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The News in Brief

Monday, April 18
Parliament Adopts UNM’s Resolution Calling on Govt ‘Not to Endanger Euro-Atlantic Integration’

The Georgian Parliament adopted unanimously a resolution on Friday, which, according to its sponsors, is aimed at showing the unity of the political forces over Georgia’s EU visa liberalisation.

The resolution, which was sponsored by lawmakers from the UNM opposition party and supported by the GD parliamentary majority group after some amendments, calls on the Georgian government “not to endanger Georgia’s Euro-Atlantic integration”.

According to its title, the resolution is addressed to the EU and its institutions. Its preamble reiterates Georgian people’s “unwavering choice” of European and Euro-Atlantic integration; notes importance of visa liberalisation in the EU-Georgia cooperation agenda and notes that visa waiver with the Schengen area will contribute to “reintegration of people living in Georgia’s occupied territories” and demonstrate to others tangible results and benefits of partnership with the EU.

Resolution’s operative part consists of four clauses three of which are addressed to the Georgian government and one – to the EU-member states’ parliaments, thanking them for ratifying Georgia’s Association Agreement with the EU.

It calls on the Georgian government “to take steps fostering Georgia’s democratic development and not to endanger Georgia’s Euro-Atlantic integration.”

Parliament also calls on the government “to timely implement reforms envisaged by the Association Agreement with the EU” and to carry out an information campaign aimed at clarifying the rights and obligations surrounding visa-free travel rules.

The text was modified from its initial version, first tabled by the UNM in December, when Parliament passed a statement calling on the European Union to lift visa requirements for Georgian citizens. That statement was sponsored by the Free Democrats opposition party and was supported by the GD majority group, but the UNM abstained from the vote because of a disagreement on wording as it did not contain a call towards the Georgian government “not to undertake any step that may undermine” Georgia’s European and Euro-Atlantic integration process.

Similar wording was in the UNM’s draft resolution debated in Parliament on April 15; GD was against this wording citing that it was giving the text a “negative” connotation in respect to the government and instead offered to changed it with a call to the government “to take steps fostering Georgia’s democratic development”; the UNM agreed on the amendment and the text was adopted unanimously.

Abkhazian MP’s car hit by explosion in Sokhumi center

The official car of Almas Japua MP in Abkhazia’s de facto parliament was hit by an explosion on Saturday evening, Sputnik Abkhazia reports.

The car exploded on Sergei Bagapsh Square in downtown Sokhumi, close to the seafront.

“MP Almas Japua’s car exploded. The causes are yet unknown. Currently, investigative measures are being taken at the scene. There were no fatalities,” Leonid Dzapshba, the Minister of Internal Affairs of Abkhazia said.

According to the witnesses, a woman who was passing by at the moment of the explosion suffered minor injuries and was taken by ambulance to hospital.

MP Aslan Kwabakhia who arrived at the scene told journalists that the explosion could have been due to a variety of reasons, and did not rule anything out from “an electrical fire in the car’s wiring” to a “terrorist attack”.

At least two other cars suffered collateral damage from the explosion.

Aslan Japua is a member of Abkhazia’s National Assembly from the opposition party Ainar. On 29 March, he put forward a motion of no confidence for prime minister Artur Amkwab.
(DF watch)

New political centre will inevitably be presented in Parliament – Pavle Kublashvili

“A new political centre, ‘Girchi’, will inevitably be presented in Parliament in the future which will have a big faction that will influence all political processes,” one of the leaders of the new Girchi political centre, Pavle Kublashvili, has declared.

“We have presented a basic part of the programme that will refer to social protection, assistance of the people having a need of this. Our campaign will become more active from tomorrow. We will be in all regions and towns and struggle for victory,” Pavle Kublashvili has said.

Zurab Japaridze has been elected as the head of Girchi.

Japan earthquake: Georgia saddened by loss of lives

Georgia is offering its condolences to Japan following a series of deadly earthquakes that have killed at least 20 people and injured hundreds of others.

Georgia’s Foreign Ministry issued a special statement that expressed the Georgian people’s "deep sorrow” over the tragedy.

"The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia stands beside the Japanese people in this difficult time and shares the sorrow of the families and friends of those killed,” the statement read.

"We wish for a quick recovery for those who were injured.”

Two strong earthquakes during the past several days in south-western Japan caused major damage to the local infrastructure.

Rescue efforts are underway to help victims of the powerful tremors.

Some 20,000 troops are being deployed in the operation in Kyushu region. Dozens of people are feared trapped in the rubble of collapsed buildings.