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The News in Brief

Tuesday, October 21
Alasania: Georgia won’t allow Russian pressure to halt hosting NATO training center

Georgia will never bow to Russian diktat, Georgia’s Defence Minister Irakli Alasania says.

Alasania spoke about his country’s current relations with Russia in an interview with international news agency Reuters. He also touched upon the issue of Ukraine and divulged details of conducting joint military exercises with NATO member states in Georgia.

The Minister said Georgia would not allow pressure from Russia to stop it hosting a NATO training centre on its territory or deter its plans to deepen ties with the West.

"Confrontation with Russia should be avoided. Georgia needs stability. But we will never bow to the Russians, [...] to a 'diktat' from Russia on what is better for Georgia," Alasania said.

When speaking about Ukraine, Alasania - Georgia's former envoy to the United Nations (UN) and Defence Minister since 2012 – said Georgia wanted Ukraine to be successful and in this regard, Georgia saw Russia's actions as the main threat to the security of the region.

The Georgian Minister also touched upon NATO-Georgia relations and said his country’s cooperation would include hosting a training centre with the Alliance.

"This centre will be jointly operated by NATO and Georgia and it's going to be an additional layer of security and defensive capability for Georgia," he said.

"It will be a Georgia-owned facility but planning will be jointly done with NATO."

Alasania said NATO advisers would also help set up a separate logistical centre to facilitate the training centre, with NATO member states covering the bulk of the expenses for the creation of centers as well as the training and exercises.

Georgia's Armed Forces would receive further support from the Alliance by having senior NATO officers attached to the army's general staff, he said.

Alasania noted Tbilisi was ready to share its experience with Iraq to help "build strong institutionalized armed forces there" and was exploring ways to help as the United States tackles Islamist fighters

Machavariani: Preparations had been made to host meeting with Putin

Vano Machavariani, the Former Advisor of the President for Foreign Issues, has said that there had been preparations for holding a meeting between Margvelashvili and Putin in the president’s administration, which was canceled because of the government’s reluctance.

"We were working for this. We wanted to hold a meeting between the Georgian and Russian Presidents with the participation of international partners. We had talked about it with Presidents and politicians of our partner countries, including of the USA’, Machavariani said in his interview with the ‘’Kviris Palitra’’ newspaper.

According to him, the meeting was not held because of the government’s reluctance.

"I’d refrain from discussing other details. Today the situation is different; it is more complicated now and it is difficult to organize a high-level meeting. However, if the partner countries will engage in it, some steps can be taken. This is necessary because Russia has decided to sign a treaty on the so-called integration with Sokhumi’, Machavariani said. The information over the meeting preparation was denied by the Minister of Economy Giorgi Kvirikashvili and the Georgia’s Special Envoy to Russia Zurab Abashidze.

Maia Panjikidze: Georgia will not use force

Whatever happens, Georgia will not use force, Georgian Foreign Minister Maia Panjikidze said on Sunday.

“Georgia undertook the no-use of force commitment several years ago, accordingly, whatever happens, it will not use force”, Panjikidze said,

According to him, Georgia will take more active steps to inform its partners.

Possible consequences of the agreement on integration and alliance between Russia and occupied Abkhazia were discussed at the security and crisis management council meeting on October 18.

“Georgia’s foreign policy will become aggressive; I mean that the country will take more active steps”, Georgian Defence Minister Irakli Alasania said on Saturday.

Russian President Vladimir Putin and occupied Abkhazia’s de-facto leader Raul Khajimba met in Moscow in late August and both politicians pledged to deepen the cooperation between Russia and the region with possible signing of the major cooperation treaty before the end of the year.

Communication channel with Russia proposed

I think we should have a channel of communication with Russia, Prime Minister's Special Representative for Relations with Russia Zurab Abashidze said on Sunday.

“Ukraine, which has a serious crisis today, has not cut off diplomatic relations with Russia. We will hold a meeting at the Georgian Foreign Ministry on Monday. As for the date of the next meeting with Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin, we did not discuss this issue on October 16. However, I want to repeat that we should think about the next step. If we cancel this format today, what will happen tomorrow? Tomorrow or the day after tomorrow, there will be a necessity to restore a dialogue with Russia, it is absolutely inevitable”, Zurab Abashidze said.

Council of Europe Secretary General comments on Tsivtsivadze’s murder

Council of Europe Secretary General Thorbjorn Jagland has made a comment on lecturer Maka Tsivtsivadze’s murder, the Georgian bureau of Radio Liberty reports.

According to the Secretary General, Maka Tsivtsivadze’s tragic death reminds us that violence against women is a serious problem.

"We have no right to ignore the problem. This is a problem that gives rise to many difficult challenges all over the world," said the Secretary General.

According to Thorbjorn Jagland, the European Convention of Istanbul is a turning tool, which contains a vision for women to live a life free of violence in Europe and around the world.

"I appreciate the fact that Georgia signed the Istanbul Convention in June 2014 and support the effort to join the 15 European Union countries that ratified the convention," said the Secretary General.

Lecturer Maka Tsivtsivadze was killed by her former husband at the Ilia University last week.