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The News in Brief

Tuesday, November 14
Georgian MPs Visit Donbass Conflict Zone, Reiterate Support for Ukraine

(KYIV) -- A delegation of Georgian parliamentarians on a four-day visit to Ukraine, reiterated their support for Kyiv while visiting the country’s eastern Donbass region.

The Donbass has been embroiled in a bloody conflict since April 2014 when Russian-backed separatists and regular military units sent from Moscow attempted to forcibly seize whole swathes of Ukrainian territory.

The five-member Georgian delegation, led by Giorgi Mosidze of the ruling Georgian Dream party, traveled to the combat zone on November 8. The group visited Marinka, Volnovakha, Novotroitske, Mariupol and Shyrokyne – all of which are located just a short distance from areas that see daily firefights and shelling.

The delegation members met with Ukrainian soldiers deployed in the area, as well as representatives of the local government. The parliamentarians also paid tribute to the memory of soldiers who died during a May 2014 battle in the small railway town Volnovakha and the twelve civilians killed in 2015 in passenger bus shelling near the town.

“We intentionally began our official visit with a trip to the Donbass to better understand how Ukraine lives the war,” MP Giorgi Mosidze stated, adding that the Georgian delegation’s visit was “to express support for our Ukrainian brothers in their struggle for sovereignty and territorial integrity.”

“Georgia has been engaged in a similar struggle for already three decades…by joining our efforts and coordinating our actions in the international arena, we will manage to achieve our strategic goals more effectively,” Mosidze added.

MP Sergei Kapanadze of the opposition European Georgia party, who also serves as a Deputy Chairman of the Parliament, said the legislature’s support for Ukraine should go beyond mere verbal statements.

“Our visit to the Donbass is meant to demonstrate exactly that…it is paramount to express support for the Ukrainian people and the Ukrainian state by traveling to the occupation line.”

“This is our common struggle and it is exactly, here, in the Donetsk Regio, where we can see most vividly the same sort of occupation as in Abkhazia and Tskhinvali (South Ossetia). The situation in the Donbass and Crimea follows the same pattern,” Kapanadze noted.

The delegation concluded their visit on November 11 with a number of ministerial meetings, including with Ivanna Klympush-Tsintsadze, the Deputy Prime Minister of Ukraine for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration.

Traditional Folk Music, Ethnic Displays Highlight Belarusian Cultural Days in Tbilisi

(TBILISI) -- Folk ensembles and young artists from Belarus will celebrate the country’s culture and arts in Georgia’s capital Tbilisi with two days of concerts, exhibitions and film screenings from November 16-17.

The list of artists included on the bill of the Belarusian Cultural Days festival will include state dance ensembles Khoroshki and Pesniary, as well as Junior Eurovision finalist Helena Meraai.

The 14-year-old Meraai’s performance will come only 10 days before competing in the 2017 Junior Eurovision contest in Tbilisi.

The festival will also include on exhibition from the Belarusian National History and Culture Museum, highlighting the traditions and national character of the former Soviet republic, sandwiched between Poland and Russia.

A display celebrating acclaimed early 20th century Belarusian poet Yanka Kupala and his visit to Georgia will also be on agenda.Kupala is widely regarded as the poet laureate of the Belarusian language and a major proponent of its usage in everyday life.

Rounding off the program, will be a screening of various works by Belarusian directors and animators at the Cinema House on Tbilisi’s main thoroughfare, Rustaveli Avenue.

EU Appoints New special Rep. for South Caucasus

(BRUSSELS) -- The Council of the European Union has appointed Toivo Klaar as EU Special Representative for the South Caucasus, the EU press service reported Monday.

Klaar’s task will be to contribute to finding a peaceful settlement to the frozen conflicts in the region, including the Russian-backed breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia in Georgia and the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan.

EU Special Representatives promote Brussels’ policies and interests in certain regions, as well as issues of particular concern for the EU. They also play an active role in efforts to consolidate peace, stability and the rule of law in developing countries on Europe’s borders.

The Estonian-born Klaar will also represent the EU at the Geneva International Discussions regarding the consequences of the 2008 conflict in Georgia.

Currently the head of the Central Asia Division at the European External Action Service (EEAS), Klaar previously led the EU Monitoring Mission in Georgia.

Klaar succeeds Herbert Salber, who had held the post since July 8, 2014. In September, Salber became Germany’s newest ambassador to Bulgaria.