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31 Mar. '10 EUMM begrüßt die Freilassung von sechs Häftlingen durch Tbilisi
EU Monitoring Mission in Georgia (EUMM) has welcomed release of four residents of breakaway South Ossetia and two Russian citizens by Tbilisi and called on Tskhinvali to reciprocate with release of Georgians held in the breakaway region.
EUMM said in a statement on March 31, that the move by the Georgian government was “an important step in resetting the overall detainee issue.”
“In order to de-escalate the situation on the ground and contribute to raising the confidence of the population living along the administrative boundary lines, the EUMM calls upon the de facto South Ossetian authorities to take similar action,” EUMM said.
The mission also called on Tskhinvali to resume its participation in Incident Prevention and Response Mechanism, a body designed for regular contacts between the sides. Tskhinvali is refusing to take part in meetings in frames of IPRM since last October, citing lack of information about several Ossetians, who are missing since the August, 2008 war.
31 Mar. '10 Sozar Subari legt Meinungspapier in der Tageszeitung Rezonansi vor: ‘Formel des Sieges - Übereinstimmung, Kompromiss, Rationalismus
31 Mar. '10 Temur Iakobashvili, Staatsminister für Reintegration, zu den Bemerkungen von Patrushev
"Die georgische Regierung hat immer Terrorismus verurteilt ... sogar wenn er im Lager unseres Gegners stattfindet. Wir hoffen, dass die Russen - anstatt mit den Fingern auf andere zu zeigen - wirklich untersuchen und herausfinden werden, wer hinter diesen terroristischen Taten steht. ... Wenn etwas auf Georgien hinweist, laßt sie kommen und uns berichten und wir sind bereit zu kooperieren."
Remarks by Nikolai Patrushev, secretary of Russia’s National Security Council, suggesting on possible Georgian link to Moscow metro bombings were made for internal consumption, Temur Iakobashvili, the Georgian state minister for reintegration, said on March 31.
“The Georgian authorities have always condemned, condemn and will always condemn terrorism even if it takes place in our adversary’s camp. We hope, that instead of pointing fingers, Russians will really investigate and find out who stands behind these terrorist acts [in Moscow],” he said.
“If something points on Georgia, let them [Russians] come and tell us and we are ready to cooperate,” he told Rustavi 2 television station. “North Caucasus is not a problem of only Russia, it is a problem for us too, as we do not want reoccurrence of Pankisi case or a large scale operation [in North Caucasus], which may trigger influx of refugees into Georgia from North Caucasus.”
He said that there was “nothing surprise” that Patrushev made such statement.
“Surprise was that he was late to make such statement,” Iakobashvili said.
“Unfortunately, it became a trend in Russia – Jewization of Georgians – wherein if previously Jews were to blame for everything in Russia, now Georgians are to be blamed for everything,” he added.
Iakobashvili also said that while Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov suggested that militants operating in Afghanistan might have helped organize the Moscow attacks, Patrushev was speaking about possibility of Georgian link.
“Knowing that Afghanistan is a problem for the West, Lavrov is making this statement for the Western and in general for international [consumption], while Patrushev’s statement is probably more for the internal consumption; his [Patrushev’s] statement echoes anti-Georgian hysteria in Russia,” Iakobashvili said.
31 Mar. '10 Nikolai Patrushev, Sekretät des nationalen Sicherheitsrates von Russland, sagt, dass die Ermittler in allen Richtungen arbeiten, einschließlich einer möglichen Beteiligung Georgiens
Nikolai Patrushev, secretary of Russia’s National Security Council, said investigators into Moscow metro bombings were working on all the possible versions, including on possible Georgia’s involvement.
In an interview with the Russian news agency Interfax, Patrushev was asked by the journalist: “There is an opinion that terrorist acts in Moscow could have been organized from abroad. Do you believe that?”
“All the versions need to be checked,” Patrushev responded. “For example, there is Georgia and its leader Saakashvili, whose actions are unpredictable.”
“Unfortunately, number of countries provide him assistance, including military one. We state that it is unacceptable. He has once already waged the war. It is not ruled out that he will do that again.”
“We had information that individual agents of Georgian special services were keeping contacts with terrorist organizations in the Russian North Caucasus. We need to check this version too in respect of the Moscow terrorist acts,” Patrushev added.
30 Mar. '10 Zehnte Runde der Genfer Gespräche
Negotiators held tenth round of Geneva talks on March 30 and agreed to meet for the next round of talks on June 8.
"Against the background of a relatively calm and stable general situation, it was noted that tensions continue to exist," co-mediators, Antti Turunen of the UN, Pierre Morel of the EU and Bolat Nurgaliyev, the special envoy of the Kazakh OSCE chairmanship, said in a joint statement.
"It was highlighted that provocative actions and rhetorics are not helpful for the ongoing efforts to stabilize the situation on the ground and should therefore be avoided," they said.
According to co-mediators, during the tenth round of talks the participants continued discussion on different draft proposals related to the non-use of force and international security arrangements.
The issue of missing and detained persons was also discussed. According to co-mediators the participants welcomed the ongoing contribution by Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights Thomas Hammarberg, who has mediated release of several Georgian and South Ossetian detainees and has also sent two experts to oversee an investigation by the Georgian authorities to find out whereabouts of several Ossetians, who have been missing since late 2008.
"The participants also reviewed the issue of release of all detainees, and agreed that a solution leading to a release of all would be a further positive development," co-mediators said.
On March 29 and March 30 Tbilisi released six persons - four residents of breakaway South Ossetia and two Russian citizens from North Ossetia.
30 Mar. '10 Tbilisi läßt sechs Osseten frei
30 Mar. '10 Präsident Saakaschwili unterzeichnet Erlass zur Festlegung des Wahltermins
30 Mar. '10 Georgien baut Beziehungen zu 13 weiteren Nationen auf
30 Mar. '10 Rumänischer Teodor Baconschi Außenminister besucht Georgien
29 Mar. '10 Watchdog legt einen Bericht "zum Gebrauch von Verwaltungsressourcen für Wahlkampf" vor und berichtet über einen "nie dagewesenen Anstieg" von Staatsausgaben vor den Wahlen
There has been “an unprecedented increase” in the funding of local self-government bodies ahead of the May local elections, Transparency International-Georgia said in a report.
The report, Use of Administrative Recourses for Election Campaign, released on March 29 says that there has been “a considerable increase” in the number of employees in the Tbilisi Mayor’s Office and in the regional administrative bodies ahead of the elections.
The report says that the trend is at odds with the president’s proposed policy of “tightening the belt” and reducing bureaucracy.
The number of the Tbilisi Mayor’s Office employees increased by 410, while GEL 5.5 million was added to the salary fund.
“Those who oppose this approach have suggested that state money is being used to employ the people who are to participate in the ruling party’s election campaign,” the report says
2010 state budget has allocated GEL 836.9 million for transfers to local self-government entities, which is 34% more than in 2009.  The government has also doubled the funding for the Rural Aid Program up to GEL 40 million this year.
“Self-government entities have never received such large allocations before,” according to the report.
It says that the transfer allocated to the city of Tbilisi from the state budget, as well as the capital city’s budget itself “is also of unprecedented size” – GEL 323 million and GEL 570.8 million, respectively.
The report says that although pension policy is not part of the local self-government, the Tbilisi Mayor’s Office is sponsoring a GEL 10 pension raise for those pensioners who reside in the capital city. This increase in monthly pension, which is in force since March 1, 2010, does not apply to those pensioners living outside Tbilisi – the approach described by the report as “discriminatory”.
The Mayor’s Office is also sponsoring a GEL 4 million program, envisaging issuing of medication vouchers worth GEL 25 to pensioners in the capital city.
“Similar programmes were implemented before the 2006 local elections and the 2008 presidential and parliamentary elections but not in 2007 or 2009 when no election was held,” the report says.
In another program worth GEL 3.5 million, sponsored by the Tbilisi Mayor’s Office, 167,271 pensioners from the capital city are to receive personal transport cards, enabling them to use the public transport, metro and bus, at a reduced fare.
The report says that introduction of this type of aid programs for all pensioners contradicts the social security reform implemented by the government in 2006, which envisaged distribution of aid based on how poor any given family was and not on such criterion as belonging of an individual to a certain category, such as pensioners.
“This system of social aid is still in place and its core principle of providing support according to needs rather than categories has a lot of supporters both inside and outside the government. However, the fact that the Tbilisi Mayor’s Office is implementing social programmes that are not compliant with the state system of social aid has not drawn any criticism from the central government so far,” the report reads.
Incumbent Tbilisi Mayor, Gigi Ugulava, has not yet been named by the ruling party as its candidate for reelection. His opponents complain that Ugulava’s activities in recent month are part of his undeclared election campaign with use of administrative resources.  Lawmakers from the ruling party, however, say that the mayor is doing his job of addressing Tbilisites needs.
Deadline for nominating candidates expires on April 30.
The law does not stipulate an incumbent mayor to quit his post during the election campaign.
29 Mar. '10 Abgeordneter Giorgi Tsagareishvili schließt sich Alasania’s Partei an
Er hatte in der Vergangenheit mehrfach die Parteizugehörigkeit gewechselt.
A lawmaker, Giorgi Tsagareishvili, said on March 29 that he had joined Our Georgia-Free Democrats (OGFD), an opposition party led by Tbilisi mayoral candidate Irakli Alasania.
As a result of the decision, OGFD now has one representative in the Parliament.
Tsagareishvili told Civil.Ge that he had become a member of OGFD’s political council – party’s main decision-making body.
Tsagareishvili has changed party affiliation for number of times in the past.
He has been an independent lawmaker since April 2009, when he quit Democratic Party of Georgia, led by MP Gia Tortladze.
Before setting up Democratic Party of Georgia together with MP Tortladze – the both were part of an opposition coalition and were elected in the Parliament after running on the coalition’s party-list. But they quit the coalition after refusing to follow other members of the coalition to renounce their parliamentary seats following the May, 2008 elections.
From 2007 to 2008, for about nine months, Tsagareishvili was a member of Movement for United Georgia, party established by ex-defense minister Irakli Okruashvili.
Before joining Okruashvili’s party, Tsagareishvili was a lawmaker from the Industrialist Party.
Zurab Abashidze, a senior member of OGFD said on March 29, that Tsagareishvili was a person “with huge experience” and “together with us he will play an important role in change of the current government.”
OGFD is a member of Alliance for Georgia, also uniting Republican and New Rights parties, as well as ex-public defender Sozar Subari.
Tsagareishvili, however, said that although he had joined OGFD, it did not automatically mean that he was representing the Alliance for Georgia.
“From now on I will be representing OGFD in the Parliament, but not the Alliance for Georgia,” he told Civil.Ge.
Tsagareishvili, however, denied speculation that New Rights and Republicans were against of this move by OGFD to recruit him.
29 Mar. '10 Georgien drückt sein Beileid aus zu den Familien der Opfer der beiden Bombenanschanschlägen in der Moskauer Metro
Außenminister Vashadze: "Georgien war immer gegen Terrorismus ... wir hoffen, dass die Täter dieses schrecklichen Verbrechens festgenommen und bestraft werden."
Georgian Foreign Minister, Girgol Vashadze, condemned terrorism and expressed condolences following two separate explosions, which hit Moscow subway on Monday morning.
Speaking at a joint news conference after talks with Lithuanian counterpart in Tbilisi, Vashadze said: “Georgia and Lithuania have always been against terrorism… We express our condolences to the families of victims and hope that culprits of this terrible crime will be arrested and punished.”
The Russian authorities said two women suicide bombers blew themselves up on the Moscow subway during rush hour killing at least 36 people and wounding more than 60.
28 Mar. '10 Russlands Außenministerium bezeichnet den Transfer von ex-Guantanamo-Häftlingen nach Georgien als 'keine gute Idee'
Im Gefolge von Vorwürfen an die georgische Regierung wird von dem Sprecher Andrei Nesterenko darauf hingewiesen, dass es keine Garantien gebe, dass diese Islamisten eines Tages nicht in den Nordkaukasus infiltrieren würden. "Heute kann niemand sicher sein, dass die georgischen Behörden eine angemessene Kontrolle über die ex-Guantanamo-Häftlinge sicherstellen wolle oder dazu fähig sei."
Transfer of three detainees from Guantanamo to Georgia "can hardly be called a good idea," Andrei Nesterenko, a spokesman for the Russian Foreign Ministry, said on March 26.
He said that former detainees had been sent "to unstable region, where terrorism threat is quite real"; he suggested that there were no guarantees that one day these "Islamists" would not infiltrate into North Caucasus.
"[The former Guantanamo detainees] have been transfered 'to custody' of the state, whose leadership has repeatedly shown high level of irresponsibility and criminal adventurism in matters related to the regional security," Nesterenko said.
"Today no one can be sure, that the Georgian authorities want or are capable of securing proper control over former Guantanamo detainees," he said.
Nesterenko said Moscow thought the United States would "somberly assess risks accompanying this decision" and undertake all the measures "to prevent surprises".
The three individuals were transfered from Guantanamo to Georgia on March 23. The U.S. Department of Justice said that the transfer was coordinated with the Georgia to ensure that it "took place under appropriate security measures and consultations regarding these individuals will continue."
27 Mar. '10 Litauischer Außenminister Audronius Ažubalis besucht Georgien
Audronius Ažubalis, the Lithuanian foreign minister, will pay an official visit to Georgia on March 27-30.
Foreign Minister Ažubalis will meet with his Georgian counterpart Grigol Vashadze, President Saakashvili, Parliamentary Chairman Davit Bakradze and other senior officials, as well as with opposition representatives, according to the Lithuanian Foreign Ministry.
It said that bilateral relations, including economic cooperation, as well as issues related with Georgia’s Euro-Atlantic integration would be discussed during the visit.
The Foreign Minister will also visit EU Monitoring Mission in Georgia (EUMM). According to EUMM there are four Lithuanian monitors in the 250-strong mission.
27 Mar. '10 Georgien erhält US-Finanzmittel für Afghanistan-Operation
Georgia is among those six countries, which will receive funding this year from the U.S. Department of Defense to help their troops operate with coalition forces in Afghanistan, the Pentagon said on March 26.
"Six of the programs will build capacity for forces of Georgia, Croatia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia to work alongside U.S. forces in Afghanistan," the Pentagon said.
In the notification sent to the Congress, the Pentagon said that total of USD 350 million is dedicated to this program this fiscal year. Pentagon also said that apart of the six nations, Yemen and the Philippines will also receive money from this funding to strengthen their militaries inside their countries.
Details of the programs, including descriptions, timelines and cost data, will come into focus after the Department of Defense sends a second written notification to Congress, the Pentagon said.
Georgia, which already has 175 soldiers in Afghanistan serving under the French command, will send in April an infantry battalion without national caveats, which will be deployed alongside with the U.S. Marines in the province of Helmand. After the deployment of the battalion Georgia will become the largest per capital contributor to the Afghan operation.
Alexander Vershbow, the U.S. assistant secretary of defense for international security affairs, said last October after security talks in Tbilisi, that the current focus of Washington's assistance to Georgian defense reforms was on doctrine, education and training and preparing Georgian troops for the Afghan deployment.
26 Mar. '10 Georgien’s Bruttoinlandsprodukt geht um 3.9% zurück
26 Mar. '10 Russland erlaubt Georgian Airways Charterflüge
26 Mar. '10 Russischer Premierminister Putin trifft Bagapsh in Moscow
26 Mar. '10 Abgeordnete sind im Disput über reguläre Flüge nach Russland
25 Mar. '10 Präsident Saakashvili trifft NATO-Generalssekretär Anders Fogh Rasmussen
NATO Secretary General, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, said on March 25 he had reiterated to President Saakashvili that the alliance’s policy towards Georgia “has not changed”.
“We will continue to support Georgia in its Euro-Atlantic aspiration,” Rasmussen said and reiterated NATO’s open-door, merit-based admission policies.
Speaking at a joint news conference with Rasmussen after the meeting in Brussels, President Saakashvili has declined to speculate about possible timeframe of Georgia’s future membership.
“I don’t think we should put time limits,” he said. “There are many factors in interplay and never say never, because we have seen in the past people saying the Baltic countries will never join [NATO] in their lifetime… Things change very fast and we should work and we are willing to do our homework, we need to be ready. We’ll see.”
He also said that ongoing occupation of Georgia’s regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia by Russia should not be an obstacle to Georgia’s NATO integration.
“There were cases, when countries were divided and they became members of NATO. I hope this division will be overcome before that and whole this thing will happen much earlier than any of us can imagine. But we need to work and it’s not about us making wild guess when exactly [it happens],” Saakashvili said.
The NATO Secretary General reiterated the alliance’s commitment to Georgia’s territorial integrity and said: “Our allies stick to their policy of non-recognition of the Abkhazia and South Ossetia regions of Georgia.”
“NATO continues to call on Russia to fulfill its obligations under the six-point ceasefire agreement and to allow international monitors into the entire territory of Georgia,” Rasmussen said.
He welcomed the Georgian government’s strategy towards Abkhazia and South Ossetia, which, he said, “advocates engagement as opposed to isolation.”
“I consider this strategy as step in a right direction,” Rasmussen said.
He said that “ongoing process of democratic reforms” in Georgia was also discussed during the meeting.
“We hope to see the implementation of the necessary electoral and constitutional reforms in line with the commitments Georgia has undertaken in its Annual National Program,” Rasmussen said.
“In that respect the upcoming local elections will be an important milestone,” he added.
Rasmussen thanked Georgia for its contribution to the Afghan operation. Georgia, which already has 175 soldiers in Afghanistan serving under the French command, will send in April an infantry battalion without national caveats, who will be deployed alongside with the U.S. Marines in the province of Helmand. After the deployment of the battalion Georgia will become the largest per capital contributor to the Afghan operation.
Saakashvili said that Georgia was ready to contribute to the Afghan operation not only by sending troops there, but also through providing training to the Afghan police forces both in Georgia and on the ground in Afghanistan.
“We have the most successful example – in the region at least and one of the best one among recent examples of transitional countries – of police reform,” Saakashvili said.
He said Georgia had also offered NATO to use its territory as a transit route for supplies in Afghanistan. In March, 2005 Georgia and NATO signed an agreement envisaging use of Georgia’s air space, road and rail infrastructure for transit purposes by NATO to send supplies for its troops in Afghanistan. The route operating through Georgia, however, is not sanctioned for arms shipments
Saakashvili also told the NATO Secretary General that after his appointment NATO’s doors “have opened very widely for Georgian officials.”
“I’m seventh in row, I am concluding long list of Georgian officials that had opportunity to meet you for last several months,” he said.
President Saakashvili is in Brussels to participate in summit of European People’s Party to which the ruling National Movement party is an observer member.
25 Mar. '10 Russland verurteilt einen Georgier und zwei Russen wegen Spionage zu langen Haftstrafen
Russia’s North Caucasus Military Court found a Georgian citizen guilty of spying in favor of Georgia and sentenced him to 11 years in prison on March 25, the Russian media sources reported.
In the same case, two Russian citizens, who served in the Russian armed forces, were sentenced to 15 and 13 years in prison.
According to the Russian media reports, the Georgian citizen, Zaza Kherkeladze, is described in court files as “deputy head of operative unit of the Georgian intelligence”. He has been based in capital of North Ossetia, Vladikavkaz, for undercover operation since 2007 with a fake Russian passport running a café.
According to these reports, Kherkeladze recruited two lieutenant colonels of the Russian army – Khvicha Imerlishvili and Marlen Bogdanov (Balashvili), who have been gathering information about military facilities in North Caucasus, as well as about those Russian servicemen who could have been potentially recruited by the Georgian intelligence.
Kherkeladze was arrested in June, 2008.
The Georgian Interior Ministry has declined to comment.
In December, 2009 Court in Russia’s North Ossetian Republic found a 55-year-old Russian citizen of Georgian origin guilty of spying in favor of Tbilisi and sentenced him to eight years in prison.
In October, 2009 a serviceman of the Russian armed forces, Jemal Nakaidze, was sentenced to nine years in prison for espionage in favor of Georgia and in August, 2009 a former deputy commander of one of the Russia’s military units of North Caucasus Military District, Mikhail Khachidze, was sentenced to six years in prison.
25 Mar. '10 NATO-Sprecher James Appathurai: fiktionaler Bericht "unklug" und "nicht hilfreich"
A fake news report by Georgian television station, Imedi, on March13 was "unwise" and "unhelpful", James Appathurai, the NATO spokesman, said on Wednesday.
He made the remarks after asked at a news conference in Brussels if NATO Secretary General, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, would raise the issue when he meets President Saakashvili on March 25.
"I do not know what he [the Secretary General] intends to raise, but I do know, that from NATO's point of view this hoax television broadcast was unwise, unhelpful and, let's say, not seen positively within NATO," Appathurai said.
Asked if the fake news report could have any effect on Georgia's eventual NATO membership, Appathurai responded that these two issues should not be linked.
"Georgia's membership in NATO is certainly not for tomorrow; there are fundamental and I think long-term reforms that need to take place," he said. "This television broadcast has taken place; it is now finished, but if you are to ask what NATO thinks of it, the answer would not be approval."
President Saakashvili will be in Brussels on March 25 to participate in European People’s Party (EPP) summit. During the visit he will meet with Anders Fogh Rasmussen in NATO headquarters.
"We have deep partnership with Georgia," Appathurai said. "Commitment of NATO to supporting Georgia's reforms, to Georgia's territorial integrity - I am sure he [President Saakashvili] will hear that again from the Secretary General; but of course there's lot going on in the country and in the region."
24 Mar. '10 Christian-Democratic Movement CDM startet Verfahren zur Einsetzung eines parlamentarischen Ausschusses bezüglich der Telefonaufzeichnungen um den fiktionalen Imedi TV-Bericht
Christian-Democratic Movement (CDM), a leading party in parliamentary minority group, has launched formal proceedings requesting setting up of an ad hoc parliamentary commission to probe into recording phone conversations, which surfaced in connection with Imedi TV’s fake report.
MP Levan Vepkhvadze of CDM, who is vice-speaker of the parliament, told Civil.Ge on March 24, that the party had already submitted a request in written form to the legislative body’s registry.
The request has yet to be discussed by the parliamentary bureau, which includes senior lawmakers and which sets the legislative body’s weekly agenda.
Endorsement of the proposal is less likely as lawmakers from the ruling party have already spoken out strongly against such initiative saying that there was no need for the probe as there was no doubt that recordings were fabricated by the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB).
Asked if he thought that questions on the matter would linger unless no documented confirmation was produced, a senior lawmakers from the ruling party MP Pavle Kublashvili told Civil.Ge last week: “It [Russian involvement] is absolutely clear for the society and I hope that you also have no question marks about it.”
One of the recordings involves a brief discussion allegedly between Culture Minister Nika Rurua and President Saakashvili about the fake TV report. This recording, in which the man with voice resembling the one of Saakashvili says it was a mistake of Imedi TV not to make a disclaimer caption on the screen, was posted on a mysterious Russian-language website a day after a separate recording of phone conversation between Imedi TV's head and his deputy surfaced on the same website on March 15. This latter conversation indicated that President Saakashvili could have been behind the TV hoax.
24 Mar. '10 Verteitigungsministerim erklärt, dass Corporal Soso Zhvania bei einer Übung durch eine verirrte Kugel getötet wurde; der Fall wird intern untersucht
24 Mar. '10 Drei Guantanamo-Gefangene nach Georgien entlassen
23 Mar. '10 Giorgi Meladze zum neuen Mitglied des öffentlichen Rundfunkrats gewählt
23 Mar. '10 Präsident Saakashvili nimmt am Atomsicherheitsgipfel in Washington teil
President Saakashvili will visit the United States next month to take part in an international conference on nuclear security, President’s spokesperson said on Tuesday.
President Obama will host Nuclear Security Summit in Washington on April 12-13.
“An informal meeting between President Obama and President Saakashvili is not ruled out on the sideline of the summit; it will become known during the summit itself,” Manana Manjgaladze, the Georgian President’s spokesperson, said.
Meanwhile on March 25, President Saakashvili plans to take part in European People’s Party (EPP) summit in Brussels, according to the Georgian Foreign Ministry. Saakashvili ruling National Movement Party is an observer member of EPP.
During the visit in Brussels, Saakashvili plans a meeting with NATO Secretary General, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, to discuss Georgia’s integration into the alliance, Nino Kalandadze, Georgia’s deputy foreign minister, said.
22 Mar. '10 Anwalt des int. Gerichtshofes Luis Moreno-Ocampo und der georgische Justizminister treffen sich in Sachen August-Krieg
International Criminal Court (ICC) Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo met last week with Georgian Justice Minister, Zurab Adeishvili, in The Hague as part of regular consultations launched since the events of the August war has been the subject of preliminary examination by ICC Prosecutor's Office.
The meeting, which was held on March 18, was also attended by Tina Burjaliani, the Georgian first deputy justice minister, and Payam Akhavan, professor at McGill University in Canada, who acts as a legal counsel for the Georgian government. Professor Akhavan was a legal advisor to the Prosecutor’s Office of the International Criminal Tribunals for Former Yugoslavia and Rwanda in 1994-2000.
Shortly after the August war, the ICC Prosecutor said that the situation in Georgia was under analysis by his Office.
Unlike Russia, Georgia is a state party to the Rome Statute, hence the ICC has jurisdiction over war crimes, crimes against humanity or genocide possibly committed in the territory of Georgia.
"The Office assesses all issues pertaining to its jurisdiction and to the admissibility of cases potentially arising from the situation in Georgia," ICC said in a press release on March 19.
It said that the Georgian delegation presented Tbilisi’s views on the alleged crimes perpetrated during the August armed conflict, including forced displacement of civilians. "They [the Georgian delegation] also briefed the Prosecutor on the ongoing national investigations in Georgia into grave violations committed by all parties to the conflict," ICC said.
