In brief, News

Russia and Georgia discussed visa rules

by | March 2, 2013
zurab abashidze -

TBILISI, DFWatch--One of the main topics of conversation when Georgia and Russia met in Prague yesterday was whether Russia will simplify visa rules for Georgian citizens. (Article has been updated with comments from Russia's foreign ministry.) The two countries

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Saakashvili reaffirms Georgia’s close ties with neighbor Azerbaijan

by | March 1, 2013
sandra roelofs - mikheil saakashvili - ilham aliyev - mehriban aliyeva - 2013-02-28

TBILISI, DFWatch--President Mikheil Saakashvili says no matter who is in government, the country will continue the same foreign policy course, also in relations with neighboring Azerbaijan. The Georgian leader visited Azerbaijan for two days and held meetings with his

In brief, News

Georgia and Russia meet today in Prague

by | March 1, 2013
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TBILISI, DFWatch--Representatives of Georgia and Russia meet in Prague today to discuss trade, cultural and transport issues. The countries still have no formal relations after fighting a war in 2008. Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili a few months ago appointed Zurab

In brief, News

Saakashvili visits Azerbaijan

by | February 27, 2013
mikheil saakashvili - in london 2011

TBILISI, DFWatch--President Mikheil Saakashvili today starts a two day visit to Azerbaijan. The visit will take place on February 27-28 and includes a personal meeting with Azerbaijani president Ilham Aliyev, according to the Georgian president's press office.

In brief, News

EU and Georgia agree on visa action plan

by | February 26, 2013
cecilia malmstrom - maya panjikidze - 2013-02-25

TBILISI, DFWatch--EU has agreed with Georgia about a visa action plan that may one day allow Georgians to enter Europe without a visa. But first, the country must pass through a set of requirements in data safety, border management, migration, public order, security

In brief, News

Ugulava free without bail

by | February 25, 2013
gigi ugulava  ii - 2013-02-23

TBILISI, DFWatch--Tbilisi City Court did not listen to a plea from the Prosecutor's Office to suspend Tbilisi Mayor Gigi Uglava from his position. Neither did it set bail conditions. Monday, the court reviewed the charges against Ugulava, a member of President

In brief, News

Georgia and Russia to meet in Prague for direct talks

by | February 25, 2013
zurab abashidze

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia and Russia will meet for a second round of direct talks in Prague on March 1. The two countries have still not established formal relations following a brief war in 2008. Georgia's envoy, Zurab Abashidze, told journalists Monday that they will

In brief, News

Ex-minister involved in an unexpected killing released on bail

by | February 24, 2013
lado Vardzelashvili detained

TBILISI, DFWatch -A former sports minister detained for being involved in a fatal gun accident that killed his friend was Saturday released on GEL 3,000 (USD 1,800) bail by Tbilisi court, along with two other men charged for the same incident. Lado Vardzelashvili, former sports

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Lawmakers in Georgia discuss using national dress

by | February 23, 2013
zviad dzidziguri - bidzina gujabidze

TBILISI, DFWatch--Lawmakers in Georgia Friday discussed a proposal to allow members of the assembly to wear the national dress Chokha while in parliament. The bill is the initiative of Bidzina Gujabidze from the Conservative Party, who argues that the physical

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Akhalaia expected in court today

by | February 20, 2013
bacho-axalaia-300x251

TBILISI, DFWatch--Tbilisi City Court today holds pretrial hearing in the case against Saakashvili loyalist Bacho Akhalaia and other former government officials. The hearing has been rescheduled several times on request by the Chief Prosecutor. Wednesday's hearings

In brief, News

Cecilia Malmström to visit Georgia

by | February 19, 2013
news_26510

Tbilisi, DFWatch - Commissioner Cecilia Malmström will visit Georgia and bring action plan for visa liberalization issues on February 24. Maia Panjikidze, Foreign Affair Minister on Tuesday met with the National Movement members in parliament

In brief, News

Georgia gets new business ombudsman

by | February 19, 2013
giorgi gakharia - appointed as business ombudsman 2013-02-19

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Georgian prime minister Bidzina Ivanishvili Tuesday appointed a new business ombudsman. He said this will make it easier for them to make the government aware of problems they may have. The announcement took place at a meeting with business

In brief, News

Foreign experts to study high profile cases

by | February 18, 2013
bidzina ivanishvili 2013-02-17

TBILISI, DFWatch--A group of foreign experts is to monitor ongoing high profile criminal cases in Georgia. Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili, who took the initiative, told journalists that President Mikheil Saakashvili has agreed to establishing the group. Another

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UNDP chief visits Georgia

by | February 17, 2013
Helen Clark

TBILISI, DFWatch--UNDP chief Helen Clark is expected in Georgia February 17 for a three-day visit. According to the UNDP, the organization's administrator will hold meetings with government officials and representatives of local and international organizations. She

In brief, News

Ivanishvili visiting Turkey

by | February 14, 2013
bidzina-ivanishvili-2012-11-22-press-conf-300x251

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Georgian head of government Bidzina Ivanishvili is on a one-day visit to Turkey accompanied by some of his ministers. According to the prime minister's press office, the delegation plans to hold meetings with Turkey's president, prime minister

In brief, News

Court to consider forcing mayor to come for questioning

by | February 14, 2013
gigi-ugulava

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Georgian Interior Ministry appeals to Tbilisi City Court asking for it to issue a court order requiring the Tbilisi mayor to appear for questioning. Mayor Ugulava has been asked repeatedly to come to the police and talk about the violence outside

In brief, News

Panetta briefed Alasania about Afghanistan plans

by | February 13, 2013
leon panetta

TBILISI, DFWatch--The US Secretary of Defense Tuesday called Georgia’s Defense Minister and introduced him to the US action plan for Afghanistan. The main topic of conversation between Leon Panetta and Irakli Alasania was what kind of new functions the Georgian

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Minibus drivers in Batumi are on strike

by | February 12, 2013
yellow minibuses

TBILISI, DFWatch--A correspondent for Interpressnews in the Black Sea port reports that 350 drivers have been on strike from Tuesday morning, demanding an increase in their salary. Drivers say their hourly pay is USD 2.20 and want to increase it to USD 2.50, otherwise

In brief, News

Georgia and Turkey plan defense cooperation

by | February 12, 2013
irakli-alasania

TBILISI, DFWatch--The prime minister and defense minister of Georgia will go to Turkey this week to discuss relations between the two neighboring countries. Defense Minister Irakli Alasania said on Monday that he and Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili will go to Turkey

In brief, News

Informal Eastern Partnership talks in Georgia

by | February 12, 2013
Maya Panjikidze

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia will host the session of the informal dialogue within the Eastern Partnership February 12 and 13. Georgia's Foreign Affairs Minister Maia Panjikidze and Economy Minister Giorgi Kbirikashvili will host the event, according to the press office

In brief, News

Saakashvili to negotiate with government today

by | February 11, 2013
saakashvili-palace

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Georgian president will meet with the speaker of parliament in the evening today to discuss topics which lie at the base of a protracted dispute between the two main political blocs. Member of parliament Giorgi Gabashvili from the minority

In brief, News

Two people fined for Friday’s violence

by | February 11, 2013
Irakli Gharibashvili - National Library - 2013-02-08 IPN

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia’s Prosecutor’s Office asks Tbilisi City Court to impose pre-trial measures against Gela Mamaladze, the man who is accused of beating opposition members outside the National Library on Friday.

In brief, News

Georgia and South Korea sign visa treaty

by | February 8, 2013
Nikoloz Apkhazava - Anh Ho-young

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia and South Korea have signed their first inter-governmental treaty about visa free travel for citizens holding diplomatic, official and service passports. The agreement on the waiving of visa requirements for holders of diplomatic, official

In brief, News

Saakashvili to address the nation today

by | February 8, 2013
mikheil_saakashvili_state_of_the_nation7_2012-155x129

Tbilisi, DF Watch - The President of Georgia will address the nation at 18:00 today from the National Library. The diplomatic corps, church leaders, journalists and students are invited to attend the event. After his speech, the president will answer questions.

In brief, News

Saakashvili to hold state of the nation address from library

by | February 8, 2013
mikheil_saakashvili_state_of_the_nation3_2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- Georgian president Mikheil Saakashvili will address the nation from the National Library instead of from parliament. Saakashvili should have held his annual address on Friday, but the event was postponed by the ruling Georgian Dream coalition.

