Georgia increases punishment for illegal surveillance
The government in Georgia wants to increase the punishment for engaging in illegal surveillance to seven years in jail.
Presenting the draft bill on Thursday, Interior Minister Alexandre Chikaidze said that in past years, human rights were violated and private lives were recorded. This kind of crime may be punished with three years in jail under current law.
Chikaidze explained that with the new bill, if a person obtains video, photo or audio footage of private life and presents it to law enforcement bodies he won’t be punished. 14.02.14 More
US to fund Georgia’s participation in NATO Rapid Reaction Force
The United States will finance Georgia’s participation in NATO Rapid Reaction Force, Defense Minister Irakli Alasania says.
The NATO Military Committee visited Georgia on February 11 and 12. The delegation was chaired by Committee head Knud Bartels.
During the visit, the delegation met with the president, the prime minister and the defense minister of Georgia. The Committee also held a session to discuss Georgia’s security and defense transformation, participation in NATO operations and future cooperation.
After the meeting, there was a joint press conference with Defense Minister Alasania, head of the Joint Staff of Georgia’s armed forces, Vakhtang Kapanadze, and NATO’s Knud Bartels. 13.02.14 More
NATO Military Committee visits Georgia
NATO Military Committee, made up of senior military officers from NATO member states, started a two-day visit to Georgia on February 11.
NATO Military Committee, which is the primary source of military advice to the Alliance’s civilian decision-making bodies, will hold a session in Tbilisi on February 12 with the participation of chief of general staff of the Georgian armed forces, Major General Vakhtang Kapanadze.
During the visit, chairman of NATO Military Committee, General Knud Bartels will hold bilateral meetings with President Giorgi Margvelashvili, PM Irakli Garibashvili, and Defense Minister Irakli Alasania. More
Georgian PM meets NATO Secretary General
Georgia has “moved much closer” to NATO, but there is “still work to be done”, NATO Secretary General, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, said after meeting Georgian PM Irakli Garibashvili in Brussels on February 5.
“Today we see a more mature democracy in your country after free and fair presidential elections last year,” he told the Georgian PM.
Rasmussen said that detailed agenda of the NATO summit, scheduled in Wales in early September, is not yet decided. 05.02.14 More
Georgian PM visited Israel
Prime Minister Irakli Gharibashvili has visited Israel to meet with his colleague Benjamin Netanyahu and President Shimon Peres.
The meeting with Peres was about the good bilateral relations between the two countries and confirmed an intention to deepenrelations. They underlined the friendship between Georgian and Jewish people which was established during thousands of years.
The visit lasted for two days. The Georgian delegation also included the foreign affairs minister, economy minister and agriculture minister. 31.01.14 More
The NATO Military Committe to visit Georgia Feb 11-12
Foreign Minister Maya Panjikidze said at Tuesday’s briefing that the visit is important, because it means that the military cooperation with NATO is on a new level. “Reforms implemented in the military body is positively reflected in NATO reports and all this gives us hope that 2014 will bring new success to Georgia in regard to NATO,” she said. The foreign minister and other government officials said Georgia has ‘adequate’ expectations to the upcoming NATO summit, meaning that Georgia expects a Membership Action Plan, or MAP. 22.01.14 More
Georgia to restrict privatization of strategic assets
The list was abolished a few years ago by the National Movement government and defined assets like railways, dams and pipelines, that have special importance for the country’s security and should not be privatized.
But the National Movement government argued that private owners would take better care of the assets and did away with the prohibition. The opposition criticized this decision, as did parts of society, a resistance which was unexpected for the government.
Prime Minister Irakli Gharibashvili on Monday said during a session of the government’s economic council that it is a state interest to define the list of strategic objects. 21.01.14 More
Georgian president makes official visit to Turkey
Georgian President Giorgi Margvelashvili made an official visit to Turkey on Jan. 20, the president's press service said.