The Georgian Justice Ministry said that it was "interested" in having close cooperation with ICC and was ready to provide all the evidence "obtained in the process of investigating crimes committed during the Russian aggression."
According to the Office of Prosecutor, it requested information from the Russian and Georgian governments back in August, 2008 and received response from the both countries.
“We welcome Georgia’s ongoing cooperation with my Office and the prospect that Georgian institutions could operate with the Court in a complementary way,” (ICC) Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo said.
According to ICC, Russia has to date sent 3,817 communications to the prosecutor's office relating to the situation in Georgia.
Representatives from the ICC's prosecutor's office paid visit Georgia in November, 2008 and a new visit is tentatively planned for June, 2010.
22 Mar. '10 Ein Teil der Opposition, initiert von der Arbeiterpartei, stimmt überein, eine gemeinsame Arbeitsgruppe und Taktik für die lokale Wahlen anzugehen
22 Mar. '10 PACE-Beobachter treffen sich mit Oppositionsführern zu Gesprächen über die anstehenden lokalen Wahlen
22 Mar. '10 Präsident Saakashvili zeichnete die Rugby-Mannschaft aus für den Sieg über Russland
President Saakashvili awarded on Sunday each member of Georgia's rugby team with Order of Honor after beating Russia 36-8 in the last round of the European Nations Cup to secure top spot in division one.
Both Georgia and Russia had already qualified for the next year's World Cup in New Zealand even before Saturday's match, with Georgia finishing with 27 points in the group, followed by Russia with 25 points.
Speaking at a meeting with players from the national team in the presidential palace, Saakashvili thanked the team for dedicating the match against Russia to the memory of fallen Georgian soldiers.
"I do not want to politicize sport and we should not have any hate for sportsmen and we don't have any; sport is about friendship; but not a single Russian television station reported about your victory," Saakashvili said.
"Georgians have called the yesterday's match 'a match of honor'; I want to award the entire team with Order of Honor," he said.
Georgia-Russia match was played in Turkey's Black Sea town of Trabzon, about three-hour drive from the Georgian border on a stadium packed with up to 6,000 Georgians. Davit Bakradze, the Georgian parliamentary speaker; Nika Rurua, sports and culture minister, Alexander Lomaia, Georgia's UN ambassador, as well as First Lady Sandra Roelofs were among them.
The Georgians beat the Russians 29-21 in their first clash of this season's tournament in Mariupol, Ukraine year ago.
Saturday's match was in the top story on the Georgian television stations with news bulletins covering extensively not only its result followed by celebrations, but also run-up to the match in previous days.
21 Mar. '10 Nowruz, ein muslimischer Feiertag zum Frühlingsanfang, wurde zum nationalen Feiertag in Georgien erklärt
21 Mar. '10 Imedi TV entschuldigt sich nochmals für den fiktionalen Bericht
Am 15.3. ordnete die nationale Kommission für das Nachrichtenwesen GNCC an, dass Imedi in den Nachrichten zur Hauptsendezeit jene gesetzlichen Verordnungen und Regelungen innerhalb von fünf Tagen bekanntgeben müsse, die durch die Ausstrahlung des fiktionalen Berichtes verletzt worden waren. Insbesondere entschuldigte sich Imedi in einer Erklärung bei den in Tbilisi ansäßigen ausländischen Diplomaten, deren Filarchivmaterial in dem fiktionalen Bericht benutzt wurde. ...
Pursuant to decision by the Georgian National Communications Commission (GNCC), Imedi TV again apologized on March 20 for its fake news report  a week ago about renewed war with Russia.
In a statement, along with viewers, Imedi TV also apologized to those Tbilisi-based foreign diplomats, whose archive footage was used in the fake report.
On March 15 GNCC ordered Imedi TV to announce in its primetime news bulleting within five days those provisions of laws and regulations, which it had violated by airing the fake report and to apologize for doing so. At the time of this decision by GNCC, Imedi TV and its top manager had already apologized and some  considered the regulator's ruling as too soft calling for fining the television stations.
Law on broadcasting envisages fining of a television station with 0.5% of annual income in the event it violates the law, or code of conduct of broadcasters or terms of its broadcast license.
27 minutes after the launch of its 8pm news bulletin on March 20, anchor of the program read out Imedi TV's statement, which said that the television station had violated law on broadcasting, code of conduct of broadcasters and terms of its license.
”We apologize to the society for a misleading broadcast, as well as to diplomats accredited in Georgia, whose footage was used in the simulated report without prior agreement with them," the statement says.
It also apologized to an audience, which was gathered at a talk show, which followed the fake report to discuss Russian-Georgian relations.
"Because of this broadcast, they [guests of the talk show] became in the center of unjustified negative criticism," the statement says.
Many participants were criticized, as during the talk show only few of them spoke out against the way the broadcast was made - without a disclaimer caption on the screen while the report was running.
"The goal of Imedi TV staff is to demonstrate to viewers work done with highest standards of ethics and broadcasting, which is of special importance in coverage of upcoming local elections and electoral campaign," Imedi TV said.
20 Mar. '10 Moskau sagt, es sei bereit für Gespräche über einige Handelsregelungen
Moscow said on March 19 it was ready to engage in talks with Tbilisi to fill the gaps in legal framework for bilateral trade, which emerged after Georgia withdraw from Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS).
Rules of origin of goods applicable within CIS was also an element to the 1994 Russia-Georgia free trade agreement providing basis for preferential tariff treatment.
Russia banned import of Georgia's major export commodities in 2006, more than two years before Georgia decided to pull out from CIS  following the 2008, August war.
The Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement that Georgia had appealed to Russia in July, 2009 and requested to sort out this issue. It said that the appeal was made via Swiss embassy, which acts as diplomatic go-between after Russia and Georgia cut diplomatic ties following the August war.
The Russian Foreign Ministry also said that the Georgian side was "insistingly raising" this issue during two rounds of talks held in October and December, 2009 in connection to reopening of the Kazbegi-Zemo Larsi border crossing point.
The Georgian Foreign Ministry strongly denied on March 20 that it made any appeal or request to Russia to launch talks to fill the gap in legal framework for bilateral trade.
"This is yet another attempt [by Russia] to mislead the international community," Giorgi Karalashvili, head of department for relations with CIS at the Georgian Foreign Ministry, said.
He also said that the issue related with rules of origin of goods automatically was raised during the talks on reopening border, as it was required to identify set of those document, which would have been required during the border crossing.
In its statement the Russian Foreign Ministry also said that because of having an interest in "development of trade" between the two countries and also "to reciprocate" to Georgia's request, Moscow had drafted proposals to resolve the issue. It said that notification was sent to the Georgian side via the Swiss embassy in December, 2009.
The Russian Foreign Ministry also said that in an additional note in March, 2010, it had notified Tbilisi via the Swiss embassy about Moscow's readiness to provide the Georgian products preferential tariff treatment "on the temporary basis" under the condition of "meeting certain rules" of providing certificates of origin of goods.
"At the same time we deem it necessary to launch talks in the nearest future on developing comprehensive rules of identifying origin of goods with a purpose of bilateral trade," the Russian Foreign Ministry said.
"Showing good will, we further intend to constructively consider issues concerning relations with Georgia, which have concrete practical importance," it added.
20 Mar. '10 PACE-Beobacher besuchen Georgien
19 Mar. '10 Behörden schließen eine Untersuchung der Telefonaufzeichnungen zum Imedi TV-Bericht aus
Pavle Kublashvili, Abgeordneter der Regierungspartei: "Es sollte keine Gutachten dieser Telefonaufzeichnungen aus einenm einfachen Grund heraus geben: eine Spur zu russischen Nachrichtendiensten ist offensichtlich."
Authorities Rule Out Probe into Fake TV Report-Related Phone Recordings
The authorities have ignored calls for probe into recorded phone conversations, which surfaced in connection with Imedi TV's fake report, saying that there was no doubt that recordings were "fabricated" by the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) and there was no need to make further focus on the issue in internal political discourse as it was exactly what Russia wanted.
One of the recordings involves a brief discussion allegedly between Culture Minister Nika Gilauri and President Saakashvili about the fake TV report.
"I will not comment on fabrications made by FSB [Russia's Federal Security Service] and on such foolishness," Rurua said on March 19 after he was asked to comment on the recordings.
This recording, in which the man with voice resembling the one of Saakashvili says it was a mistake of Imedi TV not to make a disclaimer caption on the screen, was posted on a mysterious Russian-language website a day after a separate recording of phone conversation between Imedi TV's head and his deputy surfaced on the same website. This latter conversation indicated that President Saakashvili could have been behind the TV hoax.
Christian-Democratic Movement, a leading party in the parliamentary minority, called for setting up of an ad hoc investigative parliamentary commission into the matter and opposition Alliance for Georgia, called on the authorities to carry out an expertise of the recording with the participation of foreign experts.
"There should be no expertise of these phone recordings for one simple reason: a trace of Russian special services is obvious," Pavle Kublashvili, a ruling party lawmaker, who chairs parliamentary committee for legal affairs, told Civil.Ge on March 18.
Asked if he though that questions on the matter would linger unless no documented confirmation was produced, MP Kublashvili responded: “It [Russian involvement] is absolutely clear for the society and I hope that you also have no question marks about it.”
"It is just in Russia’s interests if we now start discussing it and we are not going to do that,” he said.
19 Mar. '10 Staatsminister präsentiert der OSZE in Wien das Strategierpapier der Regierung zu den besetzten Gebieten Abchasien und Südossetien
"Die georgische Regierung hat einen Weg der De-Isolation und des Engagements gewählt entgegengesetzt einem Weg der Ächtung und Ausschließung. ... Die Strategie zielt auf die Lebensumstände und örtliche Situationen, welche schließlich eine freiwillige Wiedervereinigung von Gemeinschaften und friedliche Entsetzung von diesen Gebieten fördert."
Temur Iakobashvili, Georgia's state minister for reintegration, called on OSCE "to find ways and tools how to become more active" in the implementation of Georgia's strategy towards its two breakaway regions.
Iakobashvili addressed a special meeting of the OSCE Permanent Council in Vienna and presented the Georgian government's State Strategy on Occupied Territories: Engagement through Cooperation.
Presentation was part of the Georgian government's efforts to mobilize international support behind its strategy. Iakobashvili in recent weeks has toured western capital and various international organizations, including NATO, EU and Council of Europe presenting the document.
"Government of Georgia has chosen a path of de-isolation and engagment as opposed to the path of ostracism and exclusion," Iakobashvili told the Council.
"Sometimes the strategy is percieved as the [Georgian] government's reintegration or deocupation strategy. This is an incorrect definition," he said. "The title of the strategy precisely reflects its vision and strategic intent - it is the roadmap for engagement and cooperation with the communities, residing currently on the occupied territories. The strategy aims at creating environment and ground, which eventually will support to voluntary re-unification of communities and peaceful de-occupation of these territories."
"This is a long-term goal, which is not a subject matter of the strategy, but rather an eventual by-product of the conflidence and trust that could be built between the war-torn communities."
He said that two "fundamental pillars" were necessary in order to implement the strategy: non-recognition policy and active engagement.
"Active non-recognition policy should continue to be pursued everywhere. Russia has to be constantly reminded of its obligations under international law," Iakobashvili said. "At the same time, while our territories continue to be occupied, we should not forget about the people, who reside there."
He said that three issues were not included in the strategy: security, status and internally displaced persons. He said these were issues "of a medium to long-term nature." But relations between the communities separated by the war, he continued, was the issue of "an imminent humanitarian nature and we can not wait until all the differences are sorted out."
"We need to act now and act quick. This act has to be depoliticized," Iakobashvili said.
The Georgian government is now working on developing an action plan, which will lay out concrete proposals on how the strategy can be implemented.
Iakobashvili said the goal was to organize a conference in the nearest months to discuss an action plan. He also said that French Foreign Minister, Bernard kouchner, had expressed interest to host the conference.
The action plan, Iakobashvili said, would have two parts - unilateral actions and "bileteral activities with authorities in control", referring to the authorities of breakaway regions.
Unilateral actions, which can be undertaken by the Georgian government, will include providing residents of breakaway regions access to the benefits available for the rest of the population of Georgia - healthcare, education, social benefits or international travel. He said that Tbilisi was ready to amand its legislature to put it in line with this purpose.
In respect of actions, requiring interaction with the authorities in the breakaway regions, the Georgian government is offering to establish "status-neutral liaison mechanism."
"UNDP is sought to become platform for this mechanism and in particular cases it will serve as an implementation agency as well," Iakobashvili said.
In his address he also reiterated that conflict with Russia could only be solved through peaceful means. "This is the only viable way forward and we recognize this," Iakobashvili said.
18 Mar. '10 Russische und US-Diplomaten diskutieren über Georgien in Moskau
Grigory Karasin, Russia's deputy foreign minister and Philip Gordon, the U.S. assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs, met in Moscow on March 17 and, among other issues, also discussed Georgia, the Russian Foreign Ministry said on Thursday.
Ukraine, Belarus and Moldova, as well as Nagorno-Karabakh conflict were other topics of discussions, it said.
Gordon accompanies U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on her visit to Moscow. There was no mentioning of Georgia at a joint news conference after talks between Clinton and her Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov on March 18, which was dominated by new nuclear disarmament deal, Middle East and Afghanistan.
In her opening remarks during the press conference, Clinton, however, said, without going into details, that there were differences in bilateral relations. "We know that. We’ve raised them and we have had very frank conversations about them. But they are raised within the context of an overall approach that looks for ways to narrow the areas of difference," she said.
The Secretary of State has stated for number of times previously that Georgia was among those issues on which the two countries had differences.
18 Mar. '10 Parlamentspräsident Bakradze: 'Große Anzahl' internationaler Beobachter zu lokalen Wahlen erwartet
18 Mar. '10 Europäische Bank für Wiederaufbau und Entwicklung (EBWE/EBRD) und georgien unterzeichnen zwei Projekte im Umfang von 180 Mio. Euro
Das eine Projekt ist eine neue Eisenbahnstrecke, die das zentrum von Tbilisi umgeht, und das andere der Bau einer neuen Hochspannungsleitung zwischen Zestaponi und Gardabani.
EBRD will allocate EUR 180 million loan to Georgia for financing two major projects - one to construct a new railway route bypassing center of Tbilisi and another one to build a new high-voltage power transmission line.
EUR 100 million loan will be allocated to finance a new double track railway route 10 km north of Tbilisi, which will divert rail traffic around the center of Tbilisi. This section of railway is part of main route for freight on the east-west transport corridor in Georgia.
EUR 80 million loan to the Georgian State Elektrosystem (GSE), the state-owned electricity transmission company, will finance the construction of a 315 km high voltage electricity line between Zestaponi in western Georgia and Gardabani in the eastern part of the country. The project will include the construction of a back-to-back converter station in Akhaltsikhe, close to Turkish border, which will interconnect the Georgian and Turkish power networks.
"This project will open the door to future investments in the electricity generation sector, in particular in renewable energy, for which the Caucasus region has huge potential,” EBRD President Thomas Mirow said at the signing ceremony in Tbilisi on March 17.
President Saakashvili said at a meeting with EBRD President that both of the projects were of "historic" importance.
Transmission line project is co-financed by the European Investment Bank, the European Union Neighbouring Investment Facility and the German Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau (KfW).
The Tbilisi bypass rail route project is expected to be co-financed by the European Investment Bank and grant financing from the EU’s Neighbourhood Investment Facility with additional grant funding provided by the German government.
17 Mar. '10 EU-Kommissionspräsident Barroso äußert zum Imedi TV-Bericht: er sei besorgt ... Georgien solle Aktionen unterlassen, die die Spannungen anheizen.
President of European Commission, Jose Manuel Barroso, said on March 17 he was "concerned" about Imedi TV's fake report on Russian invasion and called on Georgia to refrain from actions which might fuel tensions.
"I am concerned by recent reports of a hoax news item in Tbilisi," Reuters reported quoting Barroso, "I want to urge Georgia to refrain from any activities which could exacerbate local or regional tensions."
He was speaking at a news conference after meeting with Georgian PM Nika Gilauri in Brussels.
Gilauri told the news conference that the television stations, which carried the fake report was privately owned. It is not clear who is behind a  company, which owns 90% of the television station shares. Head of the television station is Giorgi Arveladze, a former economy minister and a long-time ally of President Saakashvili.
Barroso reiterated EU's "strong commitment to stability and democracy in Georgia and our firm support for Georgia's territorial integrity and conflict resolution efforts."
"The upcoming local elections will be an opportunity for Georgia to demonstrate further its commitment to political pluralism and international standards for free and fair elections," he said.
His press office reported, that Barroso "congratulated Gilauri for the progress already made in eradicating corruption and reforming the justice sector."
17 Mar. '10 Präsident Saakashvili in Tserovani: ‘Georgien – Erster moderner Staat im Kaukasus’
17 Mar. '10 EU-Ratspräsident Van Rompuy: Bindungen EU-Georgien ‘verfestigen sich rasch’
President of the European Council, Herman Van Rompuy, said after meeting with Georgia’s PM Nika Gilauri in Brussels on March 16, that relations between EU and Georgia were “strengthening rapidly”.
He said Georgia was “the only South Caucasus country to have successfully negotiated” visa facilitation and readmission agreements, whose signing and entry into force were now undergoing through EU’s internal decision-making procedures.
“We hope that we can soon fix a date for signature, possibly early June,” he said.
Herman Van Rompuy also said discussions within EU on the draft negotiation directives for an Association Agreement with Georgia were coming to an end, which “means that it should be soon possible to start” talks on this agreement, including a deep and comprehensive free trade treaty.
“The strengthening of relations between Georgia and the EU is a stimulus for Georgia to deliver on further democratic reforms,” he said.
He also said that although EU would not send observers to monitor May local elections, but “will watch the developments closely.”
The OSCE’s Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) will send observers to monitor local elections.
Herman Van Rompuy reiterated EU’s support to Georgia’s territorial integrity and said EU “expects Russia to fulfil all its commitments from the ceasefire agreements.”
“It is the EU's intention to remain actively involved in confidence building measures and conflict resolution. The EU Monitoring Mission has proven to be a crucial factor of stability. It will remain so also in the future,” he said.
17 Mar. '10 Putin äußert sich zu Weißrusslands Position bezüglich Abchasien und Südossetien
Russia’s PM, Vladimir Putin, said on March 16 that “it was really expected in Russia that Belarus would have promptly, vigorously and effectively supported Russia” in recognition of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.
“We see it is not happening,” Putin said at a joint news conference with Belarusian counterpart, Sergei Sidorsky, during the visit in Belarus.
He said that it would be positive if refusal to recognize Abkhazia and South Ossetia would at least bring normalization of ties between Belarus and the west.
“We have always been in favor of normalization relations between Belarus and its western neighbors and the United States. And if it happens at least on these grounds [refusal to recognize breakaway regions] – it already means that there is certain positive result. Ultimately, Belarus is our neighbor; we are building union state [with Belarus] with common economic space. Normalization of relations of Belarus with the western community is worth of that,” Putin said.
Putin also said that that this issue was not at all discussed during his meeting with Belarus PM Sidorsky.
EU warned Belarus against recognition of Abkhazia and South Ossetia in early 2009.
17 Mar. '10 Präsident Saakashvili trifft den russischen Oppositionellen Garry Kasparov in Tbilisi
16 Mar. '10 Französischer Botschafter äußert sich zum Imedi TV-Bericht
16 Mar. '10 Weitere Aufzeichnungen von telefongesprächen zum Imedi TV-Bericht
16 Mar. '10 EU-Beobachter warnen vor Berichten wie dem Imedi TV-Bericht; kann zu ernsthafter Destabilisierung der Lage nahe der abtrünnigen Regionen führen
16 Mar. '10 Ex-Botschafterin Maia Panjikidze äußert sich zu ihrer vorzeitigen Abberufung: es seien keine Gründe angegeben worden; sie eine Verwandte von Irakli Alasania und nennt dies aus ihrer Sicht als Grund
16 Mar. '10 Auslandsinvestitionen fielen auf 759 Mio. USD im Jahr 2009; 2008 noch 1560 Mio. USD
Foreign direct investment in Georgia fell to USD 759.1 million in 2009, down from USD 1.56 billion in 2008, statistics office, Geostat, said on March 16.
Geostat said it was a preliminary figure.
44.5% of overall FDI came from United Arab Emirates and Egypt – USD 169.8 million and USD 167.5 million, respectively.
The Netherlands was third with USD 105.7 million, followed by Turkey – USD 89.5 million; Panama - USD 73.4 million and UK – USD 63.5 million.
Industrial sector attracted most of FDI – USD 204.1 million, followed by transport and communications – USD 153.6; hotels and restaurants – USD 134 million; real estate – USD 132 million; construction sector – USD 79.7 million; banking sector – USD 45.3 million.
Foreign direct investment was USD 2.014 bln in 2007; USD 1.19 billion in 2006 and USD 449.8 million in 2005.
16 Mar. '10 Britischer Botschafter äußert sich zum Imedi TV-Bericht
16 Mar. '10 Veröffentlichtes Band eines internen Telefongesprächs bei Imedi TV sorgt für neuen Streit
15 Mar. '10 OSZE-Medienvertreterin Dunja Mijatovic äußert sich zum Imedi TV-Bericht
Dunja Mijatovic, a new OSCE representative on freedom of the media, said Imedi TV’s fake report on renewed war with Russia was “irresponsible journalism.”
“My mandate… does not allow me to deal with media content. However, I must underline that this particular issue is not about content; it is about irresponsible journalism and the impact it may have on media freedom and security,” she said in a statement on March 15.
The statement also says that contravening Georgian broadcasters' professional code of conduct, the report carried no clear warning that it was fictitious; only a brief notice before it began said it was a simulation of possible events.
“This incident shows that self-regulation principles and mechanisms, which are an essential tenant of freedom of speech, need to be expeditiously enhanced and strengthened. My Office is ready to assist Georgia in this endeavour," Mijatovic said.
“Broadcasters and other media outlets ought to behave responsibly and not mislead the public by spreading false information. This is of particular importance in Georgia and other countries whose societies may be more prone to alarm due to recent armed conflicts,” she added.
15 Mar. '10 Präsident Saakashvili äußert sich zum Imedi TV-Bericht
Er kritisierte, dass nicht dauerhaft eine Warnemeldung ausgestrahlt wurde, dass dieser Bericht Fiktion sei und sagte, dass die Okkupanten weiterhin an aggressiven Plänen arbeiten würden, deren Umsetzung aber irreal seien wegen der Nachhaltigkeit der staatlichen Institutionen, des Grades der Stärkung innerhalb der Gesellschaft und der Einstellung der internationalen Gemeinschaft.
A day after saying that scenario depicted in Imedi TV’s fake report on renewed war with Russia was “maximally close to reality,” President Saakashvili said on March 15 that possibility of materializing Russia’s “aggressive plans” was not real.
On March 14, Saakashvili criticized Imedi TV for not running a warning caption on the screen indicating that it was a fiction; he, however, also added: “But the major unpleasant thing about the yesterday's report - and I want everyone to realize it well - was that this report is maximally close to reality and maximally close to what may really happen.”
In a written statement released on March 15, President Saakashvili was more straightforward in condemning the television station’s fake report saying “elements contained in this program created aimless and worthless agitation.”
He also said that “this very program - as presented in such plot and form - was meaningless and even harmful to our society.”
“[The] program once again proved that it is necessary to create high standards of journalistic ethics, which on the one side will protect the principle of free speech and on the other side will protect the society from irresponsible journalists and journalism.”
“In spite of the fact that the occupying forces are still at work developing various aggressive plans against Georgia, the condition of our state institutions, the level of consolidation within our society and the attitude of the international society all make the plans of these occupying forces impossible to realize,” an English-language version of the statement posted on the President’s website reads.
The same part of the statement in its Georgian-language version is as follows: “In spite of the fact that the occupying forces are still at work developing various aggressive plans against Georgia, the sustainability of our state institutions, the level of consolidation within our society and the attitude of international society make possibility of wide-scale implementation of these plans very unreal.”
Tbilisi has also called on the international community to pay attention on Russia’s policies towards Georgia rather then focusing on the fake report by television station.
“The Georgian government believes that instead of concentrating attention on violation of standards of ethics by a television station, the attention of the international community should be focused – as it is – on such real facts like Russia’s occupation, ethnic cleansing, non-fulfillment of ceasefire agreement, open actions by Russia directed towards overthrow of the democratically elected Georgian government and attempts to restore so called spheres of influence,” President’s spokesperson, Manana Manjgaladze, said on March 15.
She has strongly denied allegations that President Saakashvili or any government representative was aware of the fake report in advance or had something to do with it.
Head of the Imedi TV is a former member of government and President Saakashvili’s long-time ally, Giorgi Arveladze. He apologized for causing "shock" by the report; he said the report did not in any way aimed at "scaring" the public and was only intended for "openly and clearly" showing those "those security threats which our country faces."
“This allegation [about involvement of the authorities] is an absurd,” Manjgaladze said. “Panic triggered by this program first of all harmed the authorities. Georgia is a democratic country and the authorities have no levers to control media. If the authorities could exercise censorship over media, which is unacceptable, it would have been the authorities’ interest to intervene and to block that program from airing.”
15 Mar. '10 Russian Außenminister veurteilt den imitierten Bericht einer erneuten russischen Invasion von Imedi TV
15 Mar. '10 Staatsminister Giorgi Baramidze besucht Brüssel
14 Mar. '10 Imitierter Bericht über wieder ausgebrochenen Krieg löst Panik und Zorn auf Imedi TV aus
A 30-minute long fake report by Imedi television station on Saturday evening as if Russian troops were advancing to Tbilisi triggered panic and also wave of anger on the television station, which has a nationwide broadcasting.