In brief, News

President’s annual address postponed

by | February 7, 2013
davit usupashvili

TBILISI, DFWatch -- The president’s annual speech to parliament is postponed indefinitely. This is a decision made by the ruling coalition. Speaker of Parliament Davit Usupashvili today said consultations had been held and a decision was made to not hold

In brief, News

Georgia to set up three new investment funds

by | February 6, 2013
bidzina ivanishvili v 2013-02-05

TBILISI, DFWatch -- Three new funds will be established in Georgia, which will be sovereign fund of Georgia, a private investment fund and a youth fund. Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili at a press conference Tuesday briefly outlined the three new funds, saying that

In brief, News

Saakashvili in Germany for Marshall Fund conference

by | February 5, 2013
mikheil saakashvili - jet

TBILISI, DFWatch -- Georgian president Mikheil Saakashvili and Mayor of Tbilisi Gigi Ugulava have left for Germany to participate in a conference organized by the German Marshall Fund. According to the president's press office, there is planned an event called

In brief, News

Saakashvili to address parliament February 8

by | February 3, 2013
mikheil_saakashvili_state_of_the_nation3_2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- President Mikheil Saakashvili's annual address to parliament will take place on February 8, 2013. “As a result of consultations, a decision was made that the president's annual speech, defined by the constitution, will take place at 14:00 Friday

In brief, News

Moscow denies talks with Georgia about CIS return

by | February 1, 2013
kremlin

TBILISI, DFWatch -- Moscow denies rumors about ongoing negotiations with Georgia to bring the country back as member of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). The rumors were reported a few days ago in Russian media. Alexander Lukashevich, spokesperson for

In brief, News

Ex minister risks 15 years for making fake cognac

by | February 1, 2013
davit kezerashvili

TBILISI, DFWatch -- Another official from Mikheil Saakashvili’s government was Wednesday charged with abuse of powers and bribery. The Finance Ministry’s investigative service accuses former Defense Minister Davit Kezerashvili of assisting a criminals gang with

In brief, News

Agreement about foreign policy course

by | January 31, 2013
davit usupashvili

TBILISI, DFWatch -- The governing Georgian Dream coalition is ready to cooperate with the opposition about the foreign policy. Speaker of Parliament Davit Usupashvili said this on Wednesday after Saakashvili’s party accused the prime minister and his party

In brief, News

Wants guarantees for Georgia’s western course

by | January 30, 2013
giorgi baramidze

TBILISI, DFWatch -- President Mikheil Saakashvili's National Movement party wants to tie Georgia to the mast in terms of the course of its foreign policy. Spokesperson Giorgi Baramidze Wednesday presented a draft bill that will write into legislation what the

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BA cancels flights to Georgia

by | January 30, 2013
British Airways

TBILISI, DFWatch -- British Airways will temporarily cancel its flights to Georgia from April 1, 2013, spokesperson Irakli Gordeli told journalists on Monday. The airline started flights to Georgia in 2012. Gordeli said they made this decision in the beginning

In brief, News

Flights to Tbilisi canceled due to fog

by | January 28, 2013
tbilisi airport

TBILISI, DFWatch -- Tbilisi international airport on Monday had to cancel or divert several incoming international and local flights due to heavy fog. One flight from Moscow (04:00 pm) was delayed, while a flight from Ekaterinburg (10:20 pm) is canceled, as well as a

In brief, News

Three Georgian soldiers wounded in Afghanistan

by | January 25, 2013
afghanistan shooting incident Jan 24, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch -- Three Georgian soldiers have been wounded in Afghanistan when insurgents opened fire as they were out on patrol. Corporal Erekle Kharshiladze and Junior Sergeant Iaho Kakulia received minor injuries. According to the Georgian Defense Ministry,

In brief, News

Georgia and Russia to meet at PACE spring session

by | January 25, 2013
Tedo Japaridze

TBILISI, DFWatch -- Representatives of Georgia and Russia will meet at the spring session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe. Tedo Japaridze, head of parliament's Foreign Affairs Committee, told journalists about the planned meeting on Thursday

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Medvedev and Ivanishvili’s 2-minute chat

by | January 25, 2013
Maya Panjikidze

TBILISI, DFWatch -- Georgia’s Foreign Affairs Minister Maia Panjikidze on Thursday confirmed that the prime ministers of Russia and Georgia met unofficially in Davos. Panjikidze told journalists in Davos that Bidzina Ivanishvili and Dmitry Medvedev on Wednesday met

In brief, News

Ivanishvili and Medvedev meet at Davos

by | January 24, 2013
bidzina ivanishvili in davos 2013-01-24

TBILISI, DFWatch -- The Georgian and Russian Prime Ministers met for the first time in Davos Thursday and had a several minutes long conversation. This is the first time heads of government of the two countries have met since diplomatic relations between Georgia and Russia

In brief, News

Georgian patriarch met Putin

by | January 24, 2013
Ilia II

TBILISI, DFWatch -- Georgian Patriarch Illia II on Wednesday met with Russian President Vladimir Putin and passed on greetings from Georgia’s Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili. Vladimir Putin hosted Illia II and Kirill I of Russia at suburban residence in Novo

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Canada and Georgia sign defense agreement

by | January 24, 2013
Christopher R. Kilford - Davit Nardaia - 2013-01-23

TBILISI, DFWatch -- Georgia and Canada Wednesday signed a memorandum of understanding about defense policy. The agreement was signed by Colonel Christopher R. Kilford and Davit Nardaia, Chairman of Georgia’s International Affairs and EU Integration Department at

In brief, News

Saakashvili era foreign policy deputy resigns

by | January 22, 2013
Nikoloz Vashakidze

TBILISI, DFWatch -- Georgia's Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister Nikoloz Vashakidze resigned on Tuesday, citing incompatibility with the current foreign policy of the country. Vashakidze is one of the officials who have stayed over from the previous government. He

In brief, News

Georgian patriarch Ilia II visiting Moscow

by | January 21, 2013
ilia ii moscow 2013-01-20

TBILISI, DFWatch -- Georgia’s Patriarch Illia II on Sunday left for Russia to receive an award. His visit will also include a meeting with the Russian president Vladimir Putin. “I want to ask you that I leave for Moscow and we will have a conversation on very

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Political prisoners were blessed by the patriarch

by | January 19, 2013
politpatimrebis dalocva

TBILISI, DFWatch -- Political prisoners, who were released last Sunday when the new amnesty law came into force, visited the Georgian Patriarch, who blessed them. The prisoners came to Trinity Cathedral in Tbilisi to attend the prayer for the Orthodox holiday of Epiphany,

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Saakashvili loses security force

by | January 19, 2013
special_police

TBILISI,DFWatch -- The Special State Protection Service of Georgia is now under the control of the government, and not the president. Parliament passed the law by 88 votes against 1 on Thursday. Earlier, the president had a right to appoint the chair of the Special

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Tbilisi vice mayor released on bail

by | January 18, 2013
shota khizanishvili

TBILISI, DFWatch -- A former Interior Ministry top was Thursday released on bail. Shota Khizanishvili, who after the National Movement's election loss became Deputy Mayor of Tbilisi, was included in a mass amnesty which applies to more than 18 500 prisoners. The

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Rikoti tunnel closed for repair work

by | January 17, 2013
Rikoti tunnel - Photo Ministry of Regional Development and Infrasctructure

TBILISI, DFWatch -- The Rikoti tunnel, which connects the western and eastern parts Georgia, will be closed from January 18 to January 30, from 20:00 in the evening until 08:00 in the morning, because of work to repair the electric system.

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Ex intelligence official detained for abuse of powers

by | January 16, 2013
handcuffed

TBILISI, DFWatch -- Police in Georgia have detained a regional director of the feared domestic intelligence service, the Constitutional Security Department (CSD). Temur Pataridze, who headed the CSD (in Georgian abbreviated to KUD, or 'Kudi') in the Autonomous

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UK has new temporary ambassador to Georgia

by | January 16, 2013
David Moran

TBILISI, DFWatch -- Ambassador David Moran on January 14 began work as the temporary trustee of the UK to Georgia, the UK embassy in Tbilisi informs. On his arrival, Moran said he was pleased to be in Georgia and to start working and living in this beautiful country.