Margvelashvili will meet with Turkish President Abdullah Gul, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Turkish Grand National Assembly Chairman, Cemil Cicek.
During the visit, the Georgian president will visit the mausoleum of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk and lay a wreath. Ankara will hold a joint press conference of the two countries' presidents. Margvelashvili will also meet with the Georgian diaspora in Turkey. 20.01.14 More
Georgia denies claim Russian fighter jets flew over its territory
The government in Georgia rejects reports that Russian military jets recently violated Georgian airspace. A few days ago, local media reported that five Russian SU-27s and one IL-76 crossed Georgia on January 10 and landed near the Armenian capital Yerevan.
Georgia’s Defense Ministry issued a short statement saying that it can not confirm the overflight. Russian military jets have never flown over Georgia since the war in 2008, but there have been cases when Russian transport planes have violated Georgia’s airspace.
The reports carried in the media claim that the Russian planes were on their way to Bahrain through Yerevan in order to participate in an air show, and after the show will return to a military airfield close to Moscow, allegedly returning again through Georgian airspace on January 20. 16.01.2014 More
Georgia’s association agreement with EU to be signed no later than September 2014
Georgian State Minister for Integration into European and Euro-Atlantic structures Alexi Petriashvili congratulated the public for the progress made in the way towards the European Union (EU) and NATO and stressed that the Association Agreement with the EU will be signed no later than September 2014.
The initialling of the agreement in Vilnius is the beginning of the historical process which will bring Georgia to fulfilment of a cherished dream, accession to the EU, Petriashvili said at a press conference on Dec.20. 20.12.13 More
Temporary crisis management team to be created in Georgia
A temporary crisis management team will be created in Georgia to ensure the timely and rapid response to emerging challenges facing the country, Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili said at an emergency meeting.
A state security and crisis management council and a single crisis management center will be created in Georgia, according to the prime minister. The U.S., British and Israeli partners will assist in their creation.
Georgia approves 2014 state budget
Parliament approved on December 11 state budget for next year, setting revenues at almost GEL 7.32 billion and expenditures at GEL 7.22 billion. Targeted tax revenues have been set at 6.82 billion; the figure is GEL 100 million less than targeted this year. In 2013 income from tax revenues is falling short of the target.
Government forecasts 5% economic growth next year. The government has revised downward 2013 growth forecast from initial 6% to 2.5%; according to the state statistics office real GDP grew 1.9% year-on-year in the first ten months of this year.
UNM lawmakers, who have strongly criticized the document, were not present during the discussion of the 2014 state budget as they staged a walkout in protest against a scuffle
that erupted in the chamber on December 11. 12.12.13 More
Georgia, Israel to define priorities on military cooperation
Defense Minister, Irakli Alasania, met his Israeli counterpart Moshe Ya'alon during his two-day visit to Israel, the Georgian Defense Ministry said on Monday.
“We discussed our future cooperation in the military sphere and we have agreed to elaborate a joint plan within a month on how we should develop priority areas of our relationship, involving our possible cooperation in defense capabilities and military industry. We have also invited the Israeli Defense Minister to visit Georgia,” Alasania said. 09.12.13 More
GUAM to meet in Tbilisi on Monday
Representatives from the GUAM countries will meet in Tbilisi on Monday. The occasion is the sixth session of the Parliamentary Assembly of GUAM, a cooperation between Georgia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan and Moldova.
Zurab Abashidze, chairman of the parliamentary assembly, will open tomorrow’s session. Other speakers will be Georgia’s Speaker of Parliament, Vice speaker of Moldova Parliament, Vice Speaker of Ukrainian Parliament, Vice Spokesman of Azerbaijan’s National Assembly, Vice Speaker of Moldova’s Parliament, as well as Georgia’s Foreign Affairs Minister, who is Secretary General of GUAM. 02.12.13 More
Georgia to sign Association Agreement with EU on Friday
Georgia will initialize its Association Agreement with the EU on November 29 as leaders of the EU and countries in the Eastern Partnership meet in Vilnius.