In a brief notice to viewers before the launch of the report, the television station told viewers it was "a simulation" of what might happen in case Russian plans materialize. As the fake report was running mobile networks crushed for several minutes as many were trying to call to find out what was happening. News agencies reported, that number of calls received by an emergency ambulance service, increased significantly at the time when the fake report was running on Imedi TV.
The report was aired by the Imedi TV's weekly program Special Report, which started just couple of minutes before 8pm - time when  Imedi TV runs its usual news bulletin Kronika. Imedi TV's head is Giorgi Arveladze, former member of government and a long-time ally of President Saakashvili.
"Have you ever thought about the end of the Georgian statehood? Probably yes, because we have already seen this threat in summer, 2008," an anchor of Special Report, Natia Koberidze, said while opening the program.
She then continued: "Russia's tactic against Georgia becomes more and more dangerous. The occupying force is vigorously searching for and is finding a foothold within the Georgian political spectrum."
"We want to offer you a simulated, special bulletin of Kronika. Our viewers and invited guest [in Special Report program's studio] will see a news bulletin of probably the toughest day for Georgia, which take into view those threats which politicians and experts are discussing regularly; [a news bulletin about] how events may develop if the society is not consolidated against Russia's plans. Let's see the news bulletin about the worst future."
After these introductory remarks by the anchor, a regular 8pm news bulletin of Imedi TV, Kronika, started. The story line of the fake report focuses on post-local election period, sometime in early June, 2010; opposition, allegedly led by Nino Burjanadze and Zurab Nogaideli - the two politicians who have recently met with Russia's PM Vladimir Putin, protests against the local election results; Russia uses unrests in Georgia and intervenes militarily. The fake report culminated with announcement about President Saakashvili's "assassination" and "clashes" in outskirt of Tbilisi.
The TV station carried no sign on the screen indicating that the report was fake,
A regular anchor of 8pm Kronika opened the news bulletin with announcing that President Saakashvili would make a special statement about "the current situation in Georgia."
Then he continued: "As it was reported few minutes ago, the Russian military forces, including its tank battalion, deployed in Akhalgori [breakaway South Ossetia], declared combat readiness; it is not ruled out that they will marched towards the capital [Tbilisi]. This information caused panic in Gori, Tbilisi and other Georgian cities; residents are trying to flee Tbilisi causing traffic jams and queues at petrol stations... sabotage on strategic facilities is not ruled out."
A caption was running bellow the screen, saying: "Mobilization of the occupying forces; Akhalgori-based military unit on combat readiness."
Then a new story line came into the fake report with the news bulletin anchor announcing that "nine persons wounded as a result of unrests in Tbilisi still remain in hospital" and that four people were "killed" in those unrests.
"Unrests in Tbilisi started on June 7 after unknown persons opened fire on protesters gathered in the Tbilisi center to protest against the election results," the anchor announced.
Mentioning of "June 7" was among those few vague clues which the fake report contained indicating that it was fake, but not definitely enough, as the report was developing in such a way that it was becoming more misleading and many viewers, especially those who started watching it not from its very start, thought it was all true.
Then back in studio, the news bulletin anchor announced that the opposition parties made a joint statement "declaring the authorities as illegal and announcing about establishment of so called people's government." It was again followed by a separate fake report on details of "opposition's statement" with use of archive footage from one of the meeting of opposition leaders.
Back in the studio the anchor again repeated, about seven minutes after the launch of the news bulletin, the initial announcement that Akhalgori-based Russian military forces were on high alert and their advance towards Tbilisi was not ruled out. The anchor also added that "the Georgian troops are mobilized at the administrative border close to Akhalgori and in Ergneti village."
Then the anchor made an introduction to a new story line to the fake report, involving "life attempt" on leader of breakaway South Ossetia Eduard Kokoity. The anchor announced that Nino Burjanadze, leader of Democratic Movement-United Georgia party and ex-PM Zurab Nogaideli, leader of Movement for Fair Georgia, "arrived in Tskhinvali" and "along with the Russian authorities, they also blamed the Georgian authorities for organizing attack on Kokoity." The announcement was followed with a report with archive footage of Tskhinvali and a journalist voiceover telling a fake story about the details of "attack on Kokoity."
After that the anchor in the studio announced that the Russian President Dmitry Medvedev summoned a national security council. A video footage of Medvedev followed accompanied with a voiceover Georgian translation as if Medvedev was saying that he was ordering his government "to neutralize threat coming from Saakashvili."
The fake story then continued from studio again with anchor announcing citing "information provided by the people's government that three battalions of the Georgian armed forces refused to support Saakashvili government and that they go under the subordination of the people's government."
The White House was also included in the fake report with the anchor announcing that President Obama "is just making a statement; here is a live footage" from Washington - again an archive footage was showed, although with caption "live" showing President Obama with Vice President Biden standing next to him; a voiceover Georgian translation gave a false quote of the U.S. President as if saying that he calls Russia "to stop military campaign" against Georgia. After that anchor also announced that Secretary of State Clinton was "on her way to Moscow."
The anchor then announced that "few minutes ago Russia conducted air strikes on Tbilisi airport... on Senaki and Gori military bases."
It was followed by "a sensational information", as the anchor put it, about "assassination of President Saakashvili." "We are not yet able to confirm this report disseminated by Nogaideli's party," the anchor said; he then added that the President's administration released a statement saying "Saakashvili is in a safe location".
The fake report was then followed by announcement that "clashes are taking place in Mtskheta", just outside Tbilisi.
After the end of this 30-minute fake story, the Special Report program continued from its studio.
"For those who have just joined us, I want to say that these were not real chronicles of today; these were possible events that may take place in early June... Kronika has offered you to imagine what should not happen," anchor of Special Report, Natia Koberidze, said.
Then the program continued in studio with large group of invited guest discussing Russia-Georgia relations and potential security threats. Only few participants of the program spoke out against the fact that the Imedi TV did not run a caption saying that the report was fake.
In the course of the program the anchor had to repeat for several times that it was "a simulation", as many viewers were phoning to the television station complaining that the TV report caused panic.
Growing protest against the fake report and signs of panic it has caused, prompted the President's administration to intervene.
About an hour after the fake report was over, Manan Manjgaladze, President Saakashvili's spokesperson, arrived in studio of the Special Report program and requested to make a statement. She said that she was instructed by President Saakashvili to come and express on his behalf "concern and alarm" about this fake report.
"There should have been a caption on the screen showing that it was simulation," she said.
Manjgaladze, herself a former anchor of Imedi TV news bulletin, said she believes the television station should apologize.
"Theoretically such things, which were shown today might be possible, but there is no real threat of that," she said.
After the program was over, the Imedi TV continuously was running a caption below the screen apologizing for the fake report.
"It aimed at obstructing Russia's aggressive plans," the caption reads.
The program was not yet over as several Facebook campaign groups emerged condemning Imedi TV. In few hours one such group attracted over 2,000 supporters and another one over 2,800.
Dozens of angry people, including some opposition politicians gathered at a spontaneous rally outside the Imedi television station. Some protesters were lashing out at some of the program guests, criticizing them for not speaking out against the fake report while participating in the discussion in studio after the report was aired.
13 Mar. '10 Staatsminister Giorgi Baramidze besucht Brüssel
13 Mar. '10 Shamba zu EU-Diplomat: 'Abchasien sei ein zuverlässiger Partner'
12 Mar. '10 Frist für die Überprüfung der Wählerlisten verlängert
12 Mar. '10 Georgien hofft unter der polnischen EU-Ratspräsidentschaft seine Bindung mit der EU verstärken zu können
12 Mar. '10 Irakli Alasania trifft Levan Gachechiladze zu Gesprächen über die anstehenden Wahlen
Levan Gachechiladze ist in diesen Tagen im Zentrum des Medieninteresses, da er selbst in Sachen Wahl noch keine Position bezogen hat.
Irakli Alasania, leader of Alliance for Georgia and Tbilisi mayoral candidate, met with Levan Gachechiladze, co-founder of public movement Defend Georgia, late on Thursday.
“We have exchanged our views about how do we see election campaign for next ten weeks; as well as on coordination of work of various political groups; I also informed him what I plan during my election campaign,” Alasania said on March 12.
Gachechiladze has been in the center of media attention these days, as he has not yet announced about his decision - whether he will run for Tbilisi mayoral office, competing with, among others, Alasania, or will support him. If Gachechiladze decides to run, it will most likely further split overall opposition vote.
Gachechiladze told the Georgian public broadcaster on March 11, that he needs some time to make a final decision. “This decision requires time,” he said. “It won’t be wasted time at all if we eventually manage to agree on a single candidate.”
“Who will lead the society for victory is important for me… Running for mayoral office is not a goal in itself for me, neither supporting a candidate who is doomed for a failure,” Gachechiladze added.
12 Mar. '10 Präsident Saakashvili: Russland’s or drei Jahren begonnenes Embargo gegen georgische Produktescheiterte, da Georgien seine Export breiter auffächerte und nicht mehr vom russischen Markt abhängig ist
President Saakashvili said Russia had failed to achieve its goal through banning import of Georgian products on its market.
He said that the result of the Russian embargo was “vise-versa of what PM Putin, the initiator of this embargo aimed” when imposing trade restrictions on major Georgian export products three years ago. He said that Georgia managed to diversify its export and that Georgia was no longer depended on the Russian market.
He said that even if Russia agreed to return Georgian products on its market, it would not mean that “Russia fell in love with Georgia”.
“Russia loves Georgia like Lenin, or Shah Abbas [Abbas I, the Shah of Persia notorious in Georgia for his invasion of Georgia's eastern region of Kakheti in the early 17th century] loved [Georgia],” he said.
“In fact, this embargo has lost any sense. The Georgian people has demonstrated to the entire world, that we can firmly stand on our feet; the experience has showed that we should not depend solely on a single market,” he added.
12 Mar. '10 US-Menschrechtsbericht zu Georgien: neue Strafprozessordnung und geändertes Wahlverfahren werden als "sgnifikante Menschenrechtserrungenschaften" genannt
New criminal procedure code and amended election code, allowing for direct election of Tbilisi mayor are named as "significant human rights achievements" of 2009 in the U.S. Department of State’s annual human rights report, released on March 11.
Parliament passed new criminal procedure code last October and most of its provisions will go into force in October, 2010,
"The central philosophy of the new criminal procedure code is to establish the legal foundations for adversarial court proceedings: hearings and trials that balance the interests of the state with the rights of the accused, with the judge serving as a neutral and detached magistrate tasked with ensuring fair proceedings," Department of State's 2009 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices says.
The report says that "respect for media freedom declined" in Georgia and similar to previous report, the recent one also says "there were credible reports that the government restricted freedom of speech and the press."
"Throughout the year NGOs, independent analysts, and journalists accused high-ranking government officials and opposition politicians of exercising influence over editorial and programming decisions through their personal connections with news directors and media executives and of exercising influence over advertising income through their personal connections with business owners," according to the report.
It says that media in breakaway regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia "remained tightly restricted by the de facto authorities and Russian occupying forces."
The report also says that alleged cases of arbitrary arrest and detention increased last year and politically motivated imprisonment, excessive use of force by the police, government pressure on the judiciary, senior-level corruption in the government, poor prison conditions and abuse of inmates were among main human rights abuses reported in 2009.
According to the report there were "cases of government interference with the rights of assembly and association."
"While three months of protests [in April-July] by the nonparliamentary opposition were generally held peacefully, there was a clear imbalance in protest-related incidents - crimes against government officials were investigated and solved quickly, while this was not the case for crimes committed against nonparliamentary opposition activists," the report says.
Like the previous one, the recent report notes that although levels of petty corruption fell, concerns remained about high-level and "elite corruption." It also says that there were a low number of reported corruption cases among judicial authorities.
John Bass, the U.S. ambassador to Georgia, said in a video podcast that the last year’s report on Georgia “reflects a society in transition from a past of occupation and conflict to a future as a full democracy.”
Along with achievements, he said, the report “highlights a variety of areas were the Georgian government needs to improve its performance to meet international norms.”
“Many of these revolve around the inconsistent or selective application of the rule of law in investigative resources,” the U.S. ambassador said.
He also said the Georgian government had been “unusually cooperative and responsive” in exploring and addressing criticisms raised by the international community.
11 Mar. '10 EU begrüßt Tbilisi’s Strategieentwurf zu den abtrünnigen Regionen Abchasien und Südossetien mit dem Bekenntnis, den Konflikt friedlich zu lösen
EU “takes note” of Georgia’s State Strategy on Occupied Territories: Engagement through Cooperation and “welcomes Georgia’s commitment to solve the conflict only through peaceful means,” Catherine Ashton, EU’s foreign policy chief, said.
“The EU welcomes the spirit of the initiative as a constructive step towards easing tensions, building confidence and reaching out to the residents of the Abkhaz and South Ossetian regions,” she said in a statement made on behalf of EU on March 10.
The strategy paper was endorsed by the Georgian government on January 27. Among other things, it offers to facilitate people-to-people contacts “across the dividing lines” through humanitarian, economic and “grassroots-level trade” measures, as well as through restoration of transport links. It also proposes to create dedicated funds with the participation of the state, donor community and private investors, to support joint business activities.
The document offers setting up of “a status-neutral” mechanisms “for interaction with authorities in control of Abkhazia and Tskhinvali region/South Ossetia” in order to implement goals laid out in the strategy paper. Ashton said in the statement that EU welcomed this proposal of setting up of a status-neutral mechanism and called on all the interested parties to facilitate its establishment.
“A key priority for Georgia will be to ensure that the relevant legislative and administrative framework, including the Law on Occupied Territories and its implementation, is being brought in line with the opinions presented by the Venice Commission on this matter,” the statement says.
Speaking to European parliamentarians in Strasbourg on March 10, Ashton said that EU “support[s] confidence building measures to rebuild ties with the breakaway republics.”
She also said that EU had “full agenda” when it was discussing Georgia with Russia “as I did only ten days ago” with Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.
“We need stronger structures, more flexibility and better preparedness if we want Georgia to be the benchmark for the future,” the EU foreign policy chief said.
11 Mar. '10 Innenminister Vano Merabishvili besucht Italien, um über Verbrechensbekämpfung zu sprechen
11 Mar. '10 Peter Semneby, EU-Sonderbeauftragter für den Südkaukasus, besucht Sokhumi
Dieser Besuch knüpft an die Empfehlung des ICG-Berichts an, die Kontakte zu Vertretern und Gruppen im abtrünnigen Abchasien weiterzuführen oder zu erneuern, ohne "rote Linien zur Statusfrage zu überqueren", vielmehr um die Konfliktlösung zu voranzubringen.
EU’s Special Representative for South Caucasus, Peter Semneby, is expected to arrive in breakaway Abkhazia on Thursday evening.
Meetings with Abkhaz leader Sergey Bagapsh; parliamentary speaker Nugzar Ashuba and the breakaway region’s PM Sergey Shamba are planned on March 12.
According to a recent report on Abkhazia by Brussels-based think tank, International Crisis Group (ICG), in December, 2009 EU’s Political and Security Committee agreed a "non-paper on the parameters for EU’s non-recognition and engagement policy for Abkhazia and South Ossetia" aimed at carving out political and legal space within which the EU can interact with the breakaway regions “without crossing status red lines, thus emphasising a strategic interest to engage so as to increase its leverage to move conflict resolution forward.”
According to the same report European Commission officials who visited Abkhazia in January, 2010 “felt their [Abkhaz] interlocutors were keen to continue and deepen cooperation that can promote development, such as with small- and medium-sized enterprises.”
But citing a position of unnamed “prominent” Abkhaz opposition figure, the report also says that not all Abkhazians share the Abkhaz government’s “generally positive view” towards EU member states, largely because they are seen as “pro-Georgian”.
In its report the International Crisis Group recommended EU to “continue or renew contacts with authorities and civil society groups in Abkhazia – including by traveling there – without implying legitimisation or recognition of Abkhazia as an independent state or otherwise undermining Georgian sovereignty.”
11 Mar. '10 Polnischer Premierminister Donald Tusk besucht Georgien
PM of Poland, Donald Tusk, visits Georgia on March 11 as part of his trip to South Caucasus states.
He met with his Georgian counterpart, Nika Gilauri, and will meet with President Saakashvili later on March 11.
“Although there are certain political differences between him and President Lech Kaczyński, he supports Georgia like President Kaczyński,” Konstantine Kavtaradze, Georgia’s ambassador to Poland, told Rustavi 2 TV on March 11.
During the visit PM Tusk also plans a meeting with Polish members of EU Observer Mission in Georgia (EUMM). Poland has contributed 21 monitors to 250-strong EU observation mission.
PM Tusk, who arrived in Tbilisi from Baku, will visit Armenia on March 12.
11 Mar. '10 Vertreter der Partei von Alasania treffen sich mit Levan Gachechiladze
10 Mar. '10 Nach einer Gesetzesänderung wird die Luftwaffe in die Landstreitkräfte integriert, um die Zusammenarbeit zu verbessern und Kosten zu reduzieren
10 Mar. '10 Georgische Menschenrechtsgruppen treffen sich mit britischen und französischen Diplomaten in Tbilisi, um aktuelle Fälle zu besprechen
Georgian human rights and advocacy groups met with British, French and U.S. ambassadors in Tbilisi on March 10 to convey their concerns regarding recent cases of, as they put it, targeting human rights groups and activists.
Representatives from Human Rights Centre (HRC), Georgian Young Lawyers Association (GYLA) and Multinational Georgia, an umbrella organization for dozens of NGOs working on ethnic and religious minority issues, participated in the meeting held in the office of HRC.
“There have been cases of direct or indirect pressure on activists and human rights groups and we wanted to inform ambassadors about these cases,” Ucha Nanuashvili, head of Human Rights Centre, said.
He said, among other issues, the case of Arnold Stepanian, founder of Multinational Georgia and representative of Armenian community in Georgia, was raised during the meeting. ...
10 Mar. '10 Ex-TV-Nachrichtenmoderator Inga Grigolia ist im Gespräch für den Stadtrat von Tbilisil
A former TV anchor, Inga Grigolia, is likely to lead a party-list of candidates in proportional contest for Tbilisi City Council membership, nominated by Christian-Democratic Movement (CDM), a leading party in the parliamentary minority, Rustavi 2 television station reported on March 9.
"No final decision is yet made, but I can confirm that we are actually in final stage of consultations [with Grigolia]," MP Giorgi Targamadze, leader of CDM and of parliamentary minority, told Rustavi 2 TV.
"We can say with high probability that she will be number one in our list [of candidates]," another senior CDM member, MP Levan Vapkhvadze, said.
Being a number one in the party-list of candidates means that Grigolia, who has been hosting various political talk shows for years on various TV stations - the most recently on the public broadcaster till July, 2009, will contest for the Tbilisi City Council chair's post.
Many in CDM leadership, including Giorgi Targamadze, were colleagues to Grigolia working together in Imedi TV station before quitting it two years ago.
Also no March 9, CDM inaugurated an election headquarter for its Tbilisi mayoral candidate Giorgi Chanturia, a former head of the state oil corporation. Chanturia, who said he is neither opposition, nor pro-government figure and not a politician at all, is running a campaign under the slogan "Employment and Low Tariffs" - household tariffs on water, electricity and gas.
9 Mar. '10 Präsident Saakashvili: ‘Georgien nähert sich, "die Schweiz dieser Region zu werden mit Elementen von Singapur’
Saakashvili hielt eine Ansprache anläßlich der Eröffnung eines neuen Schulgebäudes für eine türkisch-georgische Schule in Batumi. "... unser größte herausforderung und Aufgabe ist die SChaffung eines Bildungssystems auf höchtsem Niveau in dieser Region ..., so wie es in der Schweiz oder Singapur war. ... Nach der ersten Phase der Reformen, in der die Korruption im Bildungssystem beseitigt werden mußte, sollte nun der Fokus auf der Verbesserung der Qualität gerichtet sein. ..."
President Saakashvili said on March 9, that Georgia was moving towards becoming “Switzerland of this region with elements of Singapore.”
Speaking at an opening ceremony of a new building for Turkish-Georgian school in Batumi, Saakashvili mainly spoke of education system.
“The major thing, that we should create and which represents our major challenge and task, is creation of the highest level of education system in this region and hopefully in Europe and in the world – like it was in Singapore, like it was in Switzerland,” he said.
“Because we are Switzerland of this region with elements of Singapore; of course we have a long way ahead before reaching that point. [Georgia] is the place where most of the financial interests will be concentrated, the most of the business activities will be concentrated, the most of the transport and tourism infrastructure will be concentrated; we will create all these together with our friends; these children [referring to school children standing behind him] should make all this work – these are the most honorable citizens of future Georgian Switzerland, future Georgian Singapore, future Georgian Dubai, Georgian Hong Kong and of greatest Georgia of all times,” Saakashvili added.
In his speech at the ceremony, also attended by visiting Turkish State Minister Hayati Yazici, Saakashvili hailed Turkish investments in Georgia’s education system through establishing university and schools, “where Georgian patriots are being grown up.”
“This word – patriotism, which some consider as shameful, is not regarded as shameful in these schools, because Turkey knows very well what does patriotism of own country mean and appreciates what does patriotism in its neighboring – especially in its friendly neighboring countries – mean,” Saakashvili said.
He said that after eradicating corruption in the education system on the first stage of the reforms, Georgia should now focus on “increase of quality of education.”
“We had very good education ministers,” he said and added that first education minister in his administration Alexander Lomaia, who is now Georgia’s ambassador to UN, established “fair education system” through eradicating corruption.
“What [current Education Minister] Dimitri Shashkin is now doing is modernization of this system – this fair system should now produce high quality of education,” he said.
2010 state budget allocated GEL 557.6 million for the Ministry of Education and Science, against GEL 519 million in 2009. This funding is 2.9% of this year’s forecasted GEL 19 billion GDP.
9 Mar. '10 Ex-Premierminister Nogaideli besucht Moskau zu "hochrangigen" Treffen
9 Mar. '10 OSZE-Parlamentspräsident Joao Soares besucht Georgien
8 Mar. '10 Georgien schließt mit der Firma "Podesta Group" in Washington einen Vertrag zu Öffentlichkeitsarbeit ab
8 Mar. '10 Georgien offen für Gespräche zur Wiederaufnahme von Direktflügen nach Moskau
Russland hatte die Flüge unilateral eingestellt.
8 Mar. '10 "Conservative Party", "Party of People" und die Partei von Ex-Premierminister Zurab Nogaideli wollen ihren alleinigen Kandidaten für die Bürgermeisterwahl im April benennenl
7 Mar. '10 Gefängnisinsaße kommt bei einem Brand im Gefängnis in Ksani außerhalb von Tbilisi um
6 Mar. '10 Präsident Saakashvili weist den Gesundheitsminister an, Haartests auf Drogenmißbrauch bei öffentlichen Angestellten durchzuführen
President Saakashvili has ordered the Healthcare Ministry to test hair samples of public officials for evidence of drug misuse. ...
Although there have been several cases of drug testing among public officials, MP Lortkipanidze offered on March 5 to conduct hair drug tests, instead of urinalysis, saying that analysis of hair samples is more effective, which can provide a drug history of over a 90-day period.
“The government should listen attentively to all those reasonable initiatives, which will be coming from the political groups. The reaction [of the government] should not be rejection, [proposals] should be accepted if considered necessary for the country,” Saakashvili said.
He said the entire “public sector - and it is about 100 thousand persons” should undergo these tests.
He also said there were 6,000 inmates in the Georgian prisons serving sentences for illegal drug trade. He called drug misuse “a catastrophic” problem for Georgia.
“In recent years the level of drug misuse has stabilized, but we managed to do it through taking draconian measures… Although I understand that repressive methods can not resolve this problem,” he said and added that environment should be created, wherein drug misuse would be socially unacceptable.
5 Mar. '10 Medvedev: Georgien erneuert seine militärisches Potential mit Hilfe von außen
Russia’s President, Dmitry Medvedev, said on March 5, that Georgia was increasing its military capabilities with the help “from outside”.
“Unfortunately, not all the countries and politicians have learnt lessons from the developments in August 2008. Unfortunately, restoration of Georgia’s military potential still continues and it happens with outside help,” Medvedev said at a meeting with top Russian military commanders.
He said that because of this and also because of “difficult social-economic situation in the Caucasus” he had created a new federal district of North-Caucasus in January, when the Southern Federal District was divided to create a new North Caucasus Federal District comprising six of the seven North Caucasus republics, plus Stavropol Krai. Medvedev said that this new administrative division would help to increase coordination among the law enforcement structures.
Medvedev also said that Russian-proposed new European security pact had a potential to create an appropriate format able “to prevent various regional conflicts; first of all on the European continent, including the conflicts similar to the Georgian-Ossetian one.”
5 Mar. '10 Nino Burjanadze trifft russischen Außenminister Sergey Lavrov
5 Mar. '10 Telefongespräch US-Vizepräsident und Präsident Saakashvil: Washington unterstützt weiter Georgiens Souveränität und territoriale Integrität
U.S. Vice President Joe Biden spoke by phone with President Saakashvili on March 4 and "affirmed" Washington's support for Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, the White House said.
"He encouraged Georgia’s democratic reform process and the desire for an open, transparent, and free process during Georgia’s upcoming [local] elections," it said. "The Vice President thanked President Saakashvili for Georgia’s important contribution to the international mission in Afghanistan."
5 Mar. '10 Nino Burjanadze über die Gespräche mit Putin
Sie wollte Putin treffen, um herauszufinden, wie Moskau die zukünftigen Beziehungen mit Georgien sieht.