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21 Georgians detained in France for bank card theft

by | January 15, 2013
france arrested

TBILISI, DFWatch -- French gendarmes have detained 21 Georgians suspected of cooperation with Russian mafia. According to reports in French media, they are accused of stealing hundreds of bank cards and attempting to break into accounts and steal money. The operation

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Orthodox church leaders leaving Georgia

by | January 14, 2013
bidzina-ivanishvili-patriarch-ilia-ii-2013-01-13

TBILISI, DFWatch -- Clerics from different Orthodox countries will leave today, Monday. The guests arrived five days ago in order to congratulate Georgian Patriarch Ilia II with his 80th birthday and 35th year since his inauguration. Patriarch Bartholomew I of

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Saakashvili wants a doubling of pensions for veterans

by | January 12, 2013
mikheil saakashvili - -

TBILISI, DFWatch -- President Mikheil Saakashvili has presented a new initiative to double pensions for veterans and allocate permanent pensions for families of soldiers and policemen who have died in the line of duty. The president's administration has prepared a

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Three Russian climbers dead in avalanche

by | January 10, 2013
Elbrus

TBILISI, DFWatch -- Four Russian climbers have been taken by an avalanche in the Kazbegi mountains in northern Georgia. One has been brought to safety alive, the other three are presumed dead. Rescue workers have been unable to find their bodies because of thick fog. The four

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Jubilee brings congregation of world church leaders to Tbilisi

by | January 8, 2013
ilia_ii_and_bidzina_ivanishvili_2011-11-15_03

TBILISI, DFWatch -- A large number of clerics from different Orthodox countries will start gathering in Tbilisi tomorrow to mark the 80-year jubilee of the Georgian Patriarch Illia II. Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople is among the guests arriving in Georgia

In brief, News

Heavy snow fall in Georgia

by | January 7, 2013
White Christmas. (Interpressnews.)

TBILISI, DFWatch -- There are restrictions on road traffic in northern Georgia due to heavy snow fall. There is danger of landslide on the road between Kobi and Gudauri, a resort in Kazbegi the mountains, and along the road Mtskheta-Stepandtsminda-Larsi, due to a snow

In brief, News

Two Alilo processions in Tbilisi

by | January 7, 2013
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Tbilisi, DF Watch - Georgia marks Christmas on January 7 by Julian calendar by two major picturesque processions in Tbilisi and many other towns of Georgia. Alilo, a Christmas chant, is organized almost in each district and regions of the country.

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Ilia II to receive religious award

by | January 4, 2013
ilia_ii

TBILISI, DFWatch -- Georgian Patriarch Ilia II will visit Russia in the end of January to receive a special award. He is to receive the Russian Church’s International Foundation for the Unity of Orthodox Christian Nations, which is granted annually as a recognition

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Georgia becomes chair of GUAM

by | January 3, 2013
maya_panjikidze

TBILISI, DFWatch -- From January 1, 2013, Georgia holds the chairmanship of GUAM, an international organization between Georgia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan and Moldova. After assuming leadership Tuesday, Georgia presented a program to other member states. Georgia’s

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Crime is under control, says government

by | December 31, 2012
mia_shark

TBILISI, DFWatch -- The crime situation in Georgia stabilized in December, as the number of criminal incidents has been significantly reduced, according to the Ministry of Internal Affairs. During a visit to a family who had been attacked by robbers, President Mikheil

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Another Stalin statue goes up in Georgia

by | December 31, 2012
stalin monument - Akura

TBILISI, DFWatch -- A statue of Josef Stalin which had been torn down has been put up again in a village in eastern Georgia. Locals in Akura restored the monument of the Soviet dictator two years after it was taken down. Villagers rehabilitated the monument to

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Saakashvili presents downsized amnesty bill

by | December 28, 2012
Mikheil_Saakashvili_blue_suit

TBILISI, DFWatch -- Georgian president Mikheil Saakashvili has vetoed the coming into force of a law on amnesty, and sent his own version of the law to parliament. Speaker of Parliament Davit Usupashvili on Friday said the legislative body has received the president's

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Ivanishvili and Aliyev discussed energy export

by | December 26, 2012
ilham aliyev - ilham aliyev 2012-12-26

TBILISI, DFWatch -- Georgian Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili Tuesday met the President of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev, during an official visit to Baku. The two held a closed meeting which took place at Aliyev’s Zagulba palace. Also present were Georgia's Foreign

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Earthquake hits Georgia again

by | December 26, 2012
earthquake kobuleti

TBILISI, DFWatch -- An earthquake hit Georgia Wednesday morning; the second one in three days. Two strong quakes were felt early morning December 26, at 02:44 and 03:00 am. According to the seismic monitoring center, the strength of the earthquakes were 5.5 and

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Georgian sailors returning home

by | December 25, 2012
panama sailors maria del carmen 2

TBILISI, DFWatch -- The twelve Georgian sailors who have been adrift on a ship abandoned by its owner off the coast of Panama are returning home. The sailors aboard the Maria del Carmen 2, sailing under a Nigerian flag, were rescued by staff at the Georgian embassy

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Georgia sends rescue team to Afghanistan

by | December 25, 2012
Georgian_ISAF_soldiers_Afghanistan

TBILISI, DFWatch -- A military search team left for Afghanistan on Monday in order to search for a Georgian soldier who has been missing for almost a week. The team is headed by the deputy chief of the Joint Staff. ISAF isalready  conducting a search and rescue

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Georgia’s Interior Ministry auctions off luxury cars

by | December 24, 2012
black cars - interior ministry

TBILISI, DFWatch -- Georgia’s Interior Ministry has decided to put its luxurious cars up for auction. The new leadership at the ministry has prepared around 50 cars for sale, and models range from Range Rover, Range Rover Sport and Range Rover Vogue, to BMW

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Phone outage after earthquake in Georgia

by | December 23, 2012
seismogram

TBILISI, DFWatch -- There was an earthquake in Georgia on Sunday, causing minor damage in parts of the country. According to the national seismic monitoring center, the earthquake struck at 17:31 local time and had a magnitude of 5.7. The epicenter was 46 km

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Saakashvili addresses party, delegates return to parliament

by | December 23, 2012
mikheil saakashvili - 2012-12-23 i

TBILISI, DFWatch -- The National Movement party of President Mikheil Saakashvili will return to parliament on Monday. This became clear at a party conference Sunday. The president addressed his party's activists and tried to fire them up as they are

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Georgia gives 3 500 prisoners amnesty

by | December 22, 2012
prison_tower

TBILISI, DFWatch -- The parliament in Georgia has finally passed an amnesty law which will mean that 3500 prisoners will be released. The goal of the bill is to soften the crime policy. It aims to achieve this by releasing some prisoners and halving the sentence for others.

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Kitsmarishvili fined for damaging Maestro’s equipment

by | December 22, 2012
erosi_kitsmarishvili_220x185

TBILISI, DFWatch -- A court has fined the former manager of Maestro TV, Erosi Kitsmarishvili, with USD 845 204 for damaging equipment belonging to the TV company one year ago. November 30, 2011 Erosi Kitsmarishvili and a group of strangers scaled the walls of

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ICC to investigate 2008 Georgia-Russia war

by | December 20, 2012
2008_war_soldier

TBILISI, DFWatch -- The International Criminal Court (ICC) is considering launching an investigation into the war between Georgia and Russia in August 2008. The Justice Ministry of Georgia on Wednesday released a statement which says that in accordance with Georgia's international

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Ivanishvili looks forward to meeting Putin

by | December 19, 2012
bidzina ivanishvili 2012-11-22 - press conf 4

TBILISI, DFWatch -- Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili hopes to meet with the Russian leaders Vladimir Putin and Dmitry Medvedev in the future. Recently Georgia's special representative for Russian relations met the deputy foreign minister of Russia in Geneva.