Davit Zalkaliani, Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister, will initialize the agreement by signing each of the one thousand pages, and according to the foreign minister a shorter version of the agreement will be published and translated.
According to the official website of the Eastern Partnership, EU will also sign a framework agreement with Georgia on participation in EU crisis management operations. 27.11.13 More
Georgia to take part in EU crisis management operations
EU’s Foreign Affairs Council has agreed to sign and conclude an agreement establishing a framework for the participation of Georgia in EU’s crisis management operations.
According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia document called Framework Agreement on the Participation of Georgia in EU Crisis Management Operations is to be signed on November 28, in the margins of the Eastern Partnership Vilnius Summit. The Agreement will allow Georgia to participate in EU-led civilian missions and military operations and contribute to the EU’s efforts in the crisis management worldwide. 21.11.13 More
Attaches in Georgia examine the country’s defence industry
Attaches of those diplomatic missions accredited in Georgia, visited the Delta research centre on Nov.19. Delta's Director Ucha Dzodzuashvili briefed the diplomats on the activities at the centre.
According to the Georgian Defence Ministry, the visit is another event within the annual plan of the country's Military Attaches' Association.
Georgian National Security Council Secretary resigns
Secretary of the Georgian National Security Council Giga Bokeria has resigned. The Georgian presidential administration said today that Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili received a letter of resignation on November 15.
According to the report, Bokeria's four deputies will resign after the inauguration of newly elected Georgian President Giorgi Margvelashvili on November 17. 15.11.13 More
Georgia’s leaders to meet aboard U.S. Navy ship
Five days before the inauguration of Giorgi Margvelashvili as new president, he and other members of the current government will join outgoing president Mikheil Saakashvili for an event aboard a U.S. naval ship docked in Batumi.
Also outgoing Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili and his successor Irakli Gharibashvili will attend the event, which is to take place on the USS Mount Whitney, which arrived in Batumi on Monday and will stay for two days. 12.11.13 More
Georgia’s chief prosecutor resigns
Georgia’s Chief Prosecutor Archil Kbilashvili resigned on Thursday. His replacement, Otar Partskhaladze, was presented Friday.
It has not been officially confirmed, but unofficially known that Partskhaladze will leave his job as chairman of the Investigation Service at the Finance Ministry and be appointed as new chief prosecutor. Interior Minister Irakli Gharibashvili said Partskhaladze will be a ‘good and effective’ chief prosecutor. He told journalists that he will have an effective team of young and experienced prosecutors. 08.11.13 More
Ship sinks in Aegean Sea – five Georgians rescued
A ship with Georgian crew Saturday went down in the Aegean Sea. Five of the crew members were rescued, but the captain is missing and a search is underway.
According to Maritime Bulletin, the small freighter Stella had a crew of six when it sank for unknown reasons. When it issued a distress signal on Saturday, it was 19 nautical miles west of the Greek island Karpathos. Greek coast guard yesterday said that five persons have been rescued, all of them Georgians. The captain,also a Georgian citizen, is missing but rescue crew are searching for him. 05.11.13 More
Georgia elected member of ECOSOC
Georgia has been accepted as member of the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC).
According to the Foreign Affairs Ministry, the country is elected as member for a period from 2014 to 2016. The election for new ECOSOC members was held in New York on October 30, 2013, within the frames of the 68th session of the UN General Assembly. 04.11.13 More
Georgia PM ally Giorgi Margvelashvili wins presidency
An ally of the Georgian prime minister has won the presidential election outright, according to partial results from the electoral commission.With votes at 12% of polling stations counted, Giorgi Margvelashvili has won 64%. His closest rival, David Bakradze, trails with 21%. Mr Bakradze has admitted defeat and congratulated Mr Margvelashvili.The election marks an end to a decade in power for pro-Western President Mikheil Saakashvili. He has served the maximum two terms, and told voters to "respect the opinion of the majority". 28.10.13 More
Two blocks to participate in Georgian parliamentary elections
The Central Election Commission of Georgia registered to participate in parliamentary elections two electoral blocks. As reported Trend in the CEC of Georgia, the deadline for submission of election blocks expired on Sunday.