4 Mar. '10 Nino Burjanadze trifft Putin in Moskau
4 Mar. '10 Alasania startet Wahlkampfkampagne zur Bürgermeisterwahl in Tbilisi
4 Mar. '10 Imedi TV Nachrichtenchefin Nana Intskirveli ersetzt durch Mate Kirvalidze
4 Mar. '10 Ehemaliger abchasischer Führer Vladislav Ardzinba gestorben
3 Mar. '10 EU-Delegation trifft Opposition zu Gesprächen über die lokalen Wahlen und die Sicherheit des Landes
3 Mar. '10 Nino Burjanadze (DMUG) besucht Moskau; Details sind noch nicht bekannt
Nino Burjanadze, ex-parliamentary speaker and leader of Democratic Movement-United Georgia (DMUG), left for Moscow on March 3 as part of, as she put it, her engagement in “big politics.”
“This is very important visit, I am going there to defend the interests of my country and my people, because the country I am leaving for is our neighboring state, one of the largest and strongest states, and naturally the position of this state is important for Georgia’s unity, for Georgia’s democratic and sovereign development,” Burjanadze told reporters before departure.
“I am occupied by big politics; while others are occupied with mayoral elections and the authorities are occupied by carrying out black PR campaign against the opposition, I am doing big politics,” she added.
Details of Burjanadze’s visit, including with whom she plans to meet have not been released by her party. DMUG, however, said that after trip to Moscow, Burjanadze also planned visits to Brussels and in number of other European capitals, as well as to the United States.
Former PM and leader of Movement for Fair Georgia, Zurab Nogaideli, who has recently signed a cooperation agreement with Russia’s ruling party, welcomed Burjanadze’s visit to Moscow.
“It is very important that Nino Burjanadze has slightly changed her previous stance in respect of Russia, when she was saying that dialogue with Russia was needed, but with certain preconditions. You know she was saying that at first Georgia’s de-occupation should take place. But now we have all seen that no one is in fact afraid of our preconditions. The dialogue is needed to create a chance of de-occupation and of reunification,” Nogaideli told Rustavi 2 TV.
3 Mar. '10 Richard Holbrooke, US-Sonderbeauftragter für Afghanistan und Pakistan: Georgische Truppenentsendung nach Afghanistan ist ‘von außerordentlicher Bedeutung’
Georgien stellt mit 950 Mann die größte Beteiligung umgerechnet auf die Bevölkerung. Er sagte auch beim Besuch eines Ausbildungsbatallions außerhalb Tbilisis: "Die US-Marines, welche die Ausbildung betreuten, hätten ihm gesagt, dass diese zu den besten Streitkräften gehörten, die sie je gesehen hätten."
Georgia’s contribution to the Afghan operation is “extremely important”, which has “gotten far too little attention,” U.S. Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, Richard Holbrooke, said on March 2.
At a briefing in Washington on his recent trip to Afghanistan, Pakistan, Central Asia, Georgia and Germany, Holbrooke said that he visited Georgia on February 21-22 to only discuss Georgia’s plan to send additional troops to Afghanistan.
“We did not discuss U.S-Russian relations. We did not discuss issues involving their future relationships with NATO. This was an Afghanistan-related trip,” he said.
Georgia, which already has 175 soldiers in Afghanistan serving under the French command, will send in April an infantry battalion without national caveats, who will be deployed alongside with the U.S. Marines in the province of Helmand.
After sending the battalion number of Georgian troops in Afghanistan will increase up to 950, making Georgia the largest per capita contributor to the Afghan operation.
Holbrooke, who during the visit observed training of the Georgian battalion outside Tbilisi, said: “The U.S. Marines, who are advising the training… said these are among the best troops that they’ve ever seen.”
He said that many of those Georgian soldiers, who will be deployed in Afghanistan, were part of Georgia’s 2,000-strong troops serving in Iraq. Georgia withdrew its troops from Iraq during the war with Russia in August, 2008.
“They have a tremendous fighting tradition,” Holbrooke said. “President Saakashvili and I had discussed this [deployment] a year ago and started the process which has led to the deployment… I want to express with great strength on behalf of the entire U.S. Government how much the United States Government appreciates the Georgian contribution.”
Holbrooke also said that his trip to Georgia “came by coincidence on the same day that the government in the Netherlands fell.” The Dutch coalition government collapsed on February 20 when the two largest parties failed to agree on whether to extend or not presence of the Dutch troops in Afghanistan beyond its original deadline of August, 2010.
3 Mar. '10 Vier Arbeiter sterben bei einer Explosion im Kohlebergwerk in Tkibuli
An explosion in coal mine in western Georgia killed 4 miners and badly injured one late on March 2, officials said on Wednesday.
A methane gas leak seems to be the cause of the incident in mine in Tkibuli, said a governor of Imereti, the region where the mine is located.
3 Mar. '10 Spanischer Außenminister Miguel Angel Moratinos besucht Georgien im Rahmen einer Südkaukasusreise
... During his visit the Spanish Foreign Minister will meet with his Georgian counterpart Grigol Vashadze; Parliamentary Chairman Davit Bakradze; State Minister for Reintegration Temur Iakobashvili; President Saakashvili and will also visit EU Monitoring Mission in Georgia. ...
2 Mar. '10 Prozedur zur Besetzung eines freien Sitzes im öffentlichen Rundfunkrat begonnen
2 Mar. '10 Suchumi wirft Tbilisi vor, die Arbeit humanitärer Organisationen in der abtrünnigen Region Abchasien zu unterminieren; Tbilisi wirft Suchumi vor, mit der Unterzeichnung eines Memorandums eine Art Anerkennung als Staat zu erhalten
Abkhaz leader, Sergey Bagapsh, accused Tbilisi of an attempt “to undermine” work of dozen of international humanitarian groups operating in the breakaway region, claiming that the Georgian authorities were “pressuring” those groups not to sign with Sokhumi a document setting “a legal framework” for their activities in the region.
Bagapsh says in an English-language statement released on March 1, that these “untoward” attempts by Tbilisi might “unnecessarily disrupt” humanitarian services from twelve organizations “to thousands of innocent civilians.”
RFE/RL’s Russian-language Ekho Kavkaza reported last month that Sokhumi had offered international non-governmental organizations and several UN agencies, including UNDP, UNHCR and UNICEF, operating in the region to sign a memorandum on cooperation, preamble of which contains a following wording: “Respecting the sovereignty and independence of the Republic of Abkhazia”. Some of those organizations, in response, offered Sokhumi to sign “a code of conduct”, which, according to the report by Ekho Kavkaza, was partly similar to the Abkhaz-proposed memorandum, but made no references to the region’s status.
Bagapsh said in the statement that code of conduct “has no legal governing authority” and “no government would stand for that, and no NGO would want its people working under such ill-defined conditions.” He also called on the humanitarian organizations to urge Tbilisi “to cease immediately its campaign to politicize humanitarian NGO services.”
Officials in Tbilisi say that Sokhumi itself politicizes the issue by trying to gain some sort of recognition through insisting on signing a memorandum with reference to the status.
Both Sokhumi and Tbilisi say that they are interested in presence of the humanitarian organizations in the region.
2 Mar. '10 Minister Temur Iakobashvili angesichts des franz.-russischen Mistral-Waffengeschäfts: Georgien sollte in der Lage sein, Defensivwaffen zu kaufen
Possibility to buy defensive armament and NATO-membership are among those key factors that can provide Georgia’s security, Temur Iakobashvili, the Georgian state minister for reintegration, said on March 2.
Remarks were made when he was commenting on possible sale of French Mistral-class helicopter carrier amphibious assault warships to Russia. The Georgian officials have expressed concerns about the possible deal for number of times and Georgian deputy foreign minister, Nino Kalandadze, said Paris was aware of Georgia’s concerns on the matter.
“I see protection of Georgia’s interests in two issues: first, Georgia should timely be granted NATO membership, because Georgia can not engage in race with Russia in buying Mistrals and other type of weaponry; second, we should have an opportunity to procure defensive armament and I think this issue should be out of question after the Mistral deal; we have the right to protect ourselves and we should be able to buy what we need for that purpose, including from France,” Iakobashvili said.
French President, Nicolas Sarkozy, said at a joint news conference with Russian counterpart, Dmitry Medvedev, in Paris on March 1: "How can we say to the Russians, 'We need you to resolve a certain number of problems, notably the Iranian crisis, which is a very important crisis but we don't trust you, we can't work with you on the Mistral ships'?"
“This is a symbol of trust between our countries,” the Russian President said at the same press conference. “I hope that these negotiations [on Mistral deal] will be crowned by success.”
2 Mar. '10 Türkische Medien berichten von einem Kurzbesuch Präsident Saakashvili’s in Istanbul
2 Mar. '10 US-finanzierte neue Radarstation in Gonia eröffnet, um die Möglichkeiten der Küstenüberwachung zu verbessern
A new radar station to enhance Georgian coast guard's capability to control seacoast and prevent smuggling was opened in Gonia, Adjara autonomous republic on March 1.
The USD 502,000 radar station is the last of four radars funded by the United States.  The other three radars on the Black Sea coast, also funded by the U.S., are in Anaklia, close to the Abkhaz administrative border; Supsa in Guria region and Chakvi in Adjara.
"These radar stations are important for the overall security of Georgia," the U.S. embassy in Tbilisi said.
The radar stations were built under the supervision and oversight of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and funded in frames of the Georgia Border Security and Law Enforcement program, through which in last ten years the U.S. donated the Georgian law enforcement agencies goods and services worth of USD 150 million, according to the U.S. embassy.
Georgia's border crossing infrastructure with Russia in Kazbegi district, which reopened on March 1, was modernized last year in frames of this U.S. assistance program.
1 Mar. '10 Finnischer Diplomat Antti Turunen wird neuer UN-Botschafter für Georgien
1 Mar. '10 Präsident Saakashvili sagt, dass er irgendwelche Szenarien, bei denen er nach 2013 an der Macht bliebe, ausschließt
1 Mar. '10 "Conservative Party", "Party of People" und Ex-Premierministers Zurab Nogaideli’s "Movement for Fair Georgia" lassen die Pläne zu Vorwahlen eines einzigen Oppositionskandidaten fallen
1 Mar. '10 Alasania zurück in der Linie mit der "Allianz für Georgien"
28 Feb. '10 Armenischer und georgischer Präsident versprechen, die Beziehungen zu vertiefen
Armenian and Georgian Presidents, Serzh Sargsyan and Mikheil Saakashvili, respectively, said after meeting in Georgia's Black Sea coast region of Ajara on Sunday that they had agreed to further deepen "already close ties" between the two countries.
Sargsyan paid two day private visit to Georgia on February 27-28.
President Saakashvili described his Armenian counterpart as "a very brave person" and said he was admired by the results he had achieved in Armenia. He also said that they agreed "to integrate" the two countries economies. "We are two small countries and we need each other... I am sure our relations will be further deepened," Saakashvili said.
President Sargsyan said he was very "glad with this meeting" and added that 2010 would be year of further boosting bilateral relations.
According to the Armenian President's press office the two Presidents also discussed issues related with reopening of border crossing point between Georgia and Russia, Armenian media sources reported. Kazbegi-Zemor Larsi border crossing point, through which Armenia has a land access to Russia via Georgia, will be reopened from March 1.
During the first day of the Armenian President's visit, the Georgian President said in Batumi: “I want to welcome my and our country’s great friend the President of Armenia."
"These two countries have never had before such cloudless relations and close partnership.” President Saakashvili said after taking a walk together with his Armenian counterpart in central streets of Batumi.  
President Sargsyan thanked the Georgian counterpart for “warm welcome” and said that the two countries had “really very good relations.”
27 Feb. '10 Armenischer Präsident Serzh Sargsyan Georgien
... “I want to welcome my and our country’s great friend the President of Armenia. These two countries have never had before such cloudless relations and close partnership,” President Saakashvili said after taking a walk together with his Armenian counterpart in central streets of Batumi. ...
27 Feb. '10 Präsident Saakashvili sagt vor Abgeordneten, dass eine weitere Kürzung der Mittel für Verteidigung nicht angemessen wären angesichts der bedrohten Sicherheitslage
In his rebuttal speech to the President’s annual state of the nation address, parliamentary minority leader, MP Giorgi Targamadze, called on the authorities to reduce defense spending at a level of GDP’s 3% and redirect saved funds to business stimulus projects.
“We have already reduced defense funding twice; and it has been done by the country which is actually in the state of war,” Saakashvili responded in his closing remarks.
“I want to remind you that ceasefire accord remains unfulfilled [by Russia] and we have no peace treaty with Russia, because in exchange for peace treaty [Russia] asks us to recognize occupation of the Georgian territories,” he said.
Georgia’s defense funding is GEL 750 million in 2010, which is up to 4% of this year’s forecasted GEL 19 billion GDP. 2010 defense funding is down from GEL 897 million in 2009 and GEL 1.547 billion in 2008.
According to a report on Abkhazia, which was released by International Crisis Group on February 26, over the past few months Georgia discharged from the armed forces 600 mid-level officers, including 100 colonels, partly in an effort to slash spending. ICG cites Georgian military officials and Tbilisi-based European diplomats as source of this information.
President Saakashvili also said in Parliament on February 26: “I repeat we will never surrender. When we speak about reduction of defense spending, Mr. Targamadze, neither are you a leader of a Buddhist-Democratic party, nor do I look like Dalai Lama, either by appearance or by actions, because I want to live in my country and I want to struggle in my country to the end.”
27 Feb. '10 ICG International Crisis Group (ICG) legt Bericht zu Abchasien mir dem Titel “Abkhazia: Deepening Dependence” vor
A year and a half after recognition of Abkhazia by Moscow, the region “is undoubtedly more dependent than ever on Moscow,” a Brussels-based think tank, International Crisis Group (ICG), said in its report released on February 26.
The report reviews key developments in Abkhazia after its recognition by Russia and analyses the economic, political situation in the region, as well as its external relations, issues related to media, population and Russia’s military build up following the August war.
Officials in Sokhumi do not see their increasing dependence on Russia as a threat, according to the report titled “Abkhazia: Deepening Dependence”.
Citing unnamed high-ranking Abkhaz official, the report says that Sokhumi considers security and economy as two major concerns. “Our relationship with Russia meets our needs in both areas. We have the amount of independence that we require,” the official was quoted.
Although Russian officials have given various figures, from 1,700 to 3,700, for their troop numbers in Abkhazia, the report says that according to western military analysts with access to satellite imagery, estimated number of Russian troops is from 4,000 to 5,000, including coast guard units, border guard forces of Federal Security Service (FSB) and regular troops. ICG said it had obtained these figures from western military officials and western European intelligence sources in September, 2009 and in January, 2010, respectively.
The Bombora airbase near the town of Gudauta, which is the largest military airfield in South Caucasus, is central to Moscow’s plans for its long-term military presence, according to the report. The airbase is important because of its location along the Black Sea and lengthy runway that can handle heavy payload military cargo craft.
The breakaway region’s budget was 60% directly supported by Russia in 2009 and in 2010, although the monetary figure of Russia’s support to Abkhazia’s budget will remain the same, there will be fall in percentage terms to 49% - 1.9 billion rubles (USD 63 million) out of a total budget of 3.875 billion rubles (USD 128.5 million).
“It remains uncertain, given their military and economic dependence on Moscow, how much room for independent manoeuvre the de facto authorities in Sukhumi have to deal with Georgia,” the report says.
ICG recommends the Georgian authorities to show constructiveness and not to try to isolate Abkhazia, “even though Moscow’s flouting of the ceasefire agreements makes this a bitter pill to swallow.” The report notes that the Georgian government’s new strategy towards its breakaway regions “partly reflects new thinking.” Sokhumi has strongly rejected the strategy.
ICG called on Sokhumi to reconsider its outright rejection of the document as “Abkhazians could clearly benefit from some of the economic and trade proposals [of the document], which could lead in turn to further development and an end to isolation.”
“But at the same time, Tbilisi should focus on taking practical steps to make these projects possible without linking them to status,” the report reads.
The report also warns that with the conflict remaining unresolved it may “again destabilise the southern Caucasus.”
27 Feb. '10 Georgisch-russischer Grenzübergang Kazbegi-Zemo Larsi wird am 1.März wiedereröffnet
... “Georgia does not expect any special economic or political benefit from reopening of this border crossing point,” Alexander Nalbandov, the Georgian deputy foreign minister, said on February 27. An agreement to reopen the border crossing point was reached as a result of talks held in October and December held in Yerevan and Kazbegi, respectively. The first meeting in Yerevan was held “through mediation” of Armenian officials, according to the Georgian Foreign Ministry and the second was held in presence of Swiss mediators. ...
26 Feb. '10 Präsident Saakashvili hält Regierungserklärungsrede vor dem Parlament
26 Feb. '10 Shota Gvineria zum neuen Botschafter in den Niederlanden ernannt, vorher Maia Panjikidze
26 Feb. '10 Neuer Außenminister in der abtrünnigen Region Abchasien ernannt: Maxim Gvinjia
26 Feb. '10 Aufstellung der Opposition vor den Wahlen vage; Salome Zourabichvili äußert sich kritisch zu Surab Nogaideli und seinem moskaunahen Auftreten
26 Feb. '10 USA versprechen 124 Mio. USD für den Energiesektor Georgiens
26 Feb. '10 Präsident Saakashvili spricht über ‘Kollaborateure’ beim 89. Jahrestag der Invasion der roten Armee
... "Ich bedauere diese Personen. Was kann man Unwürdigeres tun, als vor seinem Feind niederzuknieen und die Füße des Feindes zu küssen? Was kann Unwürdiger sein als das?" Obwohl er niemanden direkt beim Namen nannte, spielte er offensichtlich auf Ex-Premierminister Nogaideli an, den Parteichef der "Movement for Fair Georgia". ...
President Saakashvili said on February 25 that Georgia “will never kneel down” before its enemy and what happened 89 years ago, when Bolshevik Red Army occupied Georgia, will not be repeated.
February 25 marks 89th anniversary of occupation of Tbilisi by the Red Army, putting an end to Georgia’s three-year independence in 1921.
Speaking to journalists late on February 25 after a ceremony commemorating Georgian soldiers fallen in a battle with the Red Army in Kojori, outside Tbilisi, President Saakashvili spoke of “collaborationists”, who “kneel down before the enemy”.
“I pity these people,” he said. “What one can do more undignified than to kneel down before your enemy and kiss your enemies’ feet? What can be more indignity than that?” he said.
Although not naming directly anyone, he was apparently alluding to ex-PM Zurab Nogaideli, leader of Movement for Fair Georgia. Saakashvili made frequent allusions of this type in his recent speeches.   
“The best parts of our country are occupied and 500,000 people expelled from their homes. Cooperation with the occupying force was shameful in occupied France and occupied Europe. Those cooperating with occupants can not have any dignity,” he said.
“Georgia is a free country and enemies of freedom will not be able to take Georgia back in past,” he said, adding that a small group of “collaborationists will never darken free Georgia.”
He also said that throughout its history “Georgia outlived most of its invaders”.
“We have endured Shah Abbas [Abbas I, the Shah of Persia notorious in Georgia for his invasion of Georgia's eastern region of Kakheti in the early 17th century] and we will endure Putin too,” Saakashvili said.
25 Feb. '10 USS-Zerstörer John L. Hall legt in Poti an zu Übungen mit der georgischen Küstenwache
25 Feb. '10 Gespräche zu vermißten Personen in Genf unter der Vermittlung des Int. roten Kreuzes (ICRC); Tbilisi und Tskhinvali tauschen Listen aus
Nach Shota Utiashvili vom Innenministerium sind auf der Liste Georgiens 37 vermißte personen aufgeführt, davon 25 Zivilisten, 9 Armeeangehörige und 3 Polizisten.
... Participants of the meeting from Tbilisi and Tskhinvali exchanged lists of missing persons, Georgian official and representative of the breakaway region’s authorities said.
Shota Utiashvili, head of the Georgian Interior Ministry’s information and analytical department, said that the Georgian side handed over list of 37 missing persons, including 25 civilians, 9 military servicemen and 3 policemen. “Unfortunately, there is no hope that they are alive,” Utiashvili told Civil.Ge on Thursday. ...
25 Feb. '10 US-Außenministerin Clinton vor einem US-Senatskomitee: Georgien bleibt für diese "Regierung von hoher Priorität"
24 Feb. '10 Wirtschaftliche Zusammenarbeit zwischen der USA und Georgien geplant auf der Basis des strategischen Partnerschaftsabkommen
24 Feb. '10 Bagapsh ernennt neuen Sicherheitschef
24 Feb. '10 Teil der Opposition beginnt Gespräche über die Auswahl eines einzigen Kandidaten für die Bürgermeisterwahlen
24 Feb. '10 Premierminister Nika Gilauri besucht Qatar und trifft dort auf die Regierung und Geschäftskreise
24 Feb. '10 Bagapsh: Gesetz, das Russen erlaubt, Land zu kaufen, braucht sorgfältige Überlegung
23 Feb. '10 Ex-Premierminister Nogaideli besucht Brüssel
23 Feb. '10 Alasania’s Partei beginnt mit Beratungen
23 Feb. '10 Zwei Personen getötet bei schwerem Sturm in Tbilisi, besonders betroffen Didube- and Gldani-Nadzaladevi-Distrikte
23 Feb. '10 ‘Riße’ in der "Allianz für Georgien" nach Bemerkungen von Davit Gamkrelidze und anderen zu Alasania's Entscheidung
Irakli Alasania’s decision to try to reach an agreement with some other opposition groups on a single mayoral candidacy separately from Alliance for Georgia, left his two partners from the three-party alliance - New Rights and Republican parties – in limbo, at least for now.
After Alasania’s surprise announcement that his party, Our Georgia-Free Democrats, would engage in talks with other opposition groups to define forms on how to select a single candidate without his partners because of differences with them, New Rights and Republicans tried to assure supporters that the move did not yet amount to the collapse of the Alliance for Georgia, which was established exactly a year ago.
“It is unfortunate, that the society sees some cracks in the Alliance on its one year anniversary,” Davit Gamkrelidze, the leader of New Rights Party, said. He, however, added it was still too early to speak about disintegration of the Alliance.
Davit Usupashvili, leader of Republican Party, said in remarks to Kavkasia TV on February 22, that members of the Alliance for Georgia enjoyed with certain degree of authority to act independently. But there are limits as well, he said.
“Irakli Alasania is aware that if he decides to take part in the primaries - that is already beyond the limit and it amounts to withdrawal from the Alliance, but we are not there yet and I am sure that Irakli himself will ascertain that this option [of going into primaries] is unacceptable and not right,” Usupashvili said.
So called primaries or preliminary election to select a single mayoral contender, to which Usupashvili was referring, is pushed by three parties – Conservative; Party of People and ex-PM Zurab Nogaideli’s Movement for Fair Georgia.
In remarks to Maestro TV, Davit Berdzenishvili, a senior member of the Republican Party, clearly indicated that the New Rights and Republicans had to wait for Alasania’s final decision. He suggested that Alasania would fail to convince other opposition groups on his terms of selecting a single candidate, which would make him to again align himself with the Alliance for Georgia.
The Alliance for Georgia also includes, as an individual member, ex-public defender Sozar Subari, who was named by the Alliance as Alasania’s running mate for the Tbilisi City Council chairmanship. Although not “yet focusing” on Subari’s possible mayoral candidacy, Berdzenishvili hinted that the option was not ruled out in case Alasania eventually decides to distance himself with the Alliance.
Another condition set by New Rights and Republicans is rejection of any type of cooperation with Nogaideli’s party.
In his remarks made on February 22, Alasania although indicated that he preferred options, other than primaries, to select a single candidate, he also did not speak strongly against holding of primaries. He, however, strongly ruled out to take part in any form of selecting a single candidate that would be financed by ex-PM Nogaideli. The plan of holding primary, pushed by Conservatives and Party of People is believed to be sponsored by Nogaideli.
Alasania said his proposal was to give the authority to select a single candidate to a large group of civil society representatives – apparently referring not only to NGO community, but to well-known public figures from various fields, which are known to be opposition-minded.
There have always been differences on the issue of primaries within the Alliance for Georgia. While initially New Rights were in favor, the Republican Party was strongly against from the very beginning and Alasania and his party seemed to be undecided. But eventually in late December, the three-party alliance released a joint statement saying no to the proposal.
Davit Gamkrelidze acknowledged on February 22 that it took some time for the New Rights Party to realize “threats posed by the primaries.” He said it was “a trap set by the authorities against the opposition.” New Rights and Republicans say that with opposition party having no registered supporters it was easily possible for the authorities to manipulate with the results of primaries through encouraging its supporters to take part and vote for the weakest opposition candidate.
Levan Gachechiladze, leader of public movement Defend Georgia, is believed to be an important player capable to influence on shaping final opposition configuration ahead of the local elections. Gachechiladze was opposition presidential candidate in 2008 election winning most of the votes in Tbilisi, but losing to President Saakashvili nationwide. Although since then his popularity suffered, especially after the last year’s street protest rallies, Gachechiladze is still regarded as a potential mayoral candidate.
On February 22, Gachechiladze, like the Conservative, Party of People and Movement for Fair Georgia, welcomed Alasania’s decision to seek broad opposition consensus on selecting a single candidate and said that he himself would also engage in this process. He, however, again refused to shed light whether or not he would run for mayoral office, saying that it would only become clear in the course of consultations.
There have been speculations in the press that Alasania’s withdrawal from the race in favor of Gachechiladze was a possible scenario, but Alasania denied that. “If Gachechiladze decides to run, we will be competitors,” Alasania said on February 22.