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Okruashvili is on hunger strike

by | December 18, 2012
irakli okruashvili 2012-12-10

TBILISI, DFWatch -- A former defense minister who is in prison awaiting trial has gone on hunger strike. Irakli Okruashvili, who is charged with abuse of powers and extortion, says he is doing it to express solidarity with ten other prisoners who didn’t make

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Friends of Buta Robakidze will not be prosecuted

by | December 17, 2012
city court in tbilisi

TBILISI, DFWatch -- Tbilisi City Court has ruled out that there will be criminal charges brought against the friends of Buta Robakidze, who was killed by police in 2004. November 24, 2004 Giorgi Kurdadze, Kakhaber Azariashvili and Akaki Bartaia, all friends of

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Stranded Georgian sailors plan lawsuit in Panama

by | December 17, 2012
sailors - pan

TBILISI, DFWatch -- The Georgian sailors who are stranded off the coast of Panama plan a lawsuit at the marine court in that country. The twelve Georgian sailors on a ship sailing under Nigerian flag plan to file the suit on Monday if their demands aren’t met. “The temperature is

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Traffic restrictions after first snowfall

by | December 16, 2012
snow

TBILISI, DFWatch -- The season's first snowfall has led to restrictions on traffic several places in Georgia. The snow is causing problems in the Kakheti region, in east Georgia. Local media also report that ice is making it difficult for people to move around

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Georgia and Russia’s first step towards mending relations

by | December 15, 2012
zurab abashidze -

TBILISI, DFWatch -- Georgia and Russia representatives on Friday agreed to continue the dialogue. Zurab Abashidze, the Prime Minister’s special representative for Russian relations, and Gregory Karasin, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister, on Friday met in Geneva.

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US supports Georgia having direct talks with Russia

by | December 13, 2012
thomas o melia 2012-12-12

TBILISI, DFWatch -- The US supports Georgia's decision to start direct talks with Russia, Thomas O. Melia, US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State, said Thursday. Melia, whose full title is U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor,

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Georgia and Russia plan rare meeting Friday

by | December 13, 2012
Grigory Karasin

TBILISI, DFWatch -- The two countries fought a brief war in August 2008. Tomorrow they will meet face to face for the first time. The meeting will take place on neutral ground in Geneva, Switzerland, on the sidelines of periodic talks between the sides in that war.

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U.S. monitoring how Ivanishvili and Saakashvili cooperate

by | December 13, 2012
tomas melia 2012-12-12

TBILISI, DFWatch -- The U.S. is closely monitoring the transition of power from President Saakashvili's National Movement to Prime Minister Ivanishvili's Georgian Dream coalition. Also subject to scrutiny is how well the two political blocs are working together,

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MP investigated for beating of businessman

by | December 12, 2012
police

TBILISI, DFWatch -- A member of parliament from Saakashvili's National Movement party is being called in for questioning regarding the beating of a businessman. According to the prosecutor's office, Paata Lezhava on September 23, 2012 beat businessman

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U.S. officials visit Georgia

by | December 12, 2012
state_dep

TBILISI, DFWatch -- Two U.S. government officials arrived in Georgia Wednesday as part of a tour of the Caucasus. Thomas Melia from the State Department and Catherine Newcombe from the Department of Justice, will meet with Georgian government officials, media and

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Georgia to chair GUAM in 2013

by | December 10, 2012
maya_panjikidze

TBILISI, DFWatch -- Georgia will have the chairmanship of GUAM in 2013. Foreign Affairs Minister Maia Panjikidze said at Monday's regular briefing that Georgia was officially appointed in Dublin a few days ago, at a session of the GUAM foreign minister council.

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Saakashvili criticizes government’s handling of NATO

by | December 7, 2012
mikheil_saakashvili

TBILISI, DFWatch -- Georgian president Mikheil Saakashvili says the meeting of the NATO-Georgia commission on Wednesday was not a step forward for the country. Saakashvili made the comment during a working visit to Poland. “Unfortunately, we didn't see

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Rasmussen says NATO will not interfere in detention cases

by | December 6, 2012
anders_fogh_rasmussen_in_Georgia_September_2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- NATO will not interfere in the legal process in Georgia in regard to the recent detentions of former government officials, the alliance's Secretary General says. After summing up a meeting of the NATO-Georgia commission in Brussels, Anders

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Georgian patriarch hosts Israeli ambassador

by | December 6, 2012
patriarch Ilia II - Yuval Fuchs - 2012-12-05

TBILISI, DFWatch -- Georgian Patriarch Ilia II hosted Israeli Ambassador Yuval Fuchs and his wife at the Patriarch's residence in Mtskheta, close to the capital. Fuchs thanked Illia II for his merits in deepening relations between the two states in regards to

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Rasmussen comments on Georgia

by | December 5, 2012
anders fogh rasmussen 2012-11-14

TBILISI, DFWatch -- Bucharest decision that Georgia will become a member of NATO stands if Georgia fulfills necessary criteria, NATO Secretary General states. Anders Fogh Rasmussen was speaking at a press conference after a meeting of the NATO-Russia

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Court detains Data Akhalaia in absentia

by | December 4, 2012
data akhalaia

TBILISI, DFWatch -- A former Interior Ministry official has been sentenced to pre-trial detention in absentia. Data Akhalaia, former chair of the feared Constitutional Security Department of the Interior Ministry, is charged, together with Soso Topuridze and Geronti

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Weapons cache discovered in Tbilisi

by | December 4, 2012
weapons cache 2012-12-03

TBILISI, DFWatch -- Military Police in Georgia have seized about a hundred weapons of different types at an apartment in Tbilisi. Vako Avaliani, Advisor to the Defense Minister, on Monday said the weapons were not registered. The ministry learned about the location

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Seven die in road accident

by | December 4, 2012
road accident Imereti traffic 2012-12-03

TBILISI, DFWatch -- Seven persons died Monday evening in a car accident in Western Georgia, according to the Interior Ministry. In a statement the ministry writes that the accident took place at about 20:00 in the village Tseva, in the Imereti region. A truck

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NATO foreign ministers meeting in Brussels

by | December 3, 2012
nato_flag

TBILISI, DFWatch -- NATO's Foreign ministers are meeting in Brussels December 4 and 5. Anders Fogh Rasmussen, NATO Secretary General, will chair the meeting. Maia Panjikidze, Georgia's Foreign Affairs Minister arrived in Brussels Monday evening

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Justice Minister in doubt about charges against ex-official

by | December 3, 2012
mia_shark

TBILISI, DFWatch -- The court released a former interior ministry official on bail until the trial, in the most controversial case among the recent detentions. Tengiz Gunava on Sunday was sentenced to pay USD 6 000 bail. First he was detained for illegal possession

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New round of Georgia-EU free trade talks

by | November 27, 2012
mfa

TBILISI, DFWatch -- EU-Georgia today opened the fourth round of negotiations of the proposed Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement (DCFTA) in Brussels. In parallel, the twelfth session of negotiations of Georgia’s Association Agreement with the EU was also

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Rubin visiting Georgia for defense and security talks

by | November 27, 2012
eric rubin

TBILISI, DFWatch -- Eric Rubin, U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State in EU and Eurasian Affairs, is visiting Georgia. Rubin will have meetings during November 27-29. The US Embassy in Georgia informed DF Watch that Eric Rubin will meet representatives of

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Ashton visiting Georgia

by | November 26, 2012
Catherine-Ashton

TBILISI, DFWatch -- Catherine Ashton, EU's High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, visits Georgia. Her one day visit includes meetings with President Mikheil Saakashvili, Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanisvhili and Foreign Affairs

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Three Georgians released by Tskhinvali authorities

by | November 25, 2012
forest

TBILISI, DFWatch -- Three Georgian citizens have been released from prison in occupied Tskhinvali region. The three were arrested for crossing the de facto border at the village Kirbali, near the town Gori. Georgia’s Interior Ministry informs that Gia and Akaki

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Friend of Tbilisi Mayor released on bail

by | November 23, 2012
Giorgi Kelbakiani 2

TBILISI, DFWatch -- A friend of the Tbilisi Mayor suspected of money laundering was today released on a USD 90 000 bail for 30 days. Giorgi Kelbakiani, Georgia Director of the construction company NCC, and Archil Chigogava, Financial Director of the same company

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Estonia recognizes Georgia-issued neutral passports

by | November 22, 2012
sukhumi

TBILISI, DFWatch -- Estonia has recognized so-called neutral passports as travel documents. The Reintegration Minister's office November 12 received a note from the Foreign Affairs Ministry of Estonia which said that the country approves the documents as valid

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Georgia ready to extend Afghanistan mission

by | November 21, 2012
maya_panjikidze

TBILISI, DFWatch -- Georgia will continue its participation in the NATO-led ISAF operation in Afghanistan also after 2014. Foreign Affairs Minister Maia Panjikidze said this while briefing David Lidington, the UK's Minister of State for Europe, about the Georgian

