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The News in Brief

Friday, January 20
EBRD to assist in building new bridge on Armenia-Georgia border

Minister of Transport, Communication and Information Technologies of Armenia, Vahan Martirosyan, on Wednesday received European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) Board of Directors team leader for Netherlands, Mongolia, FYR Macedonia, Armenia, and China, Frans Weekers.

The minister underscored Armenia’s cooperation with EBRD, and expressed the hope that it will continue.

The interlocutors discussed one of the Armenia-EBRD cooperation projects: the building of a new bridge on the Armenia-Georgia border, at the Bagratashen-Sadakhlo checkpoint.

In addition, Martirosyan presented his ministry’s proposals and agenda projects, around which cooperation with EBRD is possible.

Furthermore, they reflected on the establishment of a regional Data Center in Armenia.

The Armenian minister expressed the hope that EBRD will contribute also to the project of improvement and development of the interurban transport network of Armenia. (

Venice Commission to come to Tbilisi for working visit

The Venice Commission delegation, headed by its President Gianni Buquicchio, will pay a visit to Georgia on January 20.

Georgia’s Speaker of Parliament, Irakli Kobakhidze, invited the delegation for a working visit to Georgia's capital of Tbilisi to receive expert opinion on a variety of issues.

According to Zviad Dzidziguri, one of the six Vice-Speakers of Parliament of Georgia, Buquicchio is one of the most experienced professionals in legal constitutional issues.

Back in December of 2016, the new 73-member Constitutional Commission headed by Parliament Speaker Kobakhidze was established. The commission unites seven political parties, government agencies, non-governmental organizations and experts.

The Venice Commission will hold meetings with Georgia’s Speaker of Parliament and other high-ranking officials including Georgian President Giorgi Margvelashvili.

Within the scope of the official visit, the Venice Commission will also meet with the parliamentary minority. (Agenda)

German and Austrian eparchies protest against appointment of Metropolitan Seraphime as eparchy leader

The parish and clergy of the German and Austrian eparchies protests against the appointment of Metropolitan Seraphime (Jojua) as the head of the eparchy.

The parish and clergy of German and Austrian eparchies released a statement over the issue.

The statement notes that they learnt about the appointment on January 16, and it has caused outrage, disagreement and turmoil. The authors of the letter address Catholicos-Patriarch of All Georgia to respond to the case appropriately.

According to the statement, Metropolitan Seraphime must immediately leave the Borjomi and Bakuriani eparchy due to the heaviest allegations of the parish.

“The appointment of Metropolitan Seraphime as the head of the eparchy is utterly unacceptable for us due to the abovementioned allegations. This decision caused outrage, disagreement and turmoil. This will not lead to peace and unity among believers,” says the statement.

The authors of the statement say they will not become subordinate to Metropolitan Seraphime and will remain under the subordination of the Patriarchate of Georgia. (IPN)

Tskhinvali Sets Date for Presidential Polls

Voters in Georgia’s breakaway region of South Ossetia will go to polls on April 9 to elect their new leader, according to the decision adopted unanimously by the de facto South Ossetian parliament on January 17.

Incumbent South Ossetian leader Leonid Tibilov, the de facto president of the region since 2012, is set to run for his final five-year term.

Tibilov, the former head of KGB, the breakaway region’s security service, became South Ossetian leader as a result of two rounds of repeat elections in March, 2012 and April, 2012. Repeat elections were held after results of polls in November, 2011 in which opposition candidate Alla Jioyeva won, were annulled, followed by street protest rallies.

Parliamentary Chairman of the breakaway region, Anatoly Bibilov, is believed to be the incumbent president’s major contender. Bibilov, whose United Ossetia party holds 20 seats in a 34-member legislative assembly, ran against Alla Jioyeva in 2011 Presidential Elections, but decided not to participate in the March poll.

There are reports that Eduard Kokoity, the breakaway region’s president in 2001-2011, plans to run in the presidential elections as well.

Simultaneously with the presidential polls, the breakaway South Ossetia might also hold a referendum on renaming the region to “South Ossetia – Alania”.

Elections in the breakaway region are denounced as illegitimate by Tbilisi and the international community, except for Russia and its allies, which have recognized the region as independent. (