Both the New Rights and Republican parties said the best possible scenario would be if Gachechiladze supports Alasania’s candidacy. Davit Usupashvili, leader of Republican Party, even recalled in this context Sozar Subari’s remarks saying that he was ready to say no to his ambition to run for Tbilisi City Council chairmanship it would help the opposition unity. Although not saying it directly, but Usupashvili’s remarks were an apparent hint that it was possible to make Gachechiladze Alasania’s running mate instead of Subari.
While this group of opposition parties has yet to determine a final configuration, there are several key parties on the opposition front, which boycotting the local elections. The Labor Party, led by Shalva Natelashvili; ex-parliamentary speaker Nino Burjanadze’s Democratic Movement-United Georgia and National Forum, led by Kakha Shartava, are among them.
Christian-Democratic Movement (CDM), a leading party in the parliamentary minority group, and its mayoral candidate Giorgi Chanturia are running a campaign on their own without aligning themselves with any of the other opposition groups. Chanturia, who described himself as neither opposition nor pro-government figure, would be running for the office no matter what the configuration on the other side of the opposition front will be.
22 Feb. '10 Präsident Saakashvili in Tbilisi beim nationalen Übungszentrum Krtsanisi: Entsendung nach Afghanistan ist eine ‘Patriotische Tat’
Georgian troops are deployed in and more will be sent to Afghanistan to serve Georgian “patriotic deed” and common cause, which Georgia shares with its western allies, President Saakashvili said on February 22.
He was speaking at Krtsanisi National Training center outside Tbilisi, where Georgian troops are undergoing training for deployment in Afghanistan. Saakashvili visited the venue together with visiting U.S. Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, Richard Holbrooke. ...
22 Feb. '10 Memorandum zwischen der öffentlichen Rundfunkanstalt GPB, dem Parlament und politischen Parteien errreicht
Upon the request of the Speaker of Parliament, National Democratic Institute (NDI) facilitated series of individual and joint meetings between political party representatives and leadership of the Georgian Public Broadcaster (GPB). The aim of these meetings was to reach agreement between political parties and GPB regarding the format and the programming of the new political channel. As a result of these consultations the agreement was reached on the main principals that have been signed by the following subjects: Parliament of Georgia, Georgian Public Broadcaster, and Political Parties.
The signatory subjects agree on the following: ....
22 Feb. '10 13 Parteien und die öffentliche Rundfunkanstalt GPB stimmen dem Format und der Programmgestaltung des neuen politischen Fernsehsenders zu
Thirteen political parties and the Georgian Public Broadcaster (GPB) agreed on February 22 on the format and the programming of the new political channel, which will become available on GPB’s Second Channel.
The channel, which is expected to go on satellite to cover entire country, along with Parliament’s plenary sittings will also provide live coverage of committee sessions; as well as “daily, non edited and live coverage of the opposition parties.”
“The parties will be provided with one hour coverage, which they shall sequentially rotate among themselves. The program will be broadcasted during primetime (22:00-23:00),” according to a memorandum signed on February 22.
According to the memorandum, which was drafted as a result of series of consultations, facilitated by the U.S. National Democratic Institute (NDI), the channel will also organize debates at least once in a week on the draft laws being discussed in the Parliament. During non-session period it will air debates on various political issues. The memorandum is in force until next parliamentary elections in 2012.
Full service provided by the channel will only be available to political parties, which have signed the memorandum: Christian-Democratic Movement; National-Democratic Party; On Our Own; Democratic Party of Georgia (all four are part of parliamentary minority group); the ruling National Movement party; the Georgian Troupe (led by MP Jondi Bagaturia); Party of Freedom (led by MP Konstantine Gamsakhurdia); Conservative Party (led by Zviad Dzidziguri); Party of People (led by Koba Davitashvili); Movement for Fair Georgia (led by ex-PM Zurab Nogaideli); Traditionalists (led by Akaki Asatiani); Our Georgia-Freed Democrats (Irakli Alasania) and public movement Defend Georgia (led by Levan Gachechiladze).
The memorandum, however, envisages that GPB’s Second Channel will provide airing “unedited, full versions of press-conferences and briefing” of those parties, which refused to sign the memorandum but fall under the criteria defined by the document. Ex-parliamentary speaker Nino Burjanadze’s Democratic Movement-United Georgia; as well as National Forum, Labor Party and Georgia’s Way, New Rights Party and Republican Party fall under this category.
Republican Party leader, Davit Usupashvili, said his party refused to join the memorandum because it would not change situation on in broadcast media. He said his party was instead offering to establish an inter-party group, which would work on elaborating measure on how to tackle political pressure on national broadcast media.
22 Feb. '10 Levan Gachechiladze begrüßt Alasania’s Entscheidung
22 Feb. '10 Alasania's Partei will getrennt von den Partnern aus der "Allianz für Georgien" für eine breite Übereinstimmung in der Opposition auf einen einzigen Kandidaten bei den lokalen Wahlen hinarbeiten
... “If we have a disagreement within the Alliance about the forms of selecting a single opposition candidate, then we should give each other an opportunity to act freely,” Irakli Alasania said at a meeting with a group of students on February 22.
Alasania shunned away from describing the situation as a split of Alliance for Georgia and instead preferred to use a term “to act freely” – meaning that each Alliance member was free to act on its own, which in itself is believed to be the major sign of disintegration.
“As far as other forms of our relations [OGFD’s with Republican and New Rights parties] are concerned, it will be defined in the nearest future,” Alasania said in an interview with news agency, InterPressNews, on February 22.
“Other members of the Alliance are not taking part in consultations in which I am engaging together with my party,” he said.
Alasania also said that he still remains a mayoral candidate, but now only of his own party. “They [Republicans and New Rights] may take some other decision,” he said. ...
22 Feb. '10 Parlamentspräsident Bakradze wird die georgische Delegation zur Amtseinführung von Yanukovych in der Ukraine anführen
22 Feb. '10 Präsident Saakashvili gibt im Parlament am Freitag die Regierungserklärung ab
21 Feb. '10 Richard Holbrooke,US-Sonderbeauftragten für Afghanistan und Pakistan, in Batumi zu einem Treffen mit Präsident Saakashvili angekommen
... “I’m going from here to Georgia to review the Georgian battalion which is going to Afghanistan,” RFE/RL reported quoting Holbrooke as saying at a news conference in Kazakhstan. “My trip has nothing to do with Georgian-Russian relations. It’s about Georgia’s extraordinarily important contribution to the international effort in Afghanistan.” ...
20 Feb. '10 Burjanadze’s Partei beschuldigt die Regierung ‘Provokativer Schritte’
An intention by Georgian lawmakers to extend hand of cooperation to colleagues from Russia’s North Caucasus republics “bypassing” Moscow, accompanied by talk on Russia’s possible invasion is “yet another provocative step” by the Georgian leadership, Democratic Movement-United Georgia (DMUG), party led by ex-parliamentary speaker Nino Burjanadze, said in a statement.
Speaking to an audience in London-based think-tank Chatham House on February 17, President Saakashvili said he was worried that Russia’s “new invasion remains possible.” He also said that if Russia’s “bullies are not challenged they become bolder.”
On February 19 a newly established inter-faction group in the Georgian Parliament for friendship with the legislative bodies of Russia’s North Caucasus republics, announced that it had drafted a letter of “friendship and cooperation”, which would be sent to their colleagues in the North Caucasus republics.
The Georgian lawmakers from the group, which held its inaugural session on February 19, say that current tense relations between Tbilisi and Moscow should in no way hinder attempts to keep “historically friendly” ties between the peoples of the Caucasus.
“The North Caucasians should know, that they are on Georgia’s mind and no matter how political processes develop, we will undertake efforts to have firm and stable relations with our North Caucasian brothers,” Nugzar Tsiklauri, a ruling party lawmaker from the group, said. “I wish our relations to become more active in various fields including science, cultural relations and contacts between political leaders.”
In a written statement, the ex-parliamentary chairperson’s party said that “friendly relations with the peoples of Caucasus are very important” and there had long been a need to undertake attempts in that direction.
“But unfortunately no such steps have been undertaken and making this kind of statement now, in such a situation, is obviously of provocative nature, which can serve as a pretext for a very tough reaction by Russia,” DMUG said in the statement.
DMUG called on the Georgian lawmakers not to endorse such appeal and on international community “to appropriately assess and react on President Saakashvili’s reckless and provocative steps”, which, it said, were increasing chances of “yet another war.”
20 Feb. '10 Nodar Kumaritashvili in Bakuriani beerdigt
Throngs of mourners turned out on Saturday for a funeral of 21-year-old Georgian luger, Nodar Kumaritashvili, who died in a crash during practice run hours before the Vancouver Olympics on February 12.
Kumaritashvili was laid to rest in a yard of a local church in his hometown Bakuriani, a ski resort 190 kilometers west of Tbilisi.
President Saakashvili, dressed in Georgian Olympic team’s jacket, led an official delegation of lawmakers and government members to the funeral service in Bakuriani.
Any suggestion that the tragic accident was a result of Kumaritashvili’s error is strongly rejected and condemned in Georgia with officials speaking of lack of safety norms at Whistler Sliding Centre.
“It’s a fact that safety norms have been violated. Apart of the fact that speed was too high, the athlete should not have flown off the track,” Giorgi Natsvlishvili, president of the Georgian National Olympic Committee, said at a news conference in Tbilisi on February 18.
An official police investigation is ongoing in Canada to establish the cause the luger’s tragic death. 
The International Luge Federation and Vancouver Olympic officials said after initial probe that the crash was the result of the athlete’s error and that “there was no indication that the accident was caused by deficiencies in the track.” However, it was decided to modify the track and a wooden wall was erected at final curve where Kumaritashvili crashed and flew off the track.
The late athlete’s fellow luger and a friend Levan Gureshidze, who should have been the first Georgian athlete to compete at the Vancouver Olympics, withdrew from the games. Gureshidze, along with president of Georgian National Olympic Committee and Kumaritashvili’s coach and uncle Felix Kumaritashvili, accompanied the late athlete’s body back to Georgia.
Georgia's remaining team consists of three alpine skiers, three figure skaters.
19 Feb. '10 Oppositioneller Politiker Koba Davitashvili hat am europäischen Gerichtshof für Menschenrechte einen Strafantrag gegen die georgische Regierung eingereicht wegen eines "Anschlages" gegen ihn 2007
On November 7, 2007, when riot and other police forces started dispersing anti-government demonstrations in Tbilisi, Davitashvili was attacked by a group of men, taken to other location and beaten up. Davitashvili says then he was taken by perpetrators to a military hospital, which at the time was in the town of Gori with a purpose “to isolate” him amid tense situation at the time. ...
19 Feb. '10 US-Sondergesandte für Pakistan und Afghanistan Richard Holbrooke kommt in Tbilisi am Sonntag an
The U.S. Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, Ambassador Richard Holbrooke, will visit Georgia on February 21-22, according to the U.S. embassy in Tbilisi.
“He will meet Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili.  Ambassador Holbrooke will also visit Georgian troops at Krtsanisi National Training Center (KNTC) and observe training for the ISAF operation in Afghanistan,” the embassy said.
Georgia’s cooperation with and contribution to NATO-led forces in Afghanistan will be discussed during the visit.
19 Feb. '10 Präsident Saakashvili: Russisch-französiches Waffengeschäft "sehr riskoreich"
President Saakashvili said possible purchase of French Mistral-class warship by Russia was posing threat to its neighbors and Moscow’s bid to buy French armored vehicles was even more worrying.
Saakashvili told reporters in London on February 18, that the prospective warship sale was “very unusual and very, very risky” and the “tank issue is 10 times bigger.”
He said if Russia’s Prime Minister Vladimir Putin “gets tanks, ships, missiles — technology which he's also shopping for — then we are getting into a very, very risky zone,” The Wall Street Journal reported.
Saakashvili also said Georgia had an “informal exchange of opinions” with Paris about the warship deal but hadn't made an official protest. And according to The Times report, Saakashvili said he would seek urgent talks with French President Sarkozy, who has approved but not yet formally announced the sale of the warship to Russia.
He said the warship deal could be seen as a “reward” to France from Moscow for not forcing Russia to fully comply with the terms of the August 12, 2008 ceasefire accord, mediated by President Sarkozy in a capacity of EU presidency.
French ambassador in Tbilisi, Eric Fournier, told Georgian TV station Rustavi 2 in a Georgian-language statement, that Russia’s proposal to buy the warship was “in principle accepted positively” by Paris, but discussions and considerations were still underway.
French company Panhard said this week that it was discussing selling “less than a dozen” of four-person Light armoured vehicles (VBL) to Russia.
Speaking to reporters in London, Saakashvili also criticized Paris-based satellite operator, Eutelsat, for not allowing the Georgian public broadcaster’s Russian-language channel, First Caucasian, to broadcast from one of the operator’s satellites.
“They knocked it off the air on political grounds — because Russia doesn't like it,” The Wall Street Journal reported quoting Saakashvili.
Paris court of commerce will launch hearing Georgian public broadcaster’s case against Eutelsat on February 22.
19 Feb. '10 Premierminister Nika Gilauri sagt, dass es Anzeichen für ein Wirtschaftswachstum gäbe
18 Feb. '10 Georgien ruft alle ausländischen diplomatischen Vertreter auf, sich der Erklärung der NATO anzuschließen, in der das jüngste Militärabkommen zwischen Moskau und Suchumi verurteilt wurde
At a meeting with foreign diplomats accredited in Tbilisi on February 18, Georgian Foreign Minister Grigol Vashadze called for condemning signing of a military treaty between Moscow and Sokhumi.
“The Georgian side called on the representatives of diplomatic corps to join a statement by an official representative of NATO, who noted that the North Atlantic Alliance condemns this treaty,” the Georgian Foreign Ministry said.
The Georgian MFA was referring to remarks by NATO spokesperson, Carmen Romero, who, according to Reuters, called on Russia to reverse the military deal with Sokhumi and said it was a violation of the EU-mediated ceasefire accord.
"We do not consider any agreements signed between the Russian Federation and the regions of Georgia as having any validity," Reuters reported quoting NATO’s spokesperson.
In a separate statement, the Georgian Foreign Ministry said that with this treaty, apart of reinforcing  military presence in Abkhazia, Russia also aimed at putting “within ‘legitimate’ frames its military occupation and annexation of the Georgian regions.”
“Russia's pursuit of its expansionist plans poses a real threat not only to Georgia, but to the Caucasus and Black Sea regions as a whole,” the Georgian Foreign Ministry said.
18 Feb. '10 Allianz für Georgien scheint die Differenzen zu möglichen Verbündeten beseitigt zu haben
... “As far as [ex-PM Zurab] Nogaideli’s party is concerned, our position [within the Alliance for Georgia] is absolutely identical,” Irakli Alasania, leader of Our Georgia-Free Democrats (OGFD) and of the Alliance for Georgia, said on February 18.
 “Differences – ideological and in respect of foreign policy – are so huge with Nogaideli’s party that we won’t be able to have any political alliance or agreement with his party,” Alasania added. The remark signaled reversal from OGFD’s initial position on the issue, expressed on February 17. After two parties within the Alliance – New Rights and Republicans – said that they were ready to cooperate with “all the real opposition parties” on selecting a single mayoral candidate, except of ex-PM Nogaideli’s Movement for Fair Georgia, a senior figure from OGFD, Zurab Abashidze, said that the party was in favor of cooperating with “everyone” including with Nogaideli. ...
18 Feb. '10 Sprecher von Präsident Saakashvili: Bemerkungen der russischen Führer über Präsident Saakashvili werden "langweilig"
Statements like the one made by Russian President, Dmitry Medvedev, saying that President Saakashvili was “persona non grata” for Russia, are becoming “boring,” the Georgian president’s spokesperson, said on February 17.
Medvedev reiterated on February 17 at a joint news conference with Abkhaz leader, Sergey Bagapsh, in Moscow that he would have no ties with the Georgian President.
“As usually, monotonous statements are heard from Russia, which is becoming tiresome and boring. And it is also boring to make same comments on the same statements all the time. Russian leaders, however, do not seem to be tired of making such statements,” Manana Manjgaladze, Georgian president’s spokesperson, said.
She said that this kind of statements was made by a leader of the country, which “committed ethnic cleansing and expelled 500,000 people from their homes… and building illegal military bases on the territory of other country.”
18 Feb. '10 Präsident Saakashvili bei einer Rede in London bei der Denkfabrik Chatham House: Meine Regierung steht zur Medienfreiheit
President Saakashvili said on February 17, that Georgian “media still lacks objectivity and professionalism.”
Speaking to an audience in London-based think-tank, Chatham House, Saakashvili said that his “government is committed to media freedom” and added that there were several TV channels in Georgia “hostile” to the authorities.
“There are several hostile channels on the air and they have satellite license to broadcast everywhere; [these are] very, very hostile channels,” he said.
By saying “hostile” he was apparently referring to Maestro and Kavkasia – two TV stations broadcasting in the capital Tbilisi.
“There are also other independent media channels,” Saakashvili continued, “there are 24 regional independent media channels.”
According to a report by Transparency International-Georgia about the broadcast media landscape, several TV stations in regions are owned by people who are “closely connected” to members of national or regional administrative bodies and high-ranking ruling party officials.
President Saakashvili also said that reforms were underway “to ensure and broaden political debates” and in this context he mentioned planned reorganization of the public broadcaster’s second channel to provide coverage of parliament proceedings and to allocate airtime to politicians’ statements and press conference.
Saakashvili welcomed cooperation between BBC World Service Trust and the Georgian public broadcaster. A BBC team is monitoring and advising the public broadcaster’s newsroom. Saakashvili said that he had recently met with this team “to hear what they have to say.”
17 Feb. '10 Anzeichen für Unstimmigkeiten innerhalb der Allianz für Georgien
17 Feb. '10 Moskau und Suchumi unterzeichnen ein Militärabkommen
17 Feb. '10 Allianz für Georgien intensiviert ihre Appelle zur "Einigkeit er Opposition" für die anstehenden lokalen Wahlen
17 Feb. '10 Neuer OSZE-Vorsitzender Kanat Saudabayev, auch kasachischer Außenminister, besucht Georgien
Kanat Saudabayev, the Kazakh foreign minister and OSCE new chairman-in-office, arrived in Georgia on February 17 as a part of his South Caucasian tour.
Kanat Saudabayev has already held talks with the representatives of opposition parties. Opposition representatives said after the meeting that upcoming elections and security issues were discussed.
He will also meet with Foreign Minister Grigol Vashadze and Parliamentary Chairman Davit Bakradze.
Saudabayev is paying his first visit in the capacity of chair of 56-member organization to South Caucasus countries to discuss “protracted conflicts.” Before arriving in Tbilisi he visited Armenia and Azerbaijan.
16 Feb. '10 Bagapsh besucht Moskau; das Abkommen zur Luftlinie Moskau-Suchumi soll unterzeichnet werden
16 Feb. '10 Nach der zentralen Wahlkommission CEC sind 3.58 Mio. Georgier stimmberechtigt in den anstehenden lokalen Wahlen
16 Feb. '10 134 Georgier reichen Klagen am europäischen Gerichtshof für Menschenrechte ein; sie klagen gegen Russland wegen der Verletzung etlicher europäischer Menschenrechte wahrend des Krieges im August 2008
134 Georgian citizens lodged complaints to the Strasbourg-based European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) last week, claiming that Russia violated number of European human rights laws against them during the 2008, August war.
Tbilisi-based Georgian young Lawyers’ Association (GYLA) and its London-based partner European Human Rights Advocacy Center (EHRAC), acting on behalf of the 134 applicants, said the applications primarily concern cases of shelling and air attacks on villages; destruction of property and the killing or injuring of civilians and the deliberate burning and looting of houses.
The applications, which are in 34 groups, originate from the Georgian villages within the breakaway South Ossetia and the surrounding areas (Achabeti, Argvitsi, Atsriskhevi, Avlevi, Berula, Brotsleti, Dzartsemi, Dvani, Eredvi, Kekhvi, Kere, Kitsnisi, Ksuisi, Kurta, Satskheneti, Tkviavi, Vanati, Zardiaantkari and Zemo Khviti), as well as from the town of Gori.
“These cases raise important questions about the applicability of the ECHR to a conflict situation, and they will also test the ‘reach’ of the ECHR - the applicants are asking the Court to find Russia responsible for violations perpetrated by its armed forces outside Russian territory,” EHRAC said.
“The Court will also be asked to decide that the Russian Federation was responsible both for the actions of its armed forces and of Ossetian militia.”
The complaints have been lodged against Russia based on the principle of “effective control”, which the Russian forces have been exerting on the territories concerned, Natia Katsitadze, a lawyer with GYLA, told Civil.Ge
Last January, ECHR said it had examined seven applications lodged against Georgia in connection with the August war and the Chamber decided to give priority to these applications.
These applications were lodged by six residents of South Ossetia and a member of the Russian armed forces attached to the peacekeeping troops in Tskhinvali, according to ECHR.
In these cases the applicants claim violation of their or their close relatives’ right to life, inhuman or degrading treatment, interference with the right to respect for private and family life and home, damage to property or its destruction, absence of an effective domestic remedy and discrimination on the ground of ethnic origin.
16 Feb. '10 Alasania spricht von der Notwendigkeit zur Einheitlichkeit der Opposition im Hinblick auf die lokalen Wahlen
"... Wir sind dabei, Verhandlungen zu führen; es gibt mannigfaltige Möglichkeiten, durch welche die Einheit erreicht werden kann. ..."
“It is natural that we should run united in these elections. Victory will be inevitable in that case. So we will establish that unity… We are in the process of negotiations; there are various forms through which the unity can be reached,” Alasania said on February 16, without giving details.
15 Feb. '10 Bagapsh gratuliert Yanukovych zu dem Sieg bei den Präsidentschaftswahlen in der Ukraine
15 Feb. '10 Premierminister Nika Gilauri beuscht die Vereinigten Arabischen Emirate UAE, Kuwait
15 Feb. '10 Eine Gruppe georgischer Journalisten bat die Schweiz, dem investigativen Reporter Vakhtang Komakhidze "alle mögliche Hilfe" zu gewähren
14 Feb. '10 Georgien’s Außenhandel 2009 fiel um 29% gegenüber dem Vorjahr
Export
: 5.513 Mrd. USD, Handelsbilanzdefizit 3.243 Mrd. USD, wichtigste Partner: Türkei 1 Mrd., Aserbaidschan 544.4 Mio. USD, Ukraine 502.3 Mio. USD, Deutschland 324.4 Mio. USD, Russland 310.2 Mio. USD
Georgia’s foreign trade turnover in 2009 dropped 29.3% from a year earlier to USD 5.513 billion, according to the Georgian statistics office, Geostat.
The value of export was USD 1.135 billion, down by 24.1% and import was USD 4.378 billion, down by 30.6% from a year earlier. Trade deficit declined by 32.5% to USD 3.243 billion, against USD 4.56 billion in 2008.
Turkey remains the Georgia’s major trading partner with the trading volume slightly over USD 1 billion, which is 15.7% less than in 2008.
Although trade turnover with Azerbaijan declined to USD 544.4 million, against USD 813,2 million in 2008, it still remains Georgia’s second largest trading partner.
Ukraine comes third with USD 502.3 million, down from USD 791,8 million in 2008; followed by Germany – USD 324.4 million; Russia – USD 310.2 million; the United States – 263.6 million; Bulgaria – USD 235.1 million; China – USD 180.6 million; Italy – USD 150.9 million; Canada – USD 131.3 million.
Ferro-alloys remained the number one Georgian export, amounting USD 130 million; followed by semi-manufactured and unwrought gold – USD 116.1 million.
Oil products and hydrocarbons top the list of imports totaling USD 707.2 million; followed by vehicles – USD 254.7 million and medicines – USD 175.1 million. 
13 Feb. '10 Shamba wird abchasischer Premierminister
13 Feb. '10 Georgien bleibt bei den olympischen Spielen im Gedenken an Kumaritashvili
Ein kleines Team georgischer Sportler marschierte in der Eröffnungsfeier der olympischen Winterspiele in Vancouver ein. Sie trugen schwarze Armbänder und Schals, die georgische Flagge mit einem schwarzen Band bedeckt, um dem tragischen Tod des Sportkameraden Nodar Kumaritashvili Achtung zu erweisen.
Einige andere Teams, darunter Kroatien und die Tschechische Republik, trugen während des Einmarschs auch Trauerflor. Auf den Stadionsanzeigen war zu lesen: "Die heutige Feier ist dem Gedenken des georgischen Sportlers gewidmet."

A small team of Georgian athletes marched at Vancouver Winter Olympic Games opening ceremony wearing black armbands and scarves, with a black stripe on the Georgian flag to mark the tragic died of teammate Nodar Kumaritashvili.
Some other teams, including from Croatia and the Czech Republic, also wore black armbands while marching.
Just before the start of the opening ceremony, the scoreboards in the domed football stadium went black, and then a message appeared reading: “Tonight's Ceremony is dedicated to the memory of Georgian Olympic athlete.”
The 21-year-old luger died in a crash while practicing just hours before the opening ceremony. Shocked with the news of the death, the Georgian delegation initially started considering whether to continue or not participation in the games, but as Culture and Sport Minister Nika Rurua said before the opening ceremony, the Georgian team would stay in memory of Kumaritashvili.
"Our sportsmen and our athletes decided to be loyal to the spirit of the Olympic Games and will compete and dedicate their performances to their fallen comrade," Reuters quoted Rurua as saying at a press conference in Vancouver.
 U.S. Vice President, Joe Biden, who spoke to U.S. athletes in Vancouver, expressed condolences to Georgia, The Associated Press reported.
“This is a nation that has gone through an awful lot in the last three, four years,” he said of Georgia. “It’s a small nation of five million people, and the pride they had in representing their country here at the Olympics, and now to suffer this loss is just tragic.”