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Lidington visits Georgia

by | November 21, 2012
David Lidington

TBILISI, DFWatch -- David Lidington, the UK's Minister of State for Europe, will visit Georgia on November 21 and 22. Wednesday, he will meet with President Mikheil Saakashvili, Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili, Maia Panjikidze, Foreign Affairs Minister, Giga

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NATO-Georgia Commission meeting in Brussels Tuesday

by | November 20, 2012
nato_flag

TBILISI, DFWatch -- Alexi Petriashvili, State Minister for Euro-Atlantic Integration, November 19 left for Brussels to attend the session. Defense Minister Irakli Alasania is also on a working visit to Brussels, both participating in the NGC session on the level

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Georgian sailors abandoned by ship’s owner

by | November 19, 2012
maya_panjikidze

TBILISI, DFWatch -- Twelve Georgian sailors have asked for help from Panama as they are five km away from the nearest port and running out of food and electricity. The sailors are aboard the Maria Del Carmen sailing under Nigerian flag and have been out for

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Germany to help Georgia mend relations to Russia

by | November 18, 2012
guido_westerwelle

TBILISI, DFWatch -- Germany wants to play a positive role in the process of restoring relations between Georgia and Russia, says Georgia’s Foreign Affairs Minister after meeting with her German colleague in Germany. According to the foreign ministry, Foreign

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U.S. envoy discussed Georgia’s new approach to Russia

by | November 17, 2012
philip gordon . .

TBILISI, DFWatch -- Georgia’s defense and foreign ministers on Saturday met the U.S. Philip Gordon, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State. Gordon, whose full title is U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, visited Georgia for a second day

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Gordon calls on Saakashvili and Ivanishivli to cooperate

by | November 17, 2012
Philip Gordon -

TBILISI, DFWatch -- The U.S. diplomat Philip Gordon Friday met government and other officials in Georgia. Gordon, whose full title is U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, met with Davit Usupashvili, Speaker of Parliament; Davit Bakradze

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NATO visit postponed to next year

by | November 15, 2012
irakli alasania

TBILISI, DFWatch -- The delayed visit by NATO's Military Committee will take place in the first half of 2013. “The parties have decided that high military officials of the Alliance will visit Georgia in the first half of 2013,” the defense ministry informs, explaining

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Gordon to visit Georgia Friday

by | November 15, 2012
philip gordon

TBILISI, DFWatch -- U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, Philip Gordon, is visiting Georgia Friday. Gordon will meet with government officials. According to the U.S. embassy in Georgia, he will once again underline that the U.S. is

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Fogh Rasmussen’s Facebook page flooded with criticism

by | November 15, 2012
anders fogh rasmussen 2012-11-14

TBILISI, DFWatch -- Anders Fogh Rasmussen's Facebook page has seen an influx of traffic the last week from Georgian users responding to the NATO Secretary General's recent statement about expressing concern over the detention of military and political officials in

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Workers protest continues at Telasi

by | November 14, 2012
telasi protest

TBILISI, DFWatch -- The crisis at an energy company continued Wednesday as three employees went on hunger strike. The strike at Telasi, which supplies the capital with electricity, started weeks ago, after the election results became known. Current and former

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NATO criticizes new Georgian government

by | November 13, 2012
nato_flag

TBILISI, DFWatch -- NATO's Parliamentary Assembly criticizes the new government for putting pressure on the public broadcaster and local government and asks it to refrain from politically motivated arrests. The resolution was passed Monday in Prague at the 58. annual

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Ex-minister accused of torture

by | November 13, 2012
bacho akhalaia 2012-11-07

TBILISI, DFWatch -- A jailed former minister was Monday handed additional charges under a section of the law which deals with torture. The torture charge against Bacho Akhalaia -- a close personal ally of President Saakashvili and former prison minister,

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Fogh Rasmussen concerned about detentions in Georgia

by | November 12, 2012
anders_fogh_rasmussen_in_Georgia_September_2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen expresses concern about the detention of political and military officials in Georgia. ‘I'm extremely concerned about the development we have, not least related to recent arrests of political

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Officers accused of abusing staff suspended

by | November 12, 2012
giorgi kalandadze

TBILISI, DFWatch -- Two military officers who were detained together with a former interior minister for abuse of powers, were on Sunday suspended. Giorgi Kalandadze a month ago was appointed to the post of head of the general headquarters. November 7 he was detained

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Poti strike over

by | November 11, 2012
poti

TBILISI, DFWatch -- The strike among port workers in Poti has ended, as workers were promised a 20 percent pay rise. A local correspondent for Interpressnews reports that what solved the crisis was when Economy Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili and Irakli Petriashvili,

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Ivanishvili visits Brussels November 12

by | November 9, 2012
bidzina ivanishvili - press conference 2012-10-02

TBILISI, DFWatch -- Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili's first visit abroad after assuming office will be to Brussels on November 12 to 14. After Friday’s government session, Foreign Affairs Minister Maia Panjikidze said Ivanishvili will be meeting with

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Georgia’s ambassador to the U.S. resigns

by | November 9, 2012
temur iakobashvili

TBILISI, DFWatch -- Georgia's ambassador to the U.S. resigned on Thursday. A new ambassador should be presented by the new government, he says. Temur Iakobashvili, Georgia's Ambassador to the U.S., posted a note about his decision on Facebook, where he writes that

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New Georgian PM plans NATO strategy

by | November 9, 2012
bidzina ivanishvili

TBILISI, DFWatch -- Georgia's NATO integration coordinating commission held its 39. session at the government office on Thursday. Chair of the commission is Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili, who chaired the session for the first time. The commission discussed NATO

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Hillary Clinton talks to Saakashvili and Georgia’s FM

by | November 5, 2012
hillary clinton

TBILISI, DFWatch -- Hillary Cliton has had a phone conversation with President and Foreign Affairs Minister of Georgia. The press office of Mikheil Saakashvili informs that main topic of his conversation with the U.S. Secretary of State on Saturday was Georgia’s progress on

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Telecom investor offers more details about eavesdropping

by | November 2, 2012
mamia sanadiradze

TBILISI, DFWatch -- The former owner of a telecommunication company accuses other companies of illegal eavesdropping. Mamia Sanadiradze, founder and former owner of Caucasus Online, said a few days ago that his company was subject to pressure. He said that the

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Ivanishvili unveils deputy ministers

by | November 1, 2012
bidzina ivanishvili - press conference 2012-10-02

TBILISI, DFWatch -- New candidates have been unveiled for deputy ministers in the new government. Despite an offer from Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili to previous deputy ministers that they may remain in their positions, only a few of them have stayed. Those

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EU continues negotiations with Georgia

by | October 23, 2012
Thornike Gordadze

TBILISI, DFWatch -- Negotiations are continuing Tuesday between Georgia and the EU about an association agreement. This is the eleventh session, and the talks are talking place at the government office. Currently Georgia is negotiating with the EU on three separate

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Saakashvili presents Ivanishvili’s new government

by | October 23, 2012
mikheil saakashvili in parliament kutaisi

TBILISI, DFWatch -- President Mikheil Saakashvili on Monday officially presented the new government list to parliament together with a new government program entitled 'For a Strong, Democratic and United Georgia'. In accordance with procedures, there will be

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New government ready

by | October 22, 2012
manana manjgaladze

TBILISI, DFWatch -- The candidate for prime minister in Georgia has presented his list of government ministers to the president. The Georgian Dream coalition won the right to form government after its victory in the parliamentary election. President Mikheil

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Results show Georgian Dream short of two third majority

by | October 20, 2012
new_parliament_kutaisi

TBILISI, DFWatch -- Georgia's Central Election Commission (CEC) has approved the final results of the October 1 parliamentary election. According to the summary protocol, the Georgian Dream coalition received 54.97 percent, while United National Movement

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NATO envoy says Tbilisi has passed the test

by | October 18, 2012
james appathurai

TBILISI, DFWatch -- NATO envoy James Appathurai yesterday evening arrived in Georgia for a working visit to meet with former and future government members. The October 1 parliamentary was a test for Georgia, which it has passed. The government has changed through the

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Several earthquakes in Georgia and Azerbaijan

by | October 14, 2012
seismogram

TBILISI, DFWatch -- A 5.3 magnitude earthquake struck near the Georgia-Azerbaijan border at about 14:15 on Sunday. The epicenter was 10 km east of Lagodekhi, Georgia, and 10 km in depth. The seismic monitoring center of Ilia University in Georgia

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Georgian soldier dies in Afghanistan

by | October 12, 2012
Georgia's ISAF mission

TBILISI, DFWatch -- Corporal Mindia Abashidze was the eighteenth Georgian soldier to die while serving in the NATO-led ISAF operation in Afghanistan. Georgia’s defense ministry on Thursday reported that the corporal born October 27, 1989,

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EU signs 23 million euro aid package with Georgia

by | October 10, 2012
Marcus Cornaro

TBILISI, DFWatch -- Two financial agreements have been signed between Georgia and the EU. According to press office of the State Minister for EU and Euro Atlantic Integration, Minister Thornike Gordadze signed the two agreements. The agreements have a budget of 23 million

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111 organizations to observe Georgia election

by | September 29, 2012
cesko_CEC

TBILISI, DFWatch - 111 different organizations have been approved as election observers for the parliamentary election in Georgia on Monday October 1. 61 of them are from abroad, while 50 are local non-governmental organizations.

