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The News in Brief

Monday, October 12
U.S. expert says Tbilisi ex-mayor case is test for the rule of law

A U.S. expert has responded to the European Council Parliamentary Assembly resolution which condemns the pretrial detention practice widely used in Georgia. The Executive Director of The Atlantic Council, Damon Wilson, says that the Tbilisi ex-Mayor case represents a test for the rule of law.

“Georgia is in a transitional period at the moment…knocking on NATO’s door, it has unbelievably steady ties with the EU and United States. Political processes and institutions are maturing now. The rule of law, a good judiciary system and correctly functioning institutions will be of the utmost significance in terms of establishing a place in Western society,” Damon Wilson says.

According to him, the Tbilisi ex-mayor Gigi Ugulava case represents a test in terms of Georgia’s rule of law.

“I am not aware of the case details, but Georgia needs to cope with the case and maintain the confidence of the international community which closely follows the situation, as well as the confidence of the Georgian people. We see political debates in any democratic society, but there are boundaries that should not be violated. Finding these boundaries is the most difficult mission for transitional democracies. From my point of view, we are now witnessing this process in Georgia,” he declared.

According to Damon Wilson, he believes in the long-term development of Georgian democracy despite the ongoing difficulties, but it is not easy to achieve all necessary preconditions for it.

President Ilham Aliyev receives Georgian PM

President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev has received Prime Minister of Georgia Irakli Garibashvili.

The sides noted with the pleasure that bilateral relations between Azerbaijan and Georgia are developing successfully in the political, economic, humanitarian and other spheres, and touched upon the importance of joint projects implemented in energy, transport and infrastructure areas.

The significance of the visit of Prime Minister of Georgia Irakli Garibashvili to Azerbaijan in terms of discussing issues related to prospects of cooperation was stressed during the meeting.

Deputy FM Says Georgia Told by U.S. not to Rush into Full-Scale Cooperation with Iran

Georgian Deputy Foreign Minister, Davit Dondua, said the U.S. has asked Tbilisi to “refrain from full-scale cooperation” with Iran until Tehran fully complies with the Vienna nuclear deal reached in July.

“We have permanent contacts with our American colleagues, who are asking us to refrain from full-scale cooperation with Iran and from becoming open [to Iran] for now – until all the commitments agreed in Vienna are fulfilled and until Iran is given the final green light,” Dondua said on October 9.

“We are telling our American and other friends that we remain committed to the policy and sanctions pursued by [the West] in respect of Iran, but you should also take into consideration the specifics of Georgia’s situation. Iran is a regional state, our important partner, including from the economic point of view, and we want some sort of space for maneuvering,” Dondua said.

Speaking at a meeting with lawmakers from the opposition Free Democrats party in the Parliament, the Deputy Foreign Minister also said that there was one case when Georgia had to decline a request from an Iranian air carrier to launch operations in Georgia after the U.S. advised Tbilisi against it.

Dondua, however, also said that there was a separate case when Tbilisi, “based on our pragmatic interests”, allowed another Iranian airline to launch operations in Georgia although the U.S. was not encouraging such decision.

“We’ve done it without damaging our relations either with the U.S. or European partners,” the Deputy Foreign Minister said.

He did not specify, but the only Iranian air carrier, which currently operates flights between the two countries, is ATA Airlines.

“Hopefully Iran’s isolation will soon be over,” he said, adding that although it will have positive effect, it may have “certain not so positive” side as well and Georgia “should be ready for this.”

Reuters reported on October 9 that the U.S. has “privately reminded foreign governments and U.S. bankers that sanctions against Iran remain in effect, cautioning against a rush by Western companies to invest in Iran’s oil industry and other businesses until the country fully complies with the July nuclear agreement” reached between Tehran and the P5+1 – the U.S., China, Russia, France, United Kingdom and Germany.

In a statement in July the Georgian Foreign Ministry welcomed Iran nuclear deal as “an important step towards international peace and stability.”

Construction works start on new children’s hospice in Tbilisi

Construction work began Saturday in the north of Tbilisi for what will become in Georgia’s first palliative care centre for children.

The initiators of the new hospice marked the start of construction work in the village Dighomi, a Tbilisi suburb.

The project is aimed to be finished by the end of 2016. This will be a place where children with chronic or incurable diseases will receive palliative care with their families for free.

The hospice aims to offer three types of services: 24-hour care for 10 children; a day center, where kids and their parents will get day-time services; and a care at home service. The latter is already being offered to 15 children in Tbilisi for free.

The idea of opening the hospice came up after a study was carried out in 2013 to about situation of children who require palliative care. According to the study, 839 children require such care every year.

Open Society Georgia Foundation took the initiative to the project, and it is co-financed by the president’s reserve fund and supported by the medical corporation Evex.

Georgia’s first lady Maka Chichua was present at the start of construction work, together with OSGF Director Keti Khutsishvili and Evex director Nikoloz Gamkrelidze.

Chichua outlined that the non-governmental sector, business, individuals, and many individuals have been involved in carrying out this project and she thanked them for their support.

Together with the other speakers, she inserted the list of the people and organizations who donated for the project in a capsule and placed it in the foundation of the new house.

“This is a place where children will receive complete care, medical care, psychological support, will have entertainment, all for a comfortable environment,” Khustishvili told journalists.

Among the attendants at the opening were mothers of future beneficiaries. One of them had brought her child.

“This is very important so that little members of our society can be happy in the final days of their lives and so we may help them make their lives better. I call on everyone to get involved in this project,” Maka Chichua said.