The Georgian Minister for Culture and Sport denied speculation that Nodar Kumaritashvili was inexperienced as “unfair and misleading.”
“He was 44th in the world ranking. During training yesterday he took 11th spot," Rurua said.
Kumaritashvili was raised at Georgia’s traditional winter sports resort of Bakuriani.
Georgia's remaining team consists of three alpine skiers, three figure skaters and another luger, Levan Gureshidze.
13 Feb. '10 Georgischer Rodler verünglückt in Vancouver einige Stunden vor der Eröffnung der olympischen Winterspiele
Während der letzten Trainigsfahrt fuhr Nodar Kumaritashvili mit fast 150 km/h nahe dem Ende der Rennstrecke, als der die Spur verließ und gegen einen Stützpfeiler prallte. Die Rennstrecke in Whistler gilt als eine der schnellsten und herausfordernsten der Welt. Kumaritashvili wurde sofort ins Krankenhaus gebracht; die Ärzte konnten ihn nicht wiederbeleben. Der Präsident des olympischen Komitees IOC Jacques Rogge sagte: "Unsere ersten Gedanken sind bei der familie, den Freuden und Kollegen des Sportlers. Die gesamte olympische Familie ist von dieser Tragödie getroffen, die sicherlich einen Schatten auf diese Spiele wirft." Er wies darauf hin, dass er mit Kumaritashvili's Familie sprach und auch Präsident Saakashvili anrief, "der die Spiele hier in Vancouver besucht".

21-year-old Georgian luger, Nodar Kumaritashvili, died in a crash during training, hours before the opening of Vancouver Olympic Games on February 12.
"We are all in deep shock, we don't know what to do. We don't know whether to take part in the opening ceremony or even the Olympic Games themselves," BBC quoted head of Georgian Olympic delegation Irakli Japaridze.
Nodar Kumaritashvili was reportedly going close to 150 km/h, near the end of the course, when he launched off the track and hit on a metal pole during the final training run.
The track at Whistler, where the tragedy has occurred, has a reputation as one of the fastest and challenging in the world.
Kumaritashvili was rushed into the hospital; doctors were unable to revive the athlete, who died in hospital, officials said.
“Our first thoughts are with the family, friends and colleagues of the athlete.  The whole Olympic Family is struck by this tragedy, which clearly casts a shadow over these Games”, the President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), Jacques Rogge, said.
“It is a sad day, I have no words to say what we feel,” he said.
Rogge also said that he spoke with Kumaritashvili's family and also phoned President Saakashvili “who is attending the games here in Vancouver.”
"It is a tragedy for his family and the team. It casts a shadow over the opening ceremony," Thomas Bach, the IOC vice-president, said.
International Olympic Committee (IOC), Vancouver Olympic Organizing Committee (VANOC) and International Luge Federation said in a joint statement that an investigation was underway into the circumstances of the accident. It said that training was suspended and technical officials were trying to establish the causes.
Georgia's remaining Olympic team consists of three alpine skiers, three figure skaters and another luger, Levan Gureshidze.
Rogge said that the Georgian delegation was still considering whether to continue participation in the games or not.
12 Feb. '10 Verfassungsänderung zum Termin der lokalen Wahlen im Parlament verabschiedet
12 Feb. '10 Christian-Democratic Movement (CDM) ernennt Giorgi Chanturia zum Kandidaten für die Bürgermeisterwahl in Tbilisi
12 Feb. '10 Präsident Saakashvili besucht inoffiziell Vancouver
Es sind auch informelle Treffen mit einigen Staatsführern geplant.
12 Feb. '10 Amtseinführung von Bagapsh in Suchumi
12 Feb. '10 Präsident Saakashvili gratuliert Yanukovych zu dem Sieg bei den Präsidentschaftswahlen in der Ukraine
“The Georgian President and the Ukrainian President-elect had a very warm and well-disposed phone conversation,” Manana Manjgaladze said. “President Saakashvili congratulated Viktor Yanukovych on his victory in the presidential elections and wished the Ukrainian people success, economic and democratic development.”
“The [Ukrainian] President-elect expressed desire for future cooperation,” she added.
11 Feb. '10 Moskau unterzeichnet ein Luftverkehrsabkommen mit Suchumi
11 Feb. '10 Russischer Präsident Medvedev: Präsident Saakashvili sollte zuerst für das Führen eines Krieges verantwortlich gemacht werden vor dem georgischen Volk
11 Feb. '10 Vorsitzender der Wahlkommission Zurab Kharatishvili: Lokale Wahlen sind von ‘entscheidender Bedeutung’
11 Feb. '10 Parliamentsvorsitzender Davit Bakradze in der Türkei: Tbilisi möchte, dass Ankara sich in der Strategie der georgischen Regierung gegenüber den abtrünnigen Regionen engagiert
Cooperation between Georgia and Turkey, which is “a guarantee of stability” in the region, should be “an example” for other countries, Davit Bakradze, Georgian parliamentary speaker, said during his visit to Turkey.
Parliamentary delegation, led by Bakradze, which visits Ankara on February 9-12, held talks with Turkish Parliamentary Speaker Mehmet Ali Şahin and the President of Parliamentary Assembly of Council of Europe and founding member of Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party, Mevlüt Çavusoglu, as well as Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç.
Bakradze proposed Turkey to engage in implementation of Georgian government’s strategy towards breakaway regions, Georgian Parliament’s press office reported.
The document, which was endorsed by the government in late January, offers launch of a dialogue with Abkhaz diaspora in Turkey - ancestors of those tens of thousands of Muslim Abkhazians, who had to move to the then Ottoman empire, as part of a larger Muslim migration process from the Caucasus in the nineteenth century.
Temur Iakobashvili, the Georgian state minister for reintegration, said while discussing draft of the strategy with lawmakers in December, that the Abkhaz community in Turkey was mainly “negatively disposed towards Georgia.” “We will have to work seriously in this regard,” he said.
The issue of five Turkish vessels detained by the Georgian coast guard was raised by the Turkish side, according to Georgian Parliament’s press office. Davit Bakradze said that the vessels were detained because of illegally entering into the Georgian territorial waters, including its Abkhaz section. He also said that a joint Georgian-Turkish commission was established to resolve the issue through taking into consideration interests of the both sides.
10 Feb. '10 Zwei Nigerianer sterben beim Versuch, illegal durch die Berge in der Shuakhevi-Region in die Türkei auszureisen
Sie gehörten zu einer Gruppe von sechs Nigerianer, die von vier Einheimischen für 750 USD Unterstützung Hilfe erhielten.
Two citizens of Nigeria froze to death while trying to illegally cross into Turkey from Georgia’s Adjara Autonomous Republic, the Georgian Interior Ministry said on February 10.
Six citizens of Nigeria, assisted by four local residents in exchange of up to USD 750, tried to cross into Turkey from mountainous Shuakhevi district of Adjara region bypassing a border crossing point, but they had to return back because of severe weather conditions; two Nigerian citizens died on their way back, the Interior Ministry said.
Police arrested four local residents and charged them with an attempt to assist migrants in illegal border crossing. Four Nigerian citizens were also detained by the police.
10 Feb. '10 Investigativer Reporter Vakhtang Komakhidze bittet in der Schweiz um Asyl, da angeblich von den georgischen Behörden "Drohungen" gegen ihn und seine Familie ausgegangen waren.
9 Feb. '10 Parlament bestätigt Gesetzesänderungen zur Strafprozessordnung in der ersten Lesung
9 Feb. '10 Georgische Abgeordnete verurteilen den französisch-russischen Mistral-Handel
9 Feb. '10 Georgische Regierung beauftragt die "Gephardt Gruppe" in Washington mit der Vertretung vor dem US-Kongress und der Exekutiven
The Georgia government signed last month one year contract, worth of USD 436,800, with former House Democratic Leader Richard Gephardt to lobby for it in Washington.
Gephardt Group Government Affairs will provide lobbying and government relations services in representing Georgia before the U.S. Congress and executive branch, according to documents filed by the firm to the U.S. Justice Department.
9 Feb. '10 Ex-Premierminister Nogaideli unterzeichnet Kooperationsabkommen mit der russischen Regierungspartei
9 Feb. '10 Parliamentsvorsitzender Davit Bakradze besucht die Türkei
9 Feb. '10 Pariser Gerichtshof für Handel beginnt die Anhörung der georgischen öffentlichen Rundfunkanstalt GPB zu dem Disput mit Eutelsat in zwei Wochen
Paris court of commerce will launch hearing Georgian Public Broadcaster’s (GPB) case against Europe’s leading satellite operator Eutelsat on February 22, the French news agency, AFP, reported.
GPB claims that Eutelsat has not followed its commitment and took the public broadcaster’s Russian-language First Caucasian Channel off satellite after receiving “a lucrative” offer from Gazprom Media Group, which owns Russia's largest Pay-TV provider NTV-Plus, for the same spectrum GPB had contracted for. Georgia said it was an attempt of “political censorship.”
GPB brought an expedited proceeding (référé) against Eutelsat seeking to fine the Paris-based satellite operator with EUR 50,000 per day as an interim relief, pending trial on merits. But a judge said on February 8, that it was beyond his competence to rule on the interim relief and referred the case to be heard on merits to the court of commerce, AFP reported quoting GPB lawyer Benjamin Mock.
Eutelsat has strongly denied GPB’s allegations, including the one on coming under Russia’s pressure.
Eutelsat said on February 4 that “no contract has come into force between GPB and Eutelsat” and that the First Caucasian was broadcasting on its new W7 satellite operating at the 36 degrees East - a key location for broadcasting in Russia and other CIS states, as well as in Europe and Africa – on trial basis for less than two weeks.
According to the operator company, in 2009 it was negotiating with several customers interested in the same capacity on W7 satellite and decided to allocate this capacity to Moscow-based Intersputnik, which leased 16 transponders on W7 for Gazprom Media Group’s NTV-Plus. Eutelsat said that it had received “a firm commitment” from Intersputnik “for significantly more capacity than that requested by the Georgian broadcaster.”
“Eutelsat accordingly informed GPB that the solution offered on W7 was no longer available, and that it could satisfy GPB’s requirements with another satellite in its the fleet, namely W2A,” the company said.
But GPB said that shifting from W7 to W2A satellite was “not acceptable”, citing that the newly offered location was not properly covering the geographical area it was interested in. GPB also said that W7 had an advantage over W2A of direct access to consumer satellite antennas already pointed at W7 to receive major Russian TV platforms.
Eutelsat, however, denied this clam by GPB and said that “the offer on W2A involves no additional constraint compared with the initial offer on W7.” It also said that both satellites had the same technical specifications, which would require Russian consumers to either change their equipment or add a second dish to receive Russian TV services from W7 satellite.
“The W2A satellite offers improved coverage of Georgia and western Russia than W7, as well as higher power, enabling smaller dishes of 80cm to be used in comparison to minimum one metre dishes required for W7,” Eutelsat said.
GPB’s First Caucasian is currently available on internet and it also goes out on cable in Tbilisi.
French Foreign Ministry spokesman, Bernard Valero, said on February 5, that Paris wanted Eutelsat and Georgia “to find common ground so that this project can develop."
25% of Eutelsat shares are owned by the French state investment fund.
8 Feb. '10 Außenminister Grigol Vashadze und Irakli Alasania auf Sicherheitskonferenz in München
On a sideline of a high-profile Munich Security Conference on February 5-7, Georgian Foreign Minister, Grigol Vashadze, held bilateral meetings with his counterparts from Germany, Latvia and Estonia, the Georgian Foreign Ministry said.
Vashadze also met with U.S. special envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan Richard Holbrooke and Senator John Kerry, chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, the Foreign Ministry said.
“Discussions at these meetings focused on Georgia's relations with respective countries and a broad spectrum of de-occupation-related issues,” the Georgian Foreign Ministry said.
From Georgia the conference was also attended by Irakli Alasania, leader of opposition Alliance for Georgia.
His press office said that on the sideline of the conference, Alasania had an opportunity to talk with German Defense Minister; Foreign Ministers of Sweden, Estonia and Azerbaijan, as well as with Russian Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov.
Alasania also talked with Philip Gordon, the U.S. assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs; James Jones, the U.S. national security advisor, as well as Senators Joseph Lieberman and John McCain.
“Georgia’s security issues and democratic processes in Georgia were discussed during these meetings,” according to Alasania’s press office.
7 Feb. '10 Präsident Saakashvili: Ukraine ist Georgien’s strategischer Partner, gleich wer der nächste Präsident wird
6 Feb. '10 Präsident Saakashvili wird die lokalen Wahlen für 30.5. festlegen, wiederholte die Regierungsverwaltung
6 Feb. '10 Ukrainischer Sicherheitsdienst: 41-jähriiger Georgier im Besitz einer Feuerwaffe und TNT-Sprengsätzen festgenommen
Head of Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) said a Georgia citizen carrying a firearm and TNT explosive with detonators was arrested on February 5.
Valaentyn Nalyvaichenko, head of SBU, told Ukraine’s major TV station, Inter, that the 41-year-old man was arrested in Kiev’s Independent Square. He said that the man also held a second, Ukrainian passport and a probe was also underway to find out how a foreign national could obtain the Ukrainian passport.
SBU, which under the constitution is subordinated to the President, said in a written statement, posted on its website, that investigators were checking the version of possible planned explosion during the rallies in Kiev, held by presidential candidates as part of their electoral campaign ahead of Sunday’s runoff vote.
In the written statement, the arrested man is referred as “a citizen” without giving its name or citizenship.
Grigol Katamadze, Georgia’s ambassador to Ukraine, said that the embassy had not been informed by the Ukrainian authorities about the detention of a Georgian citizen.
“Usually when a citizen of Georgia is arrested we are immediately informed about it through official channels. But as of now, in this case, we have not received any such information about the arrest of a Georgian citizen,” Katamadze told Georgian television station, Rustavi 2 TV, by phone on February 6.
5 Feb. '10 US-Sondergesandte für Pakistan und Afghanistan besucht Georgien, um kurz die Zusammenarbeit mit den NATO-geführten Kräften in Afghanistan zu besprechen
U.S. special envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan, Richard Holbrooke will be in Tbilisi “shortly” to discuss Georgia’s cooperation with and contribution to NATO-led forces in Afghanistan, James Steinberg, the U.S. deputy secretary of state, said in Tbilisi on February 5.
Speaking with journalists before his departure from Georgia, Steinberg said that during his meeting with President Saakashvili, the latter “mentioned” his offer to the United States to use the Georgian territory for armaments supply route to Afghanistan.
“I indicated him that it really was something that needed to be discussed with the Pentagon… and encouraged him to talk with relevant people in Pentagon,” Steinberg said.
It was reported late last month that the U.S. Department of Defense was aware of the Georgian President’s offer, but had not yet substantially explored it.
Steinberg also said the U.S. was grateful for Georgia’s commitment to support operations in Afghanistan. Georgia sent a company-size unit to Afghanistan to contribute NATO-led forces and in addition it plans to send a battalion-size force this spring.
During his brief stay in Tbilisi, the U.S. Deputy Secretary of State met with four opposition leaders and President Saakashvili on February 5, before leaving for Germany to participate in the Munich security conference.
“I was particularly pleased to come at this time, when we are now able to complete our promise and commitment of USD 1 billion assistance to Georgia… We are now in the position to move forward the last tranche of that commitment,” he said.
Building stronger democratic institutions, he said, was “an important component” of the U.S. assistance to Georgia.
According to the U.S. embassy in Tbilisi USD 469.89 million of the USD 1 billion aid package was allocated for economic assistance, including financing business projects through the U.S. Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), as well as energy security and road infrastructure development.
USD 436.9 million of the aid package was allocated for humanitarian aid, including USD 250 million for budgetary support, as well as funds for support of IDPs.
USD 48.6 million of the package was allocated for good governance and democracy projects, including for support of civil society, rule of law, judiciary and political parties.
Slightly over 48 million was allocated for security measures, including for demining purposes, support to the police, coast guard and border control.
“We have a strong commitment to Georgia’s future as sovereign, independent and democratic state,” Steinberg said.
Steinberg, who arrived in Tbilisi from Yerevan, also said that he had discussed regional security issues with the Georgian President. He was accompanied by Philip Gordon, assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs.
5 Feb. '10 Ex-Premierminister Nogaideli’s Party unterzeichnet ein Abkommen über Zusammenarbeit mit der russischen Partei "United Russia"
5 Feb. '10 Opposition trifft den stellvertretenden US-Außenminister James Steinberg
Four opposition leaders, who met with visiting U.S. Deputy Secretary of State James Steinberg, said that democratic reforms, as well as the country’s security issues were discussed.
Nino Burjanadze, ex-parliamentary speaker and leader of Democratic Movement–United Georgia (DMUG); Davit Gamkrelidze, leader of New Rights Party (part of Alliance for Georgia); Giorgi Targamadze, leader of the parliamentary minority and of Christian-Democratic Movement and Levan Gachechiladze, co-founder of public movement Defend Georgia, participated in the meeting.
“The news that we heard today is that although the United States cut expanses, it plans to increase assistance to Georgia to strengthen democratic institutions,” Giorgi Targamadze, CDM leader said after the meeting. “I have requested the Deputy Secretary of State to keep close coordination with the Georgian authorities, including in respect of situation management, so that to make [the Georgian authorities] more restraint and attentive in order to react adequately to the provocations staged by our northern neighbor.”
“It was very important to hear the statement that it’s important for the U.S. administration to see the real democratic steps, which the authorities should undertake and not just attempts to create an image of being a friend of the United States. I stressed during the meeting that there is no progress in democratic reforms and that the Georgian people are waiting for the results of those efforts and pressure on [the Georgian authorities], which really take place behind the scenes,” Nino Burjanadze, leader of DMUG, said.
“Despite frequent meetings and huge friendship no concrete result has been brought either in respect of security, or in respect of protection of human rights,” Levan Gachechiladze said after the meeting.
“We have received serious promises that democracy would be a priority of President Obama’s administration in respect of Georgia… The fact that the delegation, during its brief visit, meets with the opposition, before meeting with the President, highlights that for the United States Georgia and its people are priorities and not any particular political leader,” Davit Gamkrelidze, the New Rights Party leader, said.
5 Feb. '10 Stellvertretender US-Außenminister James Steinberg, begleitet von Philip Gordon, besucht Georgien
4 Feb. '10 US-Chef des nationalen Nachrichtendienstes Dennis Blair äußert sich zu Georgien
 "Moskau's ausgedehnte Militärpräsenz in Georgiens abtrünnigen Regionen und die politisch-wirtschaftlichen Beziehungen zu diesen und sporadische Gewalt auf niedriger Stufe erhöhen das Risiko von Mißverständnissen und Überreaktionen, welche zu erneuten Kämpfen führen könnten. ... Ich bleibe beunruhigt, wie auch immer, dass Russland auf die Beziehungen mit seinen Nachbarn im ehemaligen sowjetischen Raum - ein Gebiet, durch Präsident Medvedev charakterisiert als Russlands "Zone von privilegierten Interessen" - größtenteils in Nullsummen-Bedingungen schaut, gegenüber den USA, möglicherweise die US-russische bilaterale Beziehung untergrabend."
Unresolved conflicts in the Caucasus are “the most likely flashpoints” in the Eurasia region, Dennis Blair, director of U.S. national intelligence, said in annual threat assessment.
“Moscow’s expanded military presence in and political-economic ties to Georgia’s separatist regions and sporadic low-level violence increase the risk of miscalculation or overreaction leading to renewed fighting,” he said in a prepared testimony before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence on February 3.
The similar opinion was expressed in the previous threat assessment last year.
Dennis Blair also said that last year Russia showed some signs that it was prepared to be more cooperative with the U.S., including on Afghanistan and Iran.
“I remain concerned, however, that Russia looks at relations with its neighbors in the former Soviet space—an area characterized by President Medvedev as Russia’s ‘zone of privileged interests’ — largely in zero-sum terms, vis-à-vis the United States, potentially undermining the US-Russian bilateral relationship,” Dennis Blair said.
He also said that Moscow remained capable of militarily dominating the former Soviet space, “although Russia’s experience in the August 2008 Georgia conflict revealed major shortcomings in the Russian military.”
4 Feb. '10 Delegation der Venedig-Kommission - eine Institution des Europarates - besucht Georgien
A delegation from Council of Europe’s (CoE) advisory body for legal and constitutional issues, Venice Commission, is visiting Tbilisi on February 3-4 to discuss ongoing constitutional reform within the state commission, which was established last June.
The delegation, led by Secretary of Venice Commission, Gianni Buquicchio, Council of Europe’s advisory body for legal and constitutional issues, med with President Saakashvili, Parliamentary Chairman Davit Bakradze and other officials, as well as representatives of commission on the constitutional reform.
“Your country needs a good constitution,” Gianni Buquicchio said earlier on February 4, before meeting with the representatives of the constitutional commission.
Constitutional amendments made after the Rose Revolution was “a progress, but it lacked balance between the powers,” he said and added that it was “the challenge” of drafters of the new constitution “to ensure real balance” between the branches of government.
“The government must be more accountable to the Parliament and the judiciary must be really independent,” he said. “The local self-governance must be reinforced and, if possible, new constitution should foresee kind of regionalism in order to give more autonomy to provinces.”
He also said that the delegation had a chance to view a chapter of the new constitution, which deals with the local self-governance. The current constitution, he continued, contains “very few, very general provisions” on the local government.
Jorgen Steen Sorensen, director of Danish public prosecutions and a member of the Venice Commission delegation said that they had not yet made any in-depth analysis of this chapter, but an initial observation was that although it was more extensive than the provisions currently contained in the constitution, but it’s “still quite general in its wording.”
He also said that one of the important suggestions from the Venice Commission would be to make the chapter on the local governance “more detailed” in order to provide a legal basis for solving possible disagreements between local and central governments in the future concerning such issues as financial and material resources and supervision of local governance.
The delegation said that the Venice Commission would probably submit its detailed opinion on this chapter of the draft constitution in early spring.
4 Feb. '10 Vereinigte Arabische Emirate’s RAKIA weist zurück, am Besitz von Imedi TV beteiligt zu sein
4 Feb. '10 Georgische "Election Watchdog group" ISFED bleibt in der Ukraine zur Beobachtung der Stichwahl
Georgian election watchdog group, ISFED, said it would continue its participation election monitoring mission for the second round of Ukrainian presidential election.
President Saakashvili said in a statement on February 3 that Georgia was not sending observers to Ukraine because of “controversy” and “misunderstanding” surrounding their presence in Ukraine during the first round of elections and also called on other Georgian observers, who were going to monitor the runoff vote under the aegis of various international organizations, “to return back to Georgia.”
Those Georgian citizens, who were observing the first round of presidential elections in Ukraine under the aegis of various international organizations or international election watchdog groups, faced no problems in receiving accreditation from the Ukrainian Central Election Commission (CEC). The problem was related with those would-be observers, who were sent to Ukraine by the Georgian government. The President’s statement did not explain the motive behind the call on the Georgian citizens to withdraw from election monitoring missions.
Georgian observers from the Tbilisi-based International Society for Fair Elections were monitoring the first round of elections in Ukraine as part of European Network of Election Monitoring Organizations (ENEMO).
Citing commitments it has undertaken before ENEMO, ISFED said in a statement that it would continue its participation in the mission.
3 Feb. '10 Präsident Saakashvili spricht zur militärisch-patriotischen Erziehung und der Notwendigkeit zur Einheit
3 Feb. '10 Tbilisi ruft Tskhinvali auf, verhaftete Georgier freizulassen
3 Feb. '10 Stellvertretender US-Außenminister James Steinberg besucht Georgien
3 Feb. '10 Georgien wird keine Beobachter zur ukrainischen Stichwahl schicken
3 Feb. '10 Suchumi verurteilt Tbilisi’s Strategiepapier
3 Feb. '10 OSZE-Hochkommissar für nat. Minderheiten Knut Vollebaek besucht Abchasien
2 Feb. '10 Premierminister ernennt den langjährigen Reuters-Reporter Niko Mchedlishvili zu seinem Sprecher
2 Feb. '10 Gruppe georgischer Menschenrechtsaktivisten werden den Staatsanwalt des int. Gerichtshof (ICC), Luis Moreno Ocampoan, zum Augustkrieg 2008 informieren
2 Feb. '10 Georgien klagt Eutelsat der Zensur an
2 Feb. '10 Russischer Außenminiater Lavrov: Geschwindigkeit der Anerkennung von Südossetien und Abchasien sei normal
1 Feb. '10 Trotz fehlender breiter Unterstützung bestehen einige Parteien weiter auf Vorwahlen
1 Feb. '10 Eutelsat und der georgische öffentliche Rundfunk konnten sich nicht einig werden über die Ausstrahlung des neuen "First Caucasian Channel"
1 Feb. '10 12 Parteien beantragen Teilnahme an der Nachprüfung der Wählerlisten
30 Jan. '10 Präsident Saakashvili begrüßt die jüngsten Äußerungen von US-Außenministerin Clinton zu Georgien
Die Bemnerkungen seien Ausdruck der starken Unterstützung Washington's für Tbilisi, welche nicht zulassen wird, dass der Kreml die Besetzung georgischer Gebiete legalisiert.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s recent remarks about Georgia is an express of Washington’s firm support towards Tbilisi, which will not let the Kremlin legalize its occupation of Georgian territories, President Saakashvili’s spokesperson, Manana Manjgaladze, said on January 30.
“The President of Georgia welcomes such unambiguous position and support expressed by the United States, as just because of such firm policy the United States will not let Russia divide the region into spheres of influence and just this policy and approach will not let the Kremlin legalize ethnic cleansing, which expelled 500,000 Georgian, as well as to legalize occupation of 20% of the Georgian territory,” Manana Manjgaladze said.