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NDI to hold election monitoring

by | September 29, 2012
NDI

TBILISI, DFWatch – The U.S. National Democratic Institute will observe Georgia’s parliamentary election on October 1. According to NDI’s Georgia office, the observer mission contains seven persons, out of which are current and former members of the US Congress,

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Students on hunger strike over detainees

by | September 24, 2012
protesters outside gldani tuesday 19.09.12

TBILISI, DFWatch - Seven students have been on hunger strike for two days, protesting against the justice minister. They demand the release of activists Davit Patsasia, Dachi Tsaguria and Beka Alodashvili, who were arrested while participating in the recent protests

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Public broadcaster’s board warns against bias

by | September 24, 2012
GPB - public broadcaster

TBILISI, DFWatch – The Public Council of Georgia’s Public Broadcaster demands from GPB to cover news about prisoner abuse properly, otherwise they will leave their posts. Members of the council expressed concern for what has been exposed about torture of prisoners

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Prisoners go on hunger strike over abuse

by | September 23, 2012
gldani prison tower

TBILISI, DFWatch – The Public Defender’s Office informs that several prisoners at facility No 15 in Mtskheta near Tbilisi have gone on hunger strike to show solidarity with victims of torture. According to the ombudsman's rapporteurs, prisoners went on hunger

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Police beat and arrested demonstrators

by | September 22, 2012
filarmonia protest 2012-09-18

TBILISI, DFWatch – Saturday, a crowd of demonstrators tried to move in on a public service building in Tbilisi as President Mikheil Saakashvili was inside attending the opening ceremony. But police blocked the road and prevented people outraged over recent revelations

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Post-war observers in Georgia to stay another year

by | September 15, 2012
EUMM_observers

TBILISI, DFWatch - EU Monitoring Mission to Georgia (EUMM) will continue its activity for one more year until September 14, 2013. The European Council on Friday extended EUMM for one more year and €20.9 million was allocated in next year's budget. Catherine Ashton,

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Russian election observers rejected by Georgia

by | September 15, 2012
cesko_CEC

TBILISI, DFWatch - Georgia's Central Election Commission has rejected applications from two Russian organizations to register as observers for the parliamentary election on October 1. September 9, the CEC decided to deny the State Duma of the Russian Federation and

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Slight modification in election arrangements

by | September 14, 2012
ballot_box-155x130

TBILISI, DFWatch - Georgia's Central Election Commission says 54 963 Georgians abroad have registered to vote at their country's embassy. The list doesn't contain citizens who live in Russia or in countries where there are less than 20 Georgians living. 42 613 out of

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Support for killed U.S. diplomats

by | September 14, 2012
US_embassy_support

TBILISI, DFWatch - NGOs gathered at the U.S. Embassy in Tbilisi to show their sympathy with the victims of the attack on American diplomats in Libya. Members of Union of Human Rights Defenders brought flowers to the Embassy of USA and drew a U.S. flag by placing

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NATO ambassadors in Georgia for election talks

by | September 14, 2012
nato_flag

TBILISI, DFWatch - NATO ambassadors are visiting Georgia, holding meetings with officials. The ambassadors have met with Public Defender Giorgi Tughushi, who said after the meeting that the guests were interested in the problems in Georgian media, including satellite

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Estonian FM Paet urges respect for election result

by | September 13, 2012
Urmas Paet

TBILISI DFWatch – The Foreign Affairs Minister of Estonia says every political party in Georgia should recognize the results of the upcoming election as an expression of the will of the people. Urmas Paet, Estonia's minister is visiting Georgia to hold meetings with

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Foreign ministers swarming to Georgia

by | September 11, 2012
mfa

TBILISI, DFWatch – The foreign affair ministers of five countries will visit Georgia September 17. Nino Kalandadze, Georgia's Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister, said on Monday that the foreign ministers of Romania, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Latvia and Lithuania will

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Georgia has a new business ombudsman

by | September 10, 2012
Maya Meredova

TBILISI, DFWatch - Prime Minister Vano Merabishvili has appointed a new business ombudsman. Maya Meredova has worked at ProCredit Bank Georgia since 2006. She was General Director of Bank of Georgia 2010-2012. Meredova was a consultant at the European Bank of

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One insurgent arrested near Russia-Georgia border

by | September 9, 2012
police_special_border_operation

TBILISI, DFWatch - The interior ministry in Georgia Saturday arrested one of the so-called saboteurs near the Dagestan section of the border with Russia. According to a short statement published on Saturday, Akhmet Chatayev, Russian citizen from the North Caucasus was

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U.S. government officials visit Georgia

by | September 8, 2012
state_dep

TBILISI, DFWatch – The United States is sending a government delegation to Georgia to assess the period before the election on October 1. The delegation will visit Georgia September 10-12 and is chaired by Deputy Assistant Secretary of State, Thomas O. Melia, from

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New U.S. Ambassador to Georgia takes over

by | September 6, 2012
Richard_B_Norland_ambassador

TBILISI, DFWatch – The new U.S. ambassador to Georgia Richard Norland Wednesday officially started his work. He arrived at Tbilisi airport with his wife, where they were greeted by Chargé d'Affaires Bridget Brink and representatives of the embassy. Norland said he

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Fogh Rasmussen visits Georgia September 6

by | September 3, 2012
mikheil_saakashvili_anders_fogh_rasmussen_chicago_2012

TBILISI, DFWatch – NATO’s Secretary General will come to Georgia on September 6 and hold official meetings for one day. Manana Manjgaladze, Spokesperson for president told DF Watch that Anders Fogh Rasmussen arrives in Georgia as part of a tour of the Caucasus.

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Georgian team in good position despite loss to Netherlands

by | August 28, 2012
basketball_georgia_netherlands_2012

TBILISI, DFWatch - Georgia’s basketball team is in a shared first place in Group D of the qualification for EuroBasket 2013 next to Bosnia-Herzegovina after losing a match against the Netherlands. After three victories in a row, it was the first defeat of Georgia’s Jvarosnebi

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Forest fire in Borjomi

by | August 27, 2012
forest_fire_borjomi

TBILISI, DFWatch - About one acre of forest burned as a result of a fire in Borjomi, a resort town in eastern Georgia. The fire started yesterday afternoon and wasn’t put out until Monday morning. What caused the fire is not yet known, but the reason might have been

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Israel recognizes Georgia’s ‘neutral’ passports

by | August 24, 2012
sukhumi

TBILISI, DFWatch - Israel has recognized Georgia's so-called neutral travel documents, according to the ministry on reintegration issues. Neutral travel document and neutral ID are a system for issuing passports and identity documents to the population of Abkhazia and

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Georgia wins qualifying match against Bosnia-Herzegovina

by | August 22, 2012
basketball_Georgia

TBILISI, DFWatch - Georgia’s national basketball team yesterday defeated Bosnia-Herzegovina in a qualification match for Eurobasket 2013. The final score was 96:95. Georgia started first round with significant advantages scoring 20 points, but the opposing team

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Forest fire in eastern Georgia

by | August 20, 2012
forest_fire_Artana

TBILISI, DFWatch - 15 acres of forest has burned down in eastern Georgia despite two days of attempts at extinguishing it. The fire occurred in the village Artana, which is 21 km from Telavi, the largest city in the Kakheti region. Beech, hornbeam and chestnut trees

