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The News in Brief

Tuesday, January 27
Visa liberalization assessment mission to visit Georgia

The Visa Liberalization assessment mission will visit Georgia to observe the sustainable implementation of the second stage of Visa Liberalization Action Plan (VLAP). Georgia will host the mission from January 26 to January 30.

Georgian citizens are one step closer to travelling visa free to European Union (EU) states as the country successfully completed the first phase of the Visa Liberalization process and moved onto the next step on October 29, 2014.

Speaker of Georgia's Foreign Ministry, Davit Kereselidze announced that the EU experts will focus on the migration and asylum issues for implementing the second stage of VLAP.

EU experts will meet the representatives of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of Internally Displaced Persons from the Occupied Territories, Accommodation and Refugees of Georgia.

Based on their visit to Georgia the EU experts will prepare a report about the progress which they see in Georgia.

However, the European Unionís missions will visit Georgia till March to evaluate and prepare the progress reports on Georgiaís implementation of the second, third and fourth phases of Visa Liberalization.

Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili expects that positive signs will be appeared in terms of Visa Liberalization after the Eastern Partnership Summit (EaP) in Riga in May 21-22, 2015.

EU-Georgia Visa Liberalization Dialogue was launched on June 4, 2012, and the VLAP was presented to Georgian authorities on February 25, 2013.

Alexander Vershbow to visit Georgia

NATO Deputy Secretary General Alexander Vershbow will visit Georgia on January 29-30. As Foreign Ministry Speaker Davit Kereselidze stated, purpose of the visit is to monitor and assess the implementation of the NATO-Georgia substantial package.

According to Kereselidze, Vershbow will hold meetings with Georgiaís President, Prime Minister, Parliament Speaker and government members.

In response to a question about location for the NATO-Georgia joint center, Kereselidze said he had no information about it.

Date of Georgian ministerís visit to Ukraine remains unknown

"You know that the parliamentary delegation has paid an official visit to Ukraine. I cannot really announce the details of the schedule, however, the visit will be actually carried out", - Kereselidze said. To be reminded, the Georgian delegation's visit to Ukraine at the ministerial level was scheduled for late January, 2015. In addition, the Prime Ministerís visit to Ukraine is planned, although no specific date is still known.

55 prisoners on hunger strike at Gldani Prison

55 prisoners declared permanent hunger strike at the Gldani Prison. They protest against the facts of discrimination. Human Rights defender Dimitri Lortkipanidze has published the letter which he has received from the prisoners. He states that the prisoners protest against the project of the amnesty law. In the letter is underlined that soon the family members will join the protest. The strikers say that their cases arenít considered by any Pardon Commission.

Funding of actions against countryís security to be punished by criminal code

Funding of activities against the country's constitutional order and national security will be punishable by the criminal code.

A new article, initiated by the government and drafted by the Ministry of Internal Affairs, will be added in the criminal code. The amendment has already been submitted to the Parliament.

According to the draft, funding or any kind of material support of activities against national security will lead to imprisonment from 8 to 14 years, while the same action committed by an organized group, or repeatedly, will be punished by imprisonment from 17 to 20 years.