30 Jan. '10 Georgien's Souveränitat und territoriale Integrität in Clinton’s Rede über europäische Sicherheit in Paris unter den "Kernprinzien" angeführt
U.S. Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, reiterated Washington’s opposition to recognition of Georgia’s two breakaway regions in her speech at a conference in Paris, when she was speaking about “core principles” of security in Europe.
She said on January 29 that the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all states was among those core principles that “guide the U.S. as we consider the future of European security and our role in shaping, strengthening, and sustaining it.”
“The United States has demonstrated our adherence to this principle in recent years with our support for new European democracies seeking to chart their own political futures, free from external intimidation or aggression,” she said.
“We have repeatedly called on Russia to honor the terms of its ceasefire agreement with Georgia, and we refuse to recognize Russia’s claims of independence for Abkhazia and South Ossetia. More broadly, we object to any spheres of influence claimed in Europe in which one country seeks to control another’s future.”
Clinton also said that despite having disagreements with Russia, NATO and Moscow could be partners as both face new problems such as cyber security, global warming and nuclear proliferation.
"We are committed to exploring ways that NATO and Russia can improve their partnership by better reassuring each other about respective actions and intentions," Clinton said.
“I don’t need to state, but I will, that the United States and Russia will not always agree. We have different histories, different experiences and perspectives. Our interests will not always overlap. But when we disagree, we will seek constructive ways to manage our differences,” she added.
She said that the Conventional Forces in Europe Treaty, the pact setting troop levels in Europe, was “in danger of crumbling” after Moscow suspended its implementation two years ago.
Clinton also added: “The Russia-Georgia war in 2008 was not only a tragedy but has created a further obstacle to moving forward.”
On Russia’s proposals for new security treaties in Europe, Clinton said that common goals of security could be best dealt through existing institutions.
“Indivisibility of security is a key feature of those [Russian] proposals. And that is a goal we share, along with other ideas in the Russian proposals which reaffirm principles of the Helsinki Final Act and the NATO-Russia Founding Act. However, we believe that these common goals are best pursued in the context of existing institutions, such as the OSCE and the NATO-Russia Council, rather than by negotiating new treaties, as Russia has suggested – a very long and cumbersome process,” she said.
30 Jan. '10 Eutelsat stoppte die Ausstrahlung des neuen "First Caucasian Channel" nach der zweiwöchigen Testphase ohne Vorlage eines neuen Vertrages
Der Vorsitzende des georgischen öffentlichen Rundfunks Gia Chanturia versucht in Paris Eutelsat davon zu überzeugen, dass die Austrahlung des First Caucasian Channel fortgesetzt wird. Le Figaro vermutet in einem Artikel, dass Russland hinter der Entscheidung von Eutelsat sein könnte.
Head of the Georgian Public Broadcaster, Gia Chanturia, is in Paris trying to convince Europe’s leading satellite operator, Eutelsat, to continue hosting Georgia’s Russian-language First Caucasian Channel.
The First Caucasian Channel was launched early this month, initially on internet and it became available on satellite since January 15.
For less than two weeks the channel was hosted on Eutelsat’s new W7 satellite operating at the 36 degrees East - a key location for broadcasting in Russia and other CIS states, as well as in Europe and Africa. The Georgian Public Broadcaster’s First Channel, as well as many of Russian TV channels, is also available on the same location.
Eutelsat took the First Caucasian Channel off the satellite, citing the end of testing period, without yet signing a new contract with the Georgian Public Broadcaster.
Le Figaro newspaper ran an article on the matter on January 27, suggesting that Russia could be behind Eutelsat’s decision to take the First Caucasian off its satellite without prolonging a contract with the Georgian Public Broadcaster. The newspaper quoted unnamed Tbilisi-based diplomat saying that Eutelsat “is under strong pressure” from Russia not to strike the contract with the Georgian Public Broadcaster.
Russian officials have publicly condemned the First Caucasian Channel as Georgia’s “anti-Russian propaganda” and an attempt “to plant ideology of extremism” in North Caucasus.
Gia Chanturia, general director of the Georgian Public Broadcaster, told RFE/RL’s Russian-language Ekho Kavkaza on January 29, that “situation is strange.”
He said that after the testing period, the contract was due to go into force from January 31. ““But suddenly problems have emerged and we are now trying to settle them,” Chanturia said.
He also said that the operator company initially complained about the content of the channel, but latter cited technical problems behind the suspension of the First Caucasian’s satellite broadcasting.
29 Jan. '10 Gericht verurteilt den Ex-Diplomaten Vakhtang Maisaia wegen Spionage für Russland
29 Jan. '10 Drei Personen sterben bei einer Minenexplosion in Gali
29 Jan. '10 Georgien bietet den USA sein Gebiet als Versorgungsroute für Afghanistan an
29 Jan. '10 Frankreich und USA begrüßen das Strategiepapier der georgischen Regierung zu den abtrünnigen Regionen Abchasien und Südossetien
28 Jan. '10 Präsident Saakashvili: Gesundheitssystem und Erziehung sind vorrangig für den Staat
28 Jan. '10 1.2 Mio. GEL für die Nachprüfung der Wählerlisten bereitgestellt
28 Jan. '10 Georgien’s Botschafter von Aserbaidschan, Ivane Noniashvili, tritt zurück
28 Jan. '10 NATO-Generalsekretär Anders Fogh Rasmussen trifft den georgischen Parlamentspräsident Davit Bakradze
... “In the meeting, the Secretary General said that NATO’s commitment to Georgia’s membership as decided by NATO Allies at the Bucharest Summit in 2008 remains firm,” a press release issued by NATO reads. “The Secretary General said that NATO will continue supporting Georgia in its reform efforts and he thanked Georgia for its contribution to the NATO-led ISAF operation in Afghanistan.” ...
27 Jan. '10 Regierung bekräftigt Strategiepapier zu den abtrünnigen Regionen Abchasien und Südossetien
The Georgian government endorsed on January 27 a document - ”State Strategy on Occupied Territories: Engagement Through Cooperation” –  laying out Tbilisi’s vision towards two breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.
“The key element of the document is that we say no to any type of isolation of these regions; residents of those regions are residents of Georgia so we can not let isolation of these regions,” Temur Iakobashvili, the Georgian state minister for reintegration, said.
“We can not let the situation wherein fate of residents of these regions will depend solely on the occupying power; so we plan to take active steps to provide the local population with an opportunity to have normal education, healthcare, to engage in economic projects,” Iakobashvili, who led the drafting of the paper, added.
The document offers setting up of “a status-neutral” mechanisms to work with the breakaway regions’ authorities on implementation of the strategy.
The government has now to develop a detailed action plan of implementing the strategy – the process, which is expected to last till June 31, 2010.
27 Jan. '10 Ukrainische Präsidentschaftskandidatin Yulia Tymoshenko begrüßt georgische Wahlbeobachter und nennt die Vorwürfe gegen diese eine "billige Provokation" der Partei von Präsidentschaftskandidat Viktor Yanukovych
Ukrainian PM and presidential candidate, Yulia Tymoshenko, said she was grateful to Georgia for sending election observers and rejected allegations that Georgian observers planned to destabilize polls as “cheap provocation” by Party of Regions, led by her rival presidential candidate, Viktor Yanukovych.
“The first round of election demonstrated that the Georgian observers worked as observers. I am grateful for that,” Tymoshenko said in an interview with Ukrainskaya Pravda.
Tymoshenko confirmed that a taped phone conversation between her and President Saakashvili, which was released few days before the January 17 elections, was authentic. In the phone conversation Tymoshenko and Saakashvili discuss the Ukrainian Central Election Commission’s refusal to register large group of Georgian election observers. Speaking in Russian, in the conversation Saakashvili mentions that Tbilisi sent “competent” and “battle-capable” (the Russian word, which Saakashvili used боеспособный can also refer to efficient) team of observers. This word was seized by Tymoshenko’s opponents to accuse her that she was discussing with the Georgian President arrival of “fighters” in Ukraine to destabilize elections, particularly in the city of Donetsk, a political stronghold of Yanukovych.
“He [Saakashvili] meant efficient observers and not ninja-fighters,” Tymoshenko said. “Do you really believe that the President can really call to Prime Minister to offer some suspicious things?”
Asked if she found out from where the phone conversation was taped “from Georgia, Ukraine or the third country”, Tymoshenko responded: “I do not want to discuss that and focus attention on that.”
26 Jan. '10 Ex-Premierminister Nogaideli besucht Moskau
26 Jan. '10 Staatsanwaltschaft in Donetsk überprüft die Echtheit der Presseausweise von nichtregistrierten georgischen Wahlbeobachtern
A prosecutor’s office in the Ukrainian city of Donetsk launched investigation into the use of “fake press accreditations” by Georgian non-registered election observers, the Ukrainian media sources reported on January 26.
“Having studied all the circumstances, all the temporary [press] accreditations, the prosecutor’s office came to a conclusion that this action was illegal,” Alexander Lukyanchenko, a mayor of Donetsk, was quoted by the Ukrainian news agencies.
After several hundred of Georgian citizens, sent to Ukraine to monitor January 17 presidential elections, failed to receive a registration from the Ukrainian Central Election Commission, they turned to local media sources to obtain their press accreditations.
Levan Tarkhnishvili, a former chairman of the Georgian Central Election Commission, who is in Ukraine and along with senior ruling party lawmakers Givi Targamadze coordinating issues related with the Georgian observers, said after the Ukrainian CEC refused to register the Georgian observers, “we decided to resort to alternative options” in order to gain access to polling stations.
“And this alternative option was to cooperate with local media sources as their freelance reporters. It is much easier way and it was done with observation of law,” Tarkhnishvili told RFE/RL Georgian service on January 18.
A Lugansk-based weekly newspaper, Molodogvardeets, provided a group of Georgian would-be observers with its press accreditations.
26 Jan. '10 EU-Beobachter äußerten ihre "ernsthaften Bedenken" bezüglich der Verhaftung eines Südosseten durch die georgische Polizei
EU Monitoring Mission in Georgia (EUMM) expressed on January 25 “serious reservations” about the circumstances surrounding the detention of a South Ossetian resident by the Georgian police earlier this month.
There were conflicting reports about the circumstances of Genady Pliev’s detention n January 4. The Georgian Interior Ministry said Pliev was arrested in the village of Nikozi, a village on the Georgian side of the breakaway region’s administrative border and that he was armed with a firearm and hand-grenades.
Tskhinvali said that Pliev was “abducted” by the Georgian police from the place located about 400-500 meters deeper into the South Ossetian territory.
Following the inquiry into the case, EUMM expressed suspicion towards the abduction version of the incident, but also did not support the Georgian police claims that Pliev was armed.
“Following careful consideration of all the available information the EUMM has serious doubts that Mr. Pliev was abducted or that he was carrying a weapon at the time of his arrest,” EUMM said.
“The EUMM very much hopes that all sides will reflect carefully on this case. Ultimately, with goodwill, detainees on both sides should be able to return to their homes. The EUMM has repeatedly expressed the view that people who cross the administrative boundary lines should be dealt with by administrative, not judicial actions,” it said.
Inquiry into Pliev’s detention case was the first one when EU monitors were able to enter into the breakaway region to meet with the South Ossetian de facto authorities and to inspect the spot from where Tskhinvali alleged Pliev had been abducted.
26 Jan. '10 Premierminister Nika Gilauri besucht Armenien
25 Jan. '10 Georgiens ist willens, die ukrainische Stichwahl zu beobachten
Georgia has “a great desire” to monitor second round of presidential elections in Ukraine on February 7 “to have first hand information” about the polls, Nino Kalandadze, the Georgian deputy foreign minister, said on Monday.
“But if the country [Ukraine] does not want [Georgian observers], of course we can not impose our good will on anyone,” she said. ...
25 Jan. '10 Anhörung zum Girgvliani-Fall am europäischen Gerichtshof für Menschenrechte verschoben
A public hearing into application lodged by the Girgvliani family against Georgia in the Strasbourg-based European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), scheduled for February 2, was postponed after a judge in respect of Georgia withdrew from the case.
“A new hearing date will be fixed after the Georgian Government nominates an ad hoc judge,” ECHR press service wrote in an e-mail to Civil.Ge. ...
23 Jan. '10 Parliamentspräsident Davit Bakradze besucht mit einer Delegation Brüssel, um Treffen im NATO-Hauptquartier und mit der EU abzuhalten.
"Unser Ziel ist es, unsere Partner von der NATO und EU über die Situation in den besetzten Gebieten und den Russland-Georgien-Beziehungen informiert zu halten. ..."
A Georgian parliamentary delegation, led by Davit Bakradze, the parliamentary chairman, left for Brussels to hold meetings in NATO headquarters, EU and European Parliament.
“Our goal is to keep our partners from NATO and European Union informed about situation in the occupied territories, about Georgian-Russian relations; apart of that we will of course also talk about reforms in Georgia and economic issues,” Davit Bakradze said before departure.
22 Jan. '10 Präsident Saakashvili weist die Forderung nach einer Sitzung des nationlen Sicherheitsrates zur ‘Ukrainischen Einmischung’ zurück
22 Jan. '10 Präsident Saakashvili: Georgien wird dem russischen Lockmittel - wie z.B. die Wiederaufnahme von Direktflügen - nicht folgen
Russia wants to lure Georgians with “baits” like resumption of direct flights between the two countries, but Georgian should remember that Russia’s PM Vladimir Putin will never do “anything good for Georgia,” President Saakashvili said on January 22.
“Russians announced that they will not allow our flights. At first they said they have no objections [about resuming of flights]; they expected that Georgia itself would have said no to resumption of flights,” he told Georgian journalists in Estonia, where he is for a working visit. ...
22 Jan. '10 Partei "Alliance for Georgia" will eine Sitzung des nationalen Sicherheitsrates zur ‘Ukrainischen Einmischung’
22 Jan. '10 Gespräche zwischen den USA und Georgien in Tbilisi zu Kontakten von Bürger zu Bürger und Kulturaustauschprogrammen
21 Jan. '10 Russisches Außenministerium gibt seine Prioritäten für die "Genfer Gespräche" am 28.1. bekannt
21 Jan. '10 Präsident Saakashvili in Tallinn: ‘Helft uns, die russische Spiegel-Propaganda zurückzuhalten’
President Saakashvili said on January 21, that “Russian leaders are still planning to destroy us” and are still promoting “so called regime change policy in Georgia.”
Saakashvili, who is paying a working visit to Estonia, told an audience at the Foreign Policy Institute in Tallinn that Georgia needed help in spreading “the truth” in order to deter Russia’s attempts to create a pretext for repeating what it had done in August, 2008.
In his introduction remarks, which were aired live by the Tbilisi-based Imedi TV, Saakashvili focused on Russia’s tactic of, as he put it, “mirror propaganda” applied against Georgia.
“I was shocked how much the Russian invaders managed to shape this surrealistic perception that Georgia – the country that they invaded - was provoking the Russian leadership,” Saakashvili said.
He said Russia was actively using “mirror propaganda” by blaming Georgia for committing the very crimes, which Russia itself was about to commit or had already committed.
Nazis were the first ones to turn this tactic of “mirror propaganda” into “a sophisticated system,” Saakashvili said.
“They accused Jews of preparing the World War; they [Nazis] were in fact actively preparing it… They [Nazis] accused Poles of organizing provocations; they [Nazis] were organizing [provocations] at the border and so on,” Saakashvili said and added that the same approach of “mirror propaganda” was applied by Hutu extremists against the Tutsi minority in Rwanda.
He said Russia was using this tactic, “transforming reality through the lens of Gazprom-paid media and sometimes [the Russian authorities] bribe public figures as well unfortunately.”
“We do not ask our friends to send us troops or weapons; we are asking them to help us telling the truth to the world,” Saakashvili said. “We need you my friends to fight this mirror propaganda.”
He said the fact that “the Georgian government is still in charge” sends a message throughout the region that “Russian leadership was bad enough to invade the sovereign country, but not strong enough to remove its government.”
 “All over the region this message is heard and [Russia’s PM] Vladimir Putin can not stand it; so they will plan and do something again. But in order to wage the new war, they need to discredit us by the process of accusation in a mirror and we need you to oppose this strategy… The truth you might spread about our sufferings and our right cause will defend us more than tanks and bullets,” Saakashvili said.
“In order to prevent another crime from happening, please help us in enlightening the world consciousness; do not allow the night to cover Georgia again,” he added.
He said Russia remains “an occupying power” in Georgia and complained that “unfortunately nobody really dares to call it [occupation] loudly except some parliaments.”
“What else do you call it; is it a military tourism what Russians are doing in Georgia?” Saakashvili said.
 He also said in his remarks that Estonia was Georgia’s “best friend” and it was “a huge pleasure and a great relief to meet, to discuss, to debate with people who understand” Georgia’s security challenges.
“The Estonian experience was and still is the ultimate model of what we try to achieve since the Rose Revolution,” Saakashvili said.
21 Jan. '10 Ex-Premierminister Nogaideli sagt, dass er in Gesprächen zur Unterstützung von ‘unabhängigen Fernsehsendern’ sei
21 Jan. '10 Georgien im Human Rights Watch-Weltbericht
21 Jan. '10 Estnischer Präsident Thomas Hendrik Ilves trifft Präsident Saakashvili in Tallinn
Georgia’s territorial integrity will not be restored in the near future, therefore Georgia needs to show “strategic patience and commitment to the successful construction of its country,” Estonian President, Thomas Hendrik Ilves said on January 20.
“It would not be fruitful to waste energy on problems that cannot be resolved in the near future,” President Ilves said, according to his press office.
Ilves was speaking at a joint news conference with his Georgian counterpart, Mikheil Saakashvili, who is paying a working visit to Tallinn.
“Many countries, including Georgia’s allies, know that injustice can prevail for some time; however, history has windows of opportunity, which shall open once and then close – and we need to stay alert to wait for them to open and then be wise enough to seize the moment,” the Estonian President said.
He reiterated Estonia and EU’s support to Georgia’s territorial integrity saying that they would “never” recognize independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.
The Estonian President praised Georgia for going through, as he put it, “an amazing process of development with regard to economic reforms as well as the development both of democracy and the rule of law, and – of particular importance – in fighting corruption.”
He also said that the August, 2008 war had “somewhat delayed Georgia’s western integration.”
“However, the speed of progress that Georgia makes on its way towards the European Union and NATO will still largely depend on its own actions and development in the sphere of democracy, human rights, and freedom of media, as well as economic reforms,” the Estonian President said.
Continued democratic and economic reforms, he said, should be the focus of Georgia. “This is the key to your success,” President Ilves said.
20 Jan. '10 Arbeitsgruppe zur Entwicklung von Schulkursen zu ‘Ziviler Verteidigung und Sicherheit’ eingesetzt
... “The course envisages such areas as civil defense, road safety, first aid, history of the Georgian Army and review of the Georgian armament,” the Education Ministry said in a statement. ...
20 Jan. '10 Rücktrittsforderungen der Opposition an den Innenminister Vano Merabishvili wegen "grober Einmischung" in die unkrainische Präsidentschaftswahlen
Die Forderungen beruhen auf den der Entsendung von ungefähr 2000 unregistrierten Wahlbeobachtern und einem in unkrainischen Medien ausgestrahlten Telefongesprächs, das angeblich die Stimmen von Innenminister Vano Merabishvili und Givi Targamadze wiedergibt, die über die Entsendung der Wahlbeobachter sprechen.
Some opposition parties called on January 20 for Interior Minister Vano Merabishvili’s resignation for “roughly interfering” in Ukraine’s presidential elections.
The call comes after a row over about 2,000 Georgian non-registered observers for the Ukrainian elections and after a taped phone conversation purportedly between Merabishvili and Georgian senior lawmaker from the ruling party, Givi Targamadze, was disseminated by Ukrainian media sources.
The taped phone conversation, allegedly made on January 14, was used by politicians from the Ukrainian Party of Regions, led by frontrunner presidential candidate, Viktor Yanukovych, to back its claims that the Georgian authorities wanted to deploy unusually large group of observers in Ukraine and particularly in Yanukovych’s political stronghold, Donetsk, in order “to destabilize elections” in favor of another candidate, PM Yulia Tymoshenko.
The taped conversation of two men with voices similar to MP Givi Targamadze and Interior Minister Merabishvili, available on various Ukrainian websites, is dubbed with the Russian translation and original sound is only heard well in several episodes. The two men are discussing how to arrange sending of additional group from Tbilisi to Donetsk. The man, whose voice is similar to Merabishvili tells his interlocutor to ask “Yulia” to arrange flights to secure arrival of additional teams from Georgia.
Before the January 17 presidential elections, a phone conversation purportedly between President Saakashvili and Yulia Timoshenko was disseminated on the Ukrainian websites in which the interlocutors discuss the problem related with non-registration of the Georgian election observers. The man, whose voice is similar to Saakashvili, tells his interlocutor to talk with “Givi” on the matter. 
Commenting on the matter, MP Givi Targamadze told a Georgian news agency, InterPressNews, that he often speaks with the Interior Minister and the fact that 300 Georgians arrived in Donetsk, who were refused in registration as observers by the Ukrainian CEC, “has never been a secret.”
“I think Ukraine now needs to be focused on more important issue [referring to the second round of election] rather than wasting time on listening my mobile phone conversations,” Targamadze was quoted.
A comment from the Interior Ministry was not immediately available.
Irakli Alasania, the leader of a three-party opposition Alliance for Georgia, said on January 20, that by “roughly interfering” in Ukraine’s internal affairs, President Saakashvili’s administration “has endangered future of good neighborly relations between the two countries and the President of Georgia will bear full responsibility for any possible negative consequences.”
Alasania, who runs for the Tbilisi mayor’s office in the upcoming local elections, said that Interior Minister Merabishvili and Chairman for the Parliamentary Committee for Defense and Security Givi Targamadze should resign “because of this political adventure and the scale of damage inflicted on the country’s interests.”
“An interior minister or a chairman of parliamentary committee for defense and security in any country would have resigned in such a situation,” Eka Beselia, leader of Movement for United Georgia, said.
“It is not a business of any interior minister to deal with the issues of sending observers – if they really were observers,” Salome Zourabichvili, leader of Georgia’s Way party, said.
Her party has recently requested the Georgian and Ukrainian authorities to provide with the full list of those people, who the Georgian authorities submitted for registration as election observers. There have been allegations that the list included many persons with no appropriate election experience and employees of the Georgian Interior Ministry.
Zourabichvili said that what the Georgian authorities had done was “a disservice to pro-European forces in Ukraine” – referring to presidential candidate Yulia Tymoshenko.
Ex-parliamentary speaker Nino Burjanadze’s Democratic Movement-United Georgia (DMUG) party also said in a statement that by “interfering in Ukrainian’s internal affairs” President Saakashvili was “damaging Georgia’s reputation” and “making disservice to one of the presidential candidates.” The party also demanded from Interior Minister Merabishvili to immediately comment on the released taped phone conversation.
Burjanadze also tried to use this case to back her argument about needless of running in upcoming local elections.
“Our party asks the question – does anyone, within or outside Georgia, still has an illusion that Saakashvili and his regime can hold democratic elections after this [case with Ukraine]?! The argument of those, who state that it has a sense to participate in elections under the Saakashvili’s criminal regime, is not understandable for us,” Burjanadze’s party said.
20 Jan. '10 OSCE-Vertreter für Medienfreiheit, Miklos Haraszti, begrüßt Georgien’s Entscheidung, die Mittel für das öffentliche Fernsehen an das Bruttosozialprodukt zu koppeln
20 Jan. '10 Verteidigungsministerium distanziert sich von einem Informationsfilm, in dem eine Aussage Hitlers zitiert wurde
The Georgian Ministry of Defense released a statement on January 19 distancing itself from a documentary film featuring a quote by Adolf Hitler, which was aired by Tbilisi-based Sakartvelo TV eighteen months ago.
Sakartvelo TV, a television station affiliated with the Georgian MoD, aired the film, promoting service in the reserve troops, in July, 2008. In one episode the film shows young men enrolling in the reserve forces and subtitles accompanied by a voiceover saying: “’It must be thoroughly understood that the lost land will never be won back by solemn prayers, nor by hopes in any League of Nations, but only by the force of arms.’ Adolf Hitler, 1932.”
The film, aired by the TV station whose audience is far smaller than of major national television stations, went mainly unnoticed, triggering no major reaction within Georgia. But the issue resurfaced recently with the issue debated on Georgian internet discussion forums and social networking websites triggering the Georgian MoD to release the statement.
“Discussions are taking place in internet recently about a documentary film, Reservist, aired by the TV company, Sakartvelo, in 2008. Authors of the film use an aggressive quotation by Adolf Hitler. This part of the film is distributed in internet as a TV spot and aims at cheap political goals to discredit the Georgian Ministry of Defense and the Armed Forces. The Georgian Ministry of Defense states, that the film and especially the use of Adolf Hitler’s quotation did not and does not reflect the position of the Georgian Ministry of Defense. It represents a personal initiative and vision of the author of the film. The Ministry of Defense categorically distances itself from the quotation used in the film and from the vision of the authors,” the Georgian MoD said in a written statement.
19 Jan. '10 Premierminister Nika Gilauri Ägypten
Georgian Prime Minister Nika Gilauri left for Egypt on January 19, the PM’s press office reported.
During the visit PM Gilauri will meet with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, Prime Minister Ahmed Nazif and other officials.
A Georgian-Egyptian business forum is also planned during the visit, according to the Georgian PM’s press office.
Egypt was the second, after the United Arab Emirates, in the list of countries from where most of the foreign direct investments came to Georgia in January-September, 2009 with USD 71.54 million, according to the Georgian statistics office.
