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The News in Brief

Thursday, June 5
NATO continues active dialogue with Georgia

NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen is confident the NATO Summit in Wales will appropriately recognize Georgia’s progress. Rasmussen believed the country had made "good progress”, especially in making the defence and security sectors more transparent and accountable."Let me make it clear that we stand by the decision we made at our Bucharest Summit in 2008,” said the Secretary General at the NATO-Georgia Commission with Defence Ministers in Brussels today."Georgia will be a member of NATO, provided that it fulfils the requirements of membership.”

"We look forward to further implementation of reforms and we will continue to assist you in this process,” Rasmussen told Georgia’s Defence Minister Irakli Alasania. He noted Alliance Foreign Ministers would discuss Georgia’s aspirations to join NATO at their meeting later this month. Rasmussen could not say for certain if Georgia would receive a Membership Action Plan (MAP) but said he was "confident that our next summit will recognize Georgia’s progress".

The NATO leader said the crisis caused by Russia’s aggression against Ukraine had repercussions for Georgia, its region and Euro-Atlantic security."NATO Allies do not, and will not, recognize Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea. And neither do we accept Russia’s recognition of the South Ossetia and Abkhazia regions of Georgia as independent states,” Rasmussen said. NATO headquarters in Belgium hosted a meeting attended by Defence Ministers of member and partner countries of the Alliance on June 3-4. Alasania was one of the meeting participants. There, Ministers reviewed collective defence measures in the wake of the Russia-Ukraine crisis and discussed preparations for the upcoming NATO summit in Wales. During his time abroad, Alasania held bilateral meetings with his British, Ukrainian, Danish, Belgian and Turkish counterparts. Alasania was also expected to attend the meeting of the North Atlantic Council with non-NATO ISAF Contributing Nations with other Defence Ministers. (

Initiating Baku-Batumi charter flights is under discussion

Baku-Batumi charter flights may be initiated this summer, head of the Georgian National Tourism Administration Giorgi Sigua told Azerbaijani journalists.

"Some tour operators intend to initiate these flights and negotiate on this issue with the airlines," he added. "Currently, 90 percent of Azerbaijani tourists cross the Georgian border by car."

One can reach Batumi from Baku by transit through Tbilisi.

A fast train operates from Tbilisi to Batumi twice a day. Travel time is 4.5 hours. Moreover, Georgian Airways make Tbilisi-Batumi flights worth 50 euros daily.

"Over one million Azerbaijani tourists visited Georgia in 2013," Sigua said.

"We consider Azerbaijan as a very important tourist market," he said. (

Statement by the CEC

The Central Election Commission of Georgia has discussed the initiative of the head of the election headquarters of the Georgian Dream Coalition, Vice PM Kakha Kaladze, who addressed the CEC following the allegations of some opposition candidates about political pressure, which made them recall their candidacies. Kaladze proposes to initiate the legislative amendments, according to which the whole list of candidates of a political party will be removed by the CEC if even one candidate recalls a candidacy.

The CEC Chairperson Tamar Zhvania has made a special statement after the CEC discussed the GD proposal.

`There are individual applications submitted to the Election Administration by electoral candidates, where they talk about specific facts of intimidation that eventually resulted in them revoking their candidacies. This process is dangerous, as it can cause annulment of several party lists. Non-governmental organizations and other election stakeholders have made multiple statements on similar facts that have occurred lately.

This process presents a threat to equal electoral environment and can harm the election process at large.

I urge all relevant agencies to take measures to investigate and prevent similar facts of intimidation of election candidates. It is worth noting that the Election Administration will officially submit all the materials at hand to the law enforcement agencies for their immediate response, ` Tamar Zhvania said. (Rustavi 2)

Heavy rain claims a local’s life in the village Dviri

Heavy rain has claimed a man’s life in the village Dviri. As locals say, the river Sakirula flooded late Murman Lomsadze’s yard and swept the owner away.

The flooded river also inflicted serious damage on the local’s houses, land and the roads of the village.

As Borjomi Municipality Governor Dimitri Beridze claims, work to protect the villages Tadzrisi, Sakire and Dvali from impending fatal danger is underway. (ipn)