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Georgian opposition has run out of cash

by | August 20, 2012
nodar_khaduri

TBILISI, DFWatch - Nodar Khaduri from the opposition Georgian Dream says the coalition doesn't have money, because the government seized the party's accounts. He calls on the population to donate to Georgian Dream, only to not give money, but posters and t-shirts with

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Georgia notes growing trade deficit

by | August 17, 2012
Cash

TBILISI, DFWatch – Georgia's trade deficit continued to increase from January to July 2012, but the country's foreign trade turnover increased by 18 percent compared to last year and amounted to USD 5 761 million. Georgia’s national statistics department GeoStat

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Opposition group opens branch office in tent

by | August 17, 2012
bidzina_gujabidze

TBILISI, DFWatch – The Georgian Dream coalition Thursday opened a tent in the Samtskhe Javakheti region, because the locals refused to let them rent an office. The coalition has had problems with rent offices before. It blames the government, saying it does not

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Foreign investments in Georgia grew 37 % in 2011

by | August 16, 2012
Cash

TBILISI, DFWatch - Georgia's National Statistics Department GeoStat says direct foreign investments grew 37 percent in 2011 compared to 2010. The total amount of direct foreign investments last year was USD 1 117 million. According to GeoStat, direct foreign

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Georgian Dream lacks permission for Rustavi rally

by | August 14, 2012
Maia_Panjikidze

TBILISI, DFWatch – The opposition party Georgian Dream continues to run into trouble about the location for its rallies around the country. This time a rally is planned for Rustavi, a town 20 km south of the capital, but city hall turned down the application to use

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Russian climbers rescued after two day search

by | August 8, 2012
kremlin

TBILISI, DFWatch – Four Russian climbers have been rescued from Svaneti, a mountain region north in Georgia adjacent to the greater Caucasus range. The four were found after a two days search, in an area cut off by a rockslide. One of the climbers had injured a leg,

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More visitors to Georgia, but are they tourists?

by | August 7, 2012
tourism

TBILISI, DFWatch – The monthly number of visitors to Georgia continues to increase. The small country noted a 54 percent growth of visitors during the first seven months of 2012, compared to the same period last year. 2 211 201 foreigners visited Georgia in this

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Iran suspends visa freedom agreement with Georgia

by | August 4, 2012
flags_iran_georgia

TBILISI, DFWatch – Iran is suspending the agreement with Georgia about visa free travel in connection with a conference of the Non-Aligned Movement. Georgian citizens who wish to travel to Iran from August 5 to September 1 will need a visa. Georgia's Foreign Affairs

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Policeman threatens cousin with gun over politics

by | August 4, 2012
mia_shark

TBILISI, DFWatch – A police employee threatened his cousin with a gun because he was a member of the opposition Georgian Dream coalition. Georgian Dream representatives told DF Watch that the incident took place in the village Orulu near the town Zugdidi in the

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Another prisoner dies in Georgia

by | August 3, 2012
rustavi_prison_guard_tower

TBILISI, DFWatch – The prison ministry on Thursday reported that a prisoner has died at No 18 hospital. According to the ministry, the prisoner was convicted on June 19, 2012, for possession and sale of drugs. The cause of death is given as heart attack, the most

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Georgia sets date for parliamentary election

by | August 1, 2012
manana_manjgaladze

TBILISI, DFWatch - Georgia will hold parliamentary elections on October 1, 2012. Manana Manjgalade, spokesperson for President Mikheil Saakashvili, said this at a briefing on Wednesday. She said the president is sure that the October elections will be yet another

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Bushfire in Vashlovani National Park

by | July 31, 2012
fire_vashlovani_national_park

TBILISI, DFWatch - A fire in Georgia has burned down more than one thousand hectares of land in the eastern Vashlovani National Park. The environment minister said the reason for the fire, which started on Monday at about 17:00, was negligence. It has now been

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Georgia loses 17th soldier in Afghanistan

by | July 29, 2012
Georgian_ISAF_soldiers_Afghanistan

TBILISI, DFWatch –Georgia has lost its 17th soldier in the ISAF mission in Afghanistan. The Georgian Defense Ministry informs that Givi Pantsulaia, born in 1984, died Saturday at Gori Military Hospital. “Corporal Givi Pantsuala received injuries

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Burjanadze supporter released after 16 hours questioning

by | July 28, 2012
mia_shark

TBILISI, DFWatch – A former public servant who joined an opposition party was released later Friday evening. The Interior Minister said that Zaza Sopromadze was not arrested, but was only called in to the Prosecutor’s Office as a witness. Police came

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Construction of new parliament halted due to strike

by | July 27, 2012
opening_ceremony_new_parliament_kutaisi

TBILISI, DFWatch - Construction workers rallied in Kutaisi today at the site of the new parliament building they have been employed with constructing, demanding to get paid. The workers refuse to work until they get their salaries, which they claim they haven't been

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GeoStat notes increasing foreign trade

by | July 27, 2012
Cash

TBILISI, DFWatch - Georgia’s National Statistics Department notes growth in the country’s foreign trade turnover in the first half of 2012. Growth is 17 percent more than the same period in 2011 and equals USD 4 866 million. Georgia is importing more than

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Budget cuts passed to free money for disaster aid

by | July 26, 2012
parliament_interior

TBILISI, DFWatch – A bill to amend the 2012 budget to free money for cleanup work and compensation after a storm July 19 has been passed by parliament in Georgia. The total size of the budget, more than 7 billion lari, has not been changed. Instead, money has

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Ruling party ex-MP vows objectivity as audit service head

by | July 26, 2012
lasha_tordia_

TBILISI, DFWatch – A former high-ranking member of parliament who was appointed new head of the audit service promises that he will be fair, independent, professional and objective. Lasha Tordia was appointed to the position after the former head, Levan Bezhashvili, left

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Georgia starts negotiations with EU about visa free travel

by | July 24, 2012
mfa

TBILISI, DFWatch – Georgia has started negotiations with the EU about liberalization of visa rules. Today, the EU Commission's Director General for Development met the Georgian deputy foreign minister in Brussels. According to Georgia's foreign ministry,

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Increasing oil import to Georgia due to tourism

by | July 23, 2012
Cash

TBILISI, DFWatch - Georgia increased its import of oil by 8.5 percent in the first half of 2012 compared to last year and is now at 378 323 764 kg. Analysts say the increasing import is related to larger numbers of tourists visiting the country. The figure was

In brief, News

Georgia sees 8 percent growth so far in ’12

by | July 18, 2012
GeoStat

TBILISI, DFWatch - Georgia’s GDP grew 1.3 percent in second quarter of 2012, compared to the first quarter and is now at 8.1 percent, according to official statistics. Georgia’s National Statistics Department points out that these are preliminary figures,

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Skadden to represent Ivanishvili

by | July 18, 2012
skadden

TBILISI, DFWatch – The international law firm Skadden is going to represent the Georgian billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili in his struggle as opposition politician. Yesterday, he met David Herlihy, head of Skadden's London office and Gregory Craig, head

In brief, News

Police to provide security at campaign events

by | July 14, 2012
kakhi_kaladze_karaleti_IPN

TBILISI, DFWatch – The Georgian government is to start providing police security during opposition campaign events. The opposition Georgian Dream was Thursday driven out of the village Karaleti by a stone-throwing crowd. 13 people were hospitalised,

In brief, News

Soldier shot in the head in Georgia

by | July 13, 2012
defense_ministry

TBILISI, DFWatch – Kahketi Information Center Friday morning reported that a 19 year old solider had died from a gunshot wound to the head. Later the same day, the Defense Ministry confirmed the death of Koba Makharashvili in a short statement, which said that

In brief, News

Georgian asylum seekers arrested for theft in Germany

by | July 12, 2012
Bundestag

TBILISI, DFWatch - German media reports that Georgians are among the suspects in a bust against shop-lifters in the city of Bielefeld in Germany. The suspects are Georgian and Ukrainian. Several people have been convicted. A man of about 29 from Ukraine stole perfume

In brief, News

Official murdered in South Ossetia

by | July 10, 2012
tskhinvali

TBILISI, DFWatch – Media in Russia and Georgia’s breakaway region South Ossetia report that the head of the investigation department at the de facto South Ossetian Prosecutor General's office has been murdered. Roland Chitayev was reported kidnapped on Monday