Egypt first appeared in the list in the second quarter of 2009 with USD 45 million and then in the third quarter with USD 70 million – the trend related with Egypt-based home appliances producer company Fresh Electric’s investment plans in Georgia.
19 Jan. '10 Europarat ruft zum "Austausch" der Verhafteten auf
19 Jan. '10 Iranischer Präsident Ahmadinejad trifft georgischen Außenminister
Iran is interested in “improving relations with Tbilisi as far as possible,” Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad told visiting Georgian Foreign Minister, Grigol Vashadze, in Tehran, according to Iranian President’s press office.
Vashadze paid a one-day working visit to Iran on January 18 and also met with his Iranian counterpart Manouchehr Mottaki; Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani and Secretary of Supreme National Security Council Sa’eid Jalili.
The regional countries must expand the dimensions of bilateral, multilateral and regional cooperation and block the path for the intervention of the aliens,” President Ahmadinejad said, referring to NATO adding that the Alliance was not taking into consideration “the interests of regional countries.”
“The entire regional problems and crises can be solved based on regional countries’ interactions and cooperation,” he said.
According to the same report by the Iranian President’s press office, Foreign Minister Vashadze, stressed that his country “would never act against Iran, no matter in which alliance or organization it is participating.”
“Iran and Georgia are in the same civilizational basin and the two countries have enjoyed friendly relation ever since remote past and we are interested in improving relations with Tbilisi as far as possible today,” Ahmadinejad said.
“The two countries can set the foundations for strong cooperation based on constant consultations,” the Iranian President added.
19 Jan. '10 Präsident Saakashvili: Ukraine wird Georgien’s Verbündeter bleiben
18 Jan. '10 Georgisches Fernsehen geben nicht die Äußerungen der internationalen OSZE-Wahlbeobachter in der Ukraine wieder
Ungefähr 2000 Wahlbeobachter wurden aus Georgien auf Anfrage von Ukrainern geschickt. Diese sind nicht von der ukrainischen Wahlkommission registriert gewesen. In den Fernsehsendern wird aufgrund der Berichte der zurückgekehrten Beobachter von ernsten Verletzungen, insbesondere in Donetsk, gesprochen.
• Saakashvili: sending of Georgian observers pre-agreed with Ukraine
While the Georgian television stations have been extensively reporting from Ukraine these days about presidential elections there, they ignored on January 18 to report about initial findings of the OSCE-led international observers on Sunday’s polls.
Elections were of “high quality and showed significant progress over previous elections, meeting most OSCE and Council of Europe commitments,” international observers said.
Rustavi 2 TV only briefly mentioned the international observers with the TV station’s journalist saying in her report from Kiev: “OSCE election observation mission is already expressing its position about violations during the Ukrainian elections.”
The Georgian national television stations’ coverage of the Ukrainian presidential elections was dominated by incidents involving the Georgian TV crews and controversy over non-registered Georgian election observers with TV reports saying that local authorities in Donetsk were creating obstacles to the Georgian observers.
“Those Georgian observers who have already returned from Ukraine say that elections were held with serious violations,” Rustavi 2 TV said.
And a journalist of Georgian public broadcaster’s First Channel reported from Donetsk: “As it was expected, the highest level of fraud was in Donetsk.”
Meanwhile, President Saakashvili said on January 18 that Georgia’s decision to send about 2,000 observers to Ukraine, who were not registered by the Ukrainian Central Election Commission, was “agreed in advance with all the political parties in Ukraine.”
“And we have received consent [from Ukraine] in advance,” he told journalists in Georgia’s ski resort of Bakuriani. “And of course we will again ask them if they want observers or not [for the second round of elections on February 7]. It is up to them to decide.”
“We have sent these observers upon the
request of Ukrainians. Absolute majority of the Ukrainian people with whom these [observers] met, wholeheartedly welcomed them,” Saakashvili said.
He denied allegations by Party of Regions, led by frontrunner presidential candidate Viktor Yanukovych, that Georgia sent “men, built like sportsmen” in order “to destabilize elections”.
“They [the Georgian observers] did not aim at interfering in politics – we have neither desire nor tools to do that. Our goal was to [express] solidarity and provide assistance to Ukraine,” Saakashvili said.
18 Jan. '10 Treffen des iranischen und georgischen Außenministers in Tehran
18 Jan. '10 Präsdent Saakashvili wurde von einer Gruppe NGOs gefragt, seine Auswahl der drei Kandidaten zum Vorsitz der Wahlkommission zu erklären
18 Jan. '10 Tbilisi sagt, dass die Partnerschaft mit der Ukraine ungeachtet des Wahlausgangs aufrechterhalten werden soll
18 Jan. '10 Außenminister Grigol Vashadze besucht Iran
17 Jan. '10 Georgien’s Fernsehsender "First Caucasian" beginnt mit der Ausstrahlung per Satellit
16 Jan. '10 Tbilisi's Bürgermeister Gigi Ugulava bestreitet Bemerkungen zu einem Verzicht auf NATO-Beitritt, wenn Russland die Truppen abzieht
16 Jan. '10 Georgisches Außenministerium zu den russischen Vorwürfen, georgien beherberge militante Gruppen: ‘Russland sucht einen Vorwand für militärische Provokationen’
Russia’s accusation that Georgia harbors militant groups is part of Moscow’s attempts to escalate tensions along the Georgian borders, the Georgian Foreign Ministry said on January 15.
“It is obvious that the Kremlin is seeking for a pretext to escalate the situation to a maximum at the borders of Georgia and create the background for carrying out military provocations against the sovereign country,” it said.
Russian Deputy Interior Minister Arkady Yedelev said on January 14 that “terrorist groups are trained at military bases in Georgia by foreign instructors to carry out terrorist acts on the territory of Russian Federation.”
Shota Utiashvili, head of the Georgian Interior Ministry’s analytical department, said the allegation was “absurd and an attempt to cover up their [Russia’s] own crimes and problems".
15 Jan. '10 Georgien bestreitet, irgendeinen Kandidaten bei den ukrainischen Wahlen zu unterstützen
15 Jan. '10 Parlament wählt den Vorsitz der Wahlkommission
15 Jan. '10 Schweizer Außenministerin Micheline Calmy-Rey besucht Georgien
... “Protection of human rights in Georgia will be at the centre of Mrs. Calmy-Rey’s visit,” CoE said in a press release.
The Georgian Foreign Ministry said that discussions “will focus on the issue of cooperation between Georgia and the Council of Europe, the situation on the occupied territory as well as the programmes carried out by the Council of Europe in Georgia.” ...
15 Jan. '10 Russisches Innenministerium: ‘Terroristische Gruppen werden in Georgien in Militärbasen ausgebildet ...’
Das hat laut RIA Novosti der stellvertretende Innenminister Arkady Yedelev auf einem Treffen mit Polizeibeamten in Vladikavkaz, Nordossetien gesagt.
The Russian Deputy Interior Minister accused Georgia of harboring militant groups. The allegation comes two weeks after the Russian Federal Security Service claimed that militants in Russia’s North Caucasus were receiving funding including from Georgia.
“Terrorist groups are trained at military bases in Georgia by foreign instructors to carry out terrorist acts on the territory of Russian Federation,” RIA Novosti news agency reported quoting Russia’s Deputy Interior Minister Arkady Yedelev as saying at a meeting with police officials in Vladikavkaz, North Ossetia, on January 14.
He said that Russia’s North Caucasus republics of Dagestan, Chechnya, Ingushetia, Kabardino-Balkaria and Karachay-Cherkessia were the potential targets of the attacks.
14 Jan. '10 Ex-Premierministewr Nogaideli sagt, dass er der Führung widerspreche und seine Kontakte mit Russland "ein populärer Schritt" sei
14 Jan. '10 Wahl zum Vorsitz der Wahlkommission nun im Parlament, da die Opposition keinen der drei vorgeschlagenen Kandidaten unterstützte
14 Jan. '10 Energiekonferenz in Batumi zur Entwicklung des südlichen Energiekorridors
An international conference addressing energy security and development of Southern Energy Corridor opened in Batumi on January 14, which initially was intended to be a high-level International Energy Summit.
According to initial official announcements, including by the Georgian Foreign Ministry made earlier this week, that the summit would be attended by “almost ten heads of states”, including Presidents of Poland, Ukraine and Azerbaijan. But as it emerged early on January 14, the presidents were not able to attend for reasons that were not immediately clear.
Richard L. Morningstar, the U.S. secretary of state’s special envoy for Eurasian energy, was also initially expected to participate in the event. Although Ambassador Morningstar arrived in Georgia on January 12, he left the country on January 14 without attending the event in Batumi.
“Because of Ambassador Morningstar’s changed schedule he was unable to attend the conference,” a spokesperson for the U.S. embassy in Tbilisi told Civil.Ge on January 14.
During his visit, the U.S. Secretary of State’s special envoy “consulted” with President Saakashvili, PM Nika Gilauri and Energy Minister Alexander Khetaguri, according to the U.S. embassy.
14 Jan. '10 Präsident Saakashvili lobt Weißrusslands Position in Bezug auf die Beziehung zu Georgien und innherhalb der GUS
14 Jan. '10 Neuer OSZE-Vorsitzender Kanat Saudabayev, auch kasachischer Außenminister, will die Südkaukasus-Länder im Februar besuchen
Kanat Saudabayev, the Kazakh foreign minister and OSCE new chairman-in-office, said he would pay his first visit in the capacity of chair of 56-member organization to South Caucasus countries in February.
“Assisting in resolution of ‘protracted conflicts’ remains a priority for any Chairmanship and we shall endeavour to do all we can to make a contribution to this difficult process,” he told the OSCE Permanent Council on January 14.
“At the same time, our Organization must try to find a way of preventing the emergence of similar conflicts which result in human tragedy and humanitarian disasters.”
“To that end, my first visit as Chairman-in-Office is scheduled for mid February to the countries of the South Caucasus. I would be grateful for any recommendations you might have and for your help and ideas in resolving the problems concerned with the conflicts there,” Saudabayev said.
14 Jan. '10 Georgien wird 40 t Hilfsgüter und zehn Rettungskräfte ins Erdbebegbiet auf Haiti schicken
Georgia is ready to sent 40 tons of humanitarian aid worth of USD 250,000 and ten rescue workers to Haiti, where tens of thousands of people are feared dead after 7.0 magnitude earthquake.
“The Georgian government took the decision last night to send aid. This is a very important decision; Georgia itself faces financial and economic difficulties; nevertheless Georgia can not remain indifferent towards people of Haiti,” Nino Kalandadze, the Georgian deputy foreign minister, told Imedi TV on January 14.
13 Jan. '10 Vermutlich wird die Wahl zum Vorsitz der Wahlkommission ins Parlament weitergereicht, da die Opposition die drei vorgeschlagenen Kandidaten boykottieren will
13 Jan. '10 Weitere offizielle Stimmen zu Präsident Saakashvili's Ankündigung von ‘militarisch-patriotischen’ Kursen in Schulen
Verteidigungsminister
Bacho Akhalaia: in Zusammenarbeit mit dem Erziehungsministerium sollen ab September 2010 zunächst in einigen Schulen mit diesen Kursen begonnen werden.
... Bacho Akhalaia, the Georgian defense minister, said on January 13, that MoD was actively cooperating with the Education Ministry to launch these courses from the next education year in September, 2010. He said that the project would initially be launched in several schools and would extend to all the schools at the later stage. ...
13 Jan. '10 Freedom House-Bericht 2009: Georgien bleibt bei der Bewertung der politischen Rechte und Bürgerfreiheit auf dem Status "teilweise frei"
Georgia remains “partly free” and non-electoral democracy, according to an annual report by the U.S.-based rights group, Freedom House, released on January 12.
Georgia’s scores in political rights and civil liberties categories – based on which a country’s status of “free”, “partly free” or “not free” is determined – stand at 4 in the Freedom in the World 2010 survey, covering 2009 developments.
The political rights and civil liberties categories contain numerical ratings between 1 and 7 for each country or territory, with 1 representing the most free and 7 the least free. ...
13 Jan. '10 Präsident Saakashvili sagt, die Opposition hätte in den letzten fünf Jahren keine Fortschritte gemacht, sich sogar zurückentwickelt "in einen tieferen Sumpf"
12 Jan. '10 Präsident Saakashvili: militärisch patriotische Kurse in der Schule erforderlich
12 Jan. '10 Präsident Saakashvili benennt Kandidaten zum Vorsitz der Wahlkommission
12 Jan. '10 Neue Frist zur Wahl des Vorsitzes der Wahlkommission gesetzt
11 Jan. '10 Mögliche Kandidaten zum Vorsitz der Wahlkommission benannt
11 Jan. '10 Präsident Saakashvili bittet das Parlament um mehr Zeit zur Nominierung der Kandidaten zum Vorsitz der Wahlkommission
11 Jan. '10 US-Senatoren treffen bei ihrem Georgienbesuch Vertreter der Opposition und Präsident Saakashvili
Visiting Republican Senator, John McCain, said in Batumi on January 11, that Georgia and the United States were “confronted by common challenges” and remained bound by common interests and democratic values.
John McCain arrived in Georgia with two other Republican Senators, John Barrasso and John Thune. Before meeting with President Saakashvili, the delegation met in Batumi, Adjara Autonomous Republic, with some opposition leaders, including Davit Usupashvili, leader of Republican Party, part of Alliance for Georgia; MP Giorgi Targamadze, leader of Christian-Democratic Movement and of parliamentary minority and Levan Gachechiladze, a co-founder of public movement Defend Georgia.
President Saakashvili said after meeting with the U.S. senators that John McCain was Georgia long-time and firm supporter and awarded him with Georgia’s highest state honor of National Hero.
Saakashvili said that during the August, 2008 war “some friends of ours were telling us to sign under every condition put forth by Putin [Russia’s PM] otherwise we would have faced the threat of physical extermination.”
“They were telling us to stop resistance… Lot’s of well-known world figures were calling me with this [message],” Saakashvili said.
He said that when John McCain, who at that time was a presidential candidate, called him and told him “not to surrender and not to say no to freedom.”
“He told me: ‘we will stand by Georgia and we all be Georgians’,” Saakashvili said. “Senator McCain abandoned his presidential campaign and was defending Georgia on international TV channels… We should never forget it.”
“Of all the honors I’ve received in my life the National Hero Award is among the most meaningful and it is one that I would cherish for ever,” Senator McCain said in Batumi.
He said that this award was an expression of “friendship between two leaders – myself and President Saakashvili.” He also added that it was much more than that and it was an expression of “partnership and solidarity between our two nations.”
“Nations confronted by common challenges, bound by common interests and united by common democratic values, individual liberty, an equal justice, human rights and human dignity,” Senator McCain added.
“These convictions join our nations in a friendship that is greater than any one leader, greater than any one government, greater than events of today and tomorrow.  Our friendship is as enduring as our fidelity to the indivisible values that we share,” he said.
Also on January 11, Senator McCain traveled to town of Zugdidi at breakaway Abkhazia’s administrative border where he visited a local field office of EU Monitoring Mission and met with head of the mission Hansjörg Haber.
11 Jan. '10 Mukhrovani-Urteil: Kobaladze teilweise freigesprochen, andere Schlüsselpersonen erhalten lange Haftstrafen
The judge delivered on January 11 a split verdict into the trial known as Mukhrovani mutiny clearing retired general Koba Kobaladze of coup charges, but jailing other key defendants to a lengthy prison terms.
The judge, however, found Kobaladze guilty of illegal keeping firearm and hand-grenades and sentenced him of eight months in prison. But as Kobaladze has been detained for eight months already, since May 5, he was released from the courtroom immediately after judge Jemal Kopaliani delivered the verdict. The prosecution wanted 13 years and six months of prison term for Kobaladze for the both charges.
“I did not expect such ruling by the judge; I though I would have continued my struggle in Strasbourg [European Court of Human Rights],” Kobaladze told Civil.Ge after he left the courtroom.
Koba Otanadze, a retired army colonel, who was named by the prosecution as one of the key organizers of the mutiny to overthrow the government, was found guilty of all three charges and sentenced to 29 years in prison. Apart of mutiny and coup charges he was also charged with illegal possession of arms and disobedience.
Levan Amiridze, who at the time was a commander of rangers’ battalion, was found guilty of mutiny to overthrow the government and disobedience and sentenced to 28-year prison term.
Shota (Mamuka) Gorgiashvili, who at the time was a commander of the tank battalion in Mukhrovani, was found guilty of similar charges as Amiridze and sentenced to 19-year prison term.
A former commander of the Kutaisi-based 3rd brigade, Kakha Kobaidze, was found guilty of not reporting the crime and sentenced to 3-year prison term and GEL 10,000 fine.
A former commander of the Gori-based 1st brigade, Davit Sulkhanishvili, was also found guilty of not reporting the crime and sentenced to 3-year conditional prison term and GEL 20,000 fine. Unlike Kobaidze, Sulkhanishvili pleaded guilty.
Koba Kobaladze’s case was the weakest point of the prosecution, as charges against him were solely based on controversial testimonies by Gia Gvaladze, who was convicted to two-years in prison through plea bargain in early October. He was facing charges related with mutiny to overthrow the government.
Defense lawyers of Otanadze, Amiridze and Gorgiashvili said they would appeal the verdict to higher court as they disagree with coup-related charges. They said the fact that the judge turned down Gvaladze’s testimonies in respect of Kobaladze will be an important part of their case in the court of appeals, as Gvaladze’s testimonies were also major evidence of the prosecution against Otanadze, Amiridze and Gorgiashvili. But unlike in Kobaladze’s case, in respect of three men and other co-defendants the prosecution also put forth other evidence.
The judge’s ruling actually means that he shared the prosecution’s version saying that developments in Mukhrovani-based tank battalion eight months ago were mutiny with an eventual goal to overthrow the government and not just disobedience by several military commanders.
The judge has yet to deliver a comprehensive justification of his verdict. After this justification paper is delivered the defense lawyers will be able to appeal to the higher court.
The judge also found guilty a former pilot of MI-8 helicopter, Zurab Chalatashvili, who served in the Alekseevka air base, of not reporting the crime and sentenced him to 3 years in prison.
Zurab Bzishvili, a former tank crew member from the Mukhrovani base, was found guilty of disobedience and illegal relocation of an armored vehicle and sentenced to nine years in prison.
In another significant part of the verdict, in respect of seven civilians who were charged with mutiny to overthrow the government, the judge ruled that the crimes committed by them should be instead qualified as providing assistance to disobedience. They were sentenced to prison terms varying from ten to 15 years. They were also found guilty of charges related with illegal possession of firearm.
Other five civilians were found guilty of disobedience and illegal possession of firearm and sentenced to prison terms varying from 9 to 10 years.
Also on January 11, the judge approved a plea bargain between one more civilian into the case, Zaza Sandodze, a relative of Koba Otanadze, and the prosecution; as a result he was sentenced to two years in prison for charges related with illegal possession of arms, not reporting the crime and resisting the police orders.
10 Jan. '10 Nominierung der Kandidaten zum Vorsitz der Wahlkommission wieder aufgeschoben
9 Jan. '10 Tskhinvali lehnt an einer Teilnahme zu einem Treffen über verhaftete Personen ab, wie es von der EUMM im Rahmen des "Incident Prevention and Response Mechanism" (IPRM) vorgeschlagen wurde
9 Jan. '10 Republikanische US-Senatoren John McCain, John Barrasso und John Thune besuchen Georgien
Republican Senators John McCain, John Barrasso and John Thune will visit Batumi in Adjara Autonomous Republic on January 10-11, the Georgian President’s press office reported.
“The main goal of the senators’ visit is to once again express the United States’ unwavering support to Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity,” the President’s administration said in a press release on Saturday.
“The visit also aims at strengthening the U.S.-Georgian strategic partnership,” it added.
8 Jan. '10 Frist verstrichen, Kandidaten zum Vorsitz der Wahlkommission nicht nominiert
8 Jan. '10 Mukhrovani Trial: Richter zieht sich zurück, um über den Urteilsspruch nachzudenken
8 Jan. '10 Georgian Airways wickelt ersten Charterflug nach Moskau seit dem Augustkrieg 2008 ab
7 Jan. '10 Präsident Saakashvili besucht München
Dort nimmt er an einer Konferenz "Georgien an einem neuen Scheideweg" teil, die bis 10.1. andauert. Vertreter von der NATO, dem europäischen Parlament und den "mit Georgien befreundeten Ländern" USA, Deutschland, Frankreich, Tschechei, Litauen und Lettland sind Teilnehmer.
The President’s administration also said that issues related with Georgia’s breakaway regions, relations between Georgia and the west, reform process in Georgia, “need for development of a new security model and the role of NATO, EU and the U.S. in this process” would be discussed by the conference.
7 Jan. '10 Beratungen zum Vorsitz der Wahlkommission im Gange; Frist zur Entscheidung ist 11.1.
6 Jan. '10 EUMM ruft zu Gesprächen zu den verhafteten Personen auf
6 Jan. '10 EU-Beobachter besuchen Tskhinvali übder den Fall des verhafteten Südosseten
5 Jan. '10 Imedi TV: Die meisten Wähler wollen Saakashvili für eine dritte Amtszeit
5 Jan. '10 Georgische Polizei verhaftet einen Südosseten
Genadi Pliev war bei der Verhaftung in Nikozi mit Handgranate und Handfeuerwaffen bewaffnet. Er gehört zu einer kriminellen Bande.
4 Jan. '10 Georgian Airways wickelt Charterflüge nach Moskau ab
4 Jan. '10 Levan Tarkhnishvili will sich wieder um den Vorsitz der Zentralen Wahlkommission bewerden
Nach den Gesetzesänderungen vom Dezember wird der Präsident drei Kandidaten, die als zertifizerte Beamte Prüfungen zu Wahlverfahren bestanden haben, vorschlagen, aus denen dann die Opposition einen auswählt.
An outgoing chairman of Central Election Commission (CEC), Levan Tarkhnishvili, said he might again apply for the post.
According to amendments to the election code, passed by the Parliament in December, the President will nominate three candidates for the post of CEC chairman and it will be up to the opposition members of CEC to select one. If none of three candidates receive majority votes of opposition CEC members then it will be up to the Parliament to elect one among three candidates.
Only certified election officials – those who have passed exams in election-related procedures – are eligible to apply for the post.
Asked whether he would apply for the post, Levan Tarkhnishvili told Rustavi 2 TV on January 4: “Let’s see; I do not rule it out.”
Tarkhnishvili said that according to the procedures, the President would nominate three candidates by January 8.
3 Jan. '10 Georgiens öffentliches Fernsehen startet das Programm "Kaukasus 1" in russischer Sprache, im Internte als "www.1k-tv.com"
Georgian public broadcaster launched its third, Russian-language TV channel, First Caucasian, on the web at www.1k-tv.com.
As Gia Chanturia, general-director of the public broadcaster, said last month the plan was to launch the new channel, targeting Russian-speaking audience in the post-Soviet space with focus on the Caucasus region, first on the web and then to go out on satellite and cable.
“We want to provide you with facts rather than assessment. We also plan to talk about what remain beyond the screen on other Russian-language TV stations,” the new TV channel, which will have four news bulletins per day, announced on its website.
President Saakashvili, who was interviewed by the First Caucasian, said he was “glad that a powerful Russian-language TV channel has been launched in Georgia.”
“It is important for Georgia, for the Georgian audience, because we should not lose the Russian language; this is very important layer of civilization, very important layer of culture,” he said. ...
2 Jan. '10 Russischer Geheimdienst FSB sagt, dass Militante in Dagestan aus einigen ausländischen Ländern - auch aus Georgien - Gelder erhielten
Militants operating in Russia’s Dagestan are receiving funding from number of foreign countries including from Georgia, Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) unit in the North Caucasus republic said.
Russian news agency, RIA Novosti, reported on January 1, that FSB found “a cashbook” of four militants, killed by the federal forces in Khasavyurt on December 31, which included information about funding and expanses of the militant group, as well as information about “channels of money transfers” from Georgia, United Arab Emirates, Turkey and Azerbaijan.
1 Jan. '10 Präsident Saakashvili hält Neujahrsansprache
Georgians should continue building the country with one hand and hold a weapon in another to protect it, President Saakashvili said in his New Year address to the nation.
“If we want free children of Georgia to be born on our soil – like it was for thousands of years – we should be ready for holding a hoe in one hand and a weapon in another,” he said in the televised address on New Year’s Eve.
“In one hand we should be holding hoe, computer, book and other tools, which are require for building of 21st and 22nd century, modern country… But, on the other hand, in order to protect the country’s future and to protect what we are building, we should always be ready for struggle and for protection of the country,” he added.
In the 5-minute long address, Saakashvili also spoke of Georgia’s “enemy” in an obvious reference to Russia.
“These days we had a chance to again see on TV screens our enemy’s mad and at the same time very confused face. He can not understand why it was not possible to kneel down Georgia despite of so many tricks and provocations. He fails to understand that although it is possible to kneel down a separate Georgian, but it is impossible to ever kneel down the entire Georgian society,” he said.
On December 29, Russia’s PM, Vladimir Putin, said that Moscow’s decision to recreate World War II memorial, which was demolished by the Georgian authorities in Kutaisi, would be “another punch on the nose” of the Georgian leadership.
“A secret, a recipe of our survival is very simple – our strength is in our unity,” Saakashvili continued, “in the unity of all ethnic groups and all the citizens of Georgian, regardless of their origins and religious beliefs.”
He said Georgia faced “huge challenges” in 2009, involving consequence of the global economic crisis, months of political instability and occupation of Abkhazia and South Ossetia by Russia.
“All these should have had a fatal impact for the country, but Georgia survived, Georgia continues developing and for that I want to thank each of you,” Saakashvili said.