents,” said deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Davit Zalkaliani at a press conference today.

Zalkaliani believed these kinds of documents did not reflect the official position of Italy.

"Such cases are mostly done for propagandistic purposes. Georgia will take all measures to prevent occasions,” he said.

Earlier this month the de-facto government of Abkhazia announced a friendship agreement had been signed between Italy and Sokhumi.

Prime Minister says Europe has the same attitude towards family as Georgia

Prime Minister of Georgia Irakli Gharibashvili said in his recent address to Zugdidi locals that Europe has the same attitude to family as in Georgia.

“We have common values with Europe. They have the same attitude towards family as we have in Georgia. Family is the most sacred and respected for us, and we most of all cherish family traditions and values,” Prime Minister said stressing that human rights are protected in Georgia.

“We have to work hard to live like our people deserve. Very soon we will sign and become an EU associated member. This will benefit each person, you will be able to travel in European countries visa free and this will be a great advantage for you. It will be the biggest stimulus for our country,” he stated.

Protests in support of ‘the invisibles’

Several protest events were organized in the streets of Tbilisi on Sunday to express support for gays, lesbians and other sexual minorities.

This followed Friday’s massive rallies by conservative groups, who marked the newly announced Day of Family Values, instead of International Day Against Homophobia.

The first one was called ‘Protest for invisibles and against invisibility’ and started Sunday morning, lasting until evening.

It consisted of an installation on Pushkin Square in the center of Tbilisi. Hundreds of pairs of shoes were brought and put on the square, with description and explanations on notes attached to trees.

The notes say the protest is against invisibility for those who aren’t visible and their voice is not heard; those who cannot leave their homes or are being followed and have been resettled by governments, banks, families and those who work in vain or are hungry.

Another rally named ‘I am Here against Homophobia’ was a protest expressed in notes attached to different places in the capital.

Different messages were printed on pieces of paper with a rainbow symbol in the corner.

“I cannot find a reason to justify your hatred”, “89 percent of Georgia’s LGBT community has been victims of psychological pressure at least once for the last two years,” – these and other messages were written on the notes.
(Democracy & Freedom Watch)

Governmental delegation to visit Brussels on May 21

Georgian governmental delegation chaired by Prime Minister Irakli Gharibashvili will visit Brussels on May 21 to hold meetings with the Collegiums of the European Commissioners in an enlarged format. Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Georgia Davit Zalkaliani reported the details of the scheduled meeting at the press conference today. He said the negotiations of similar scales have not been held in the process of Georgia`s European integration so far.

Within the visit, Prime Minister Irakli Gharibashvili will hold a meeting with the President of the European Commission. A plenary session will be also held with the participation of European commissioners, Georgian Ministers and their deputies. The session will be followed by a joint press conference by PM and the President of the European Commission Jose Manuel Barroso.

During the press conference, the sides will sign an agreement on allocation of 19 million EURO assistance to Georgia within the EU comprehensive institutional development program.
(Rustavi 2)