In brief, News

OSCE passes resolution about Georgia

by | July 10, 2012
osce

TBILISI, DFWatch – OSCE's Parliamentary Assembly Monday passed a resolution about Georgia, which uses the term ‘occupation’ about Russia's military presence in Abkhazia and South Ossetia. The resolition also calls on Russia to live up to the terms of the

In brief, News

Georgia hit by new floods

by | July 10, 2012
flood_kutaisi_july_2012

TBILISI, DFWatch – Heavy rain caused flooding in several parts of Georgia Tuesday. In Kutaisi, the second largest city, first floors and basements are under water. In Batumi, a defective drainage channel let to rivers of water in the roads. Local media in the

In brief, News

Saakashvili offers help to Russian flood victims

by | July 9, 2012
mikheil_saakashvili_state_of_the_nation2_2012

TBILISI, DFWatch - Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili has offered to send rescue teams to Russia to help the flood victims in the Krasnodar region. Manana Manjgaladze, spokesperson for Georgian President said on Sunday that the president expresses his deep

In brief, News

OSCE says Russia is occupying Georgian regions

by | July 8, 2012
osce

TBILISI, DFWatch – The OSCE Parliamentary Assembly July 9 is to adopt a resolution which for the first time calls the presence of Russian military in Georgia's breakaway regions an occupation. The resolution deals with the current situation in Georgia. The ten point

In brief, News

Two still in prison after street fight at Ivanishvili rally

by | July 7, 2012
mia_shark

TBILISI, DFWatch - Two of the four who were imprisoned following a street fight at one of opposition financier Bidzina Ivanishvili's campaign rallies have been released. The scuffle took place on June 26 in Mereti, a village near a Russian-Ossetian check point.

In brief, News

Political audits continue with more people on trial

by | July 7, 2012
tbilisi_city_court_IPN

TBILISI, DFWatch – The State Audit Service, which used to be called the Chamber of Control, has seized property and bank accounts of a company which they say belongs to opposition billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili. The audit service also determined seventeen people

In brief, News

22 year old woman dies after giving birth

by | July 7, 2012
ambulances

TBILISI, DFWatch – A 22 year old woman has died at a maternity hospital in Telavi, a town in Eastern Georgia. Khatira Ukanova delivered a baby by Caesarean section on July 2. Three days later she was let go home, but yesterday she was submitted to hospital because

In brief, News

Van Rompuy calls for fair elections in Georgia

by | July 5, 2012
Herman Van Rompuy first visited Tbilisi in Jul, 2012 (Interpressnews)

TBILISI, DFWatch –European Council President Herman Van Rompuy says the upcoming elections will be a crucial indicator of the progress Georgia has made on its path to reform. He thereby added his voice to many figures in the international community who continue

In brief, News

Three detained in killing of former Georgian general

by | July 5, 2012
roman_dumbadze

TBILISI, DFWatch – A court in Moscow has placed three persons into pre-trial detention until August 21, accused of killing a former Georgian general. Roman Dumbadze sided with the rebels during a stand-off between the region Adjara and Tbilisi authorities, a

In brief, News

Georgian Interior Ministry loses another top official

by | July 4, 2012
shota_utiashvili

TBILISI, DFWatch - Another central figure in Georgia's Interior Ministry resigns, after recent changes in the government. Shota Utiashvili, former head of the Ministry's Department for Analysis, today announced his decision to leave. He did not say who will be his

In brief, News

Germany’s CDU calls for Saakashvili to hold fair election

by | July 3, 2012
Bundestag

TBILISI, DFWatch – Germany's Christian Democrat party calls for democratic elections in Georgia in October. In a press release entitled Ensure Fair Elections in Georgia, the CDU's faction in the Bundestag calls for Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili to take

In brief, News

Georgia’s Basis Bank bought by Hualing Group

by | July 3, 2012
Basis_Bank

TBILISI, DFWatch – One of China's largest companies, Hualing Group, has bought a 90 percent share in Georgia’s Basis Bank. Xinjiang Hualing Industry & Trade (Group) Co. Ltd., Basis Bank and European Bank for Reconstruction and Development today held a joint press

In brief, News

Georgia’s new prime minister makes bold promises

by | July 3, 2012
vano_merabishvili

TBILISI, DFWatch – Georgia's new prime minister Vano Merabishvili has already started making promises, as only three months are left until the parliamentary elections. In a speech Monday in the Gldani district of Tbilisi, near a construction site of a vocational

In brief, News

Georgia to host UEFA Super Cup in 2015

by | July 2, 2012
mikheil_meskhi_stadium

TBILISI, DFWatch - Georgia will host UEFA Super Cup in August 2015. This will be the first time Georgia is host country for an UEFA event. According to the Georgian Football Federation, the decision was made in Kiev on Saturday at a session of the executive committee.

In brief, News

Saakashvili makes Merabishvili new prime minister

by | June 30, 2012
vano_merabishvili

TBILISI, DFWatch - Georgia's president Mikheil Saakashvili says he is appointing Interior Minister Vano Merabishvili as new prime minister. Saakashvili announced the decision from his presidential palace in Tbilisi shortly before 19 local time Saturday. Imedi TV broke

In brief, News

Georgia’s foreign debt has tripled in five years

by | June 30, 2012
Cash

TBILISI, DFWatch - Georgia's foreign debt has increased by USD 128.9 million since fourth quarter of 2011 and is now USD 11.4 billion. The National Bank today published data over the country's foreign debt for first quarter in 2012. USD 3.8 billion of the total amount is public sector debt, which is 33 percent of the total debt; USD 783.1 million is the National Bank's debt, USD 2.1 billion – the bank sector, USD 2.6 billion – inter-company lending and USD 2.1 billion – other sectors. “Gross foreign debt to GDP ratio for the last four quarters (from Q2 2011 to Q1 2012) amounted to 76.7 percent,” the National Bank informs. The increase for the first quarter in 2012 is caused by transactional, price, exchange rate and other changes, which led to an increase in gross foreign debt by 49.0 million USD, 16.2 million USD, 60.2 million USD and 3.5 million USD, respectively. Public sector debt has increased by 114.4 million USD. Public debt to GDP ratio for the last four quarters amounted to 25.6 percent. The National Bank's external liabilities decreased by 31.9 million ...

In brief, News

Georgia passes media diversity law

by | June 29, 2012
television_set

TBILISI, DFWatch – The Georgian parliament today passed the new law which is meant to make television more diverse ahead of each election. A campaigners have been advocating the must-carry and must-offer principles for months, and two weeks ago the

In brief, News

Appeal rejected in Ivanishvili citizenship case

by | June 29, 2012
bidzina_ivanishvili_

TBILISI, DFWatch - Tbilisi Appeals Court upheld the city court's decision in the case of opposition billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili's citizenship. This means he is still without a citizenship of his native Georgia, and he will be barred from standing for election or engaging

In brief, News

American election observers arriving in Georgia in July

by | June 28, 2012
NDI

TBILISI, The International Republican Institute (IRI) is sending a long-term observer mission to Georgia, which will arrive on July 18. Resident Country Director Andrea Keerbs says the IRI will have both long-term and short-term observers from the U.S. and Europe.

In brief, News

Saakashvili promises free trade with Europe soon

by | June 28, 2012
Mikheil_Saakashvili_blue_suit

TBILISI, DFWatch – President Saakashvili says Georgia's integration with Europe is an irreversible process, and he is sure that there will be achieved a free trade agreement in next 16-18 months, creating tens of thousands jobs. In this near future, Saakashvili said

In brief, News

Georgia’s foreign trade grew 19%

by | June 27, 2012
Cash

TBILISI, DFWatch – Georgia's foreign trade grew by 19 percent in the first five months of 2012, compared with last year. Final figures from GeoStat show that total foreign trade turnover was USD 4 059 million, out of which USD 961 million is export and USD 3 097

In brief, News

Torture still a problem in Georgia’s prisons

by | June 26, 2012
international_day_against_torture_2012-06-26

TBILISI, DFWatch – Several groups in Georgia Tuesday demonstrated against ongoing torture in the country's prisons. 140 prisoners died in prison during 2011 year, 40 percent of them had injuries on their body. The number of suspected cases of mistreatment gets longer

In brief, News

Opposition party organizes refugee protest

by | June 26, 2012
refugee_2012-05-12

TBILISI, DFWatch – A group of internal refugees in Georgia today sat down in front of parliament and began a hunger strike. Their protest is being organized by the opposition party Future for Georgia and their demand is to have their living quarters legalized.

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