The first election block is "Bidzina Ivanishvili - Georgia Dream", which includes six parties: "Georgia's dream - Democratic Georgia", the Conservative Party, "Industry will Save Georgia", the Republican Party, "Our Georgia - Free Democrats" and "National Forum". 21.08.12 More
France refuses to extradite former Georgian defense minister
France has refused to extradite former Defense Minister Davit Kezerashvili to Georgia.
Kezerashvili is charged with acquiring a large amount of money and for receiving a bribe while he was minister. He is also implicated in the Imedi TV case, in which he is charged with illegal appropriation of a television station and money laundering.
In the latter case, Kezerashvili is charged together with former Mayor of Tbilisi Gigi Ugulava. 28.02.14 More
Georgian government updating legislation ahead of local election
In a week the government in Georgia will decide whether to follow recommendations and proposals made by the non-parliamentary opposition and non-governmental organizations about amendments to the Election Code.
Speaker of Parliament Davit Usupashvili on Sunday met with opposition parties that are not represented in parliament to discuss the changes. The meeting took place at the Ministry of Justice.
Usupashvili said after the meeting that the opposition is more satisfied now than before. He said their main recommendations were about air time on TV during the election campaign, which under Georgian legislation is restricted to certain parties which didn’t get enough votes. They also had suggestions regarding party financing regulation. Usupashvili said parliament will try to take the remarks into account and a final decision will be made in about a week. 10.02.14 More
Georgian MoD unveils Command and Control vehicle
Georgian Ministry of Defense unveiled on January 28 what it calls a domestically manufactured command, control and communications vehicle.
MoD said that the command and control vehicle was manufactured and developed in its research center Delta, based on four-wheeled light armored vehicle Didgori, which was first unveiled in 2011.
Rustavi 2 TV reported that the vehicle is equipped with communications system produced by Harris Corp., U.S. defense communications and information technology company. MoD declined to either confirm or deny it. 29.01.14 More
Ivanishvili starts non-governmental organization
Ex-Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili has founded a non-governmental organization called Citizen.
Details are scarce, but it is known that Ivanishvili himself will head the new organization and that its goal will be to strengthen civil society in the country.
The former PM is to hold a press conference on January 28 to present the initiative. 24.01.14 More
US Congress approves USD 62 million aid to Georgia
Georgia’s Foreign Affairs Ministry says the extent of U.S. aid was decided in the Consolidated Appropriations Act for fiscal year of 2014, which was passed by the House of Representatives and allocates financial resources to the Eastern Partnership countries, including Georgia.
The allocated funds for Georgia will be directed at ensuring progress in fulfilling the Association Agreement with the European Union (including a Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area Agreement) and the visa liberalization action plan with the EU.
Georgia went through the first round in the process of approving the Association Agreement with the EU, in technical terms called ‘initialing’, during the recent summit in Vilnius and expects a signing to take place by September, 2014. 20.01.14 More
Georgia, Armenia agree on high-level exchange visit
Yerevan hosted the 29th meeting of foreign ministers of the Organisation of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC). Deputy Foreign Minister David Jalagania headed a Georgian delegation at the ministerial meeting, the Georgian Foreign Ministry told Trend on Friday.
The delegation included the Georgian ambassador to Armenia, Tengiz Sharmanashvili, head of the multilateral and regional economic cooperation office of the International Economic Relations Department Giorgi Meskheli and adviser to the office, Akaki Lomidze.
The sides discussed issues of regional economic cooperation, future plans and prospects for joint project implementation, according to the information. Armenia's six-month presidency in the BSEC ended at this event. Bulgaria will now preside over the organisation until June 2014. 13.12.13 More
Georgia, Norway sign military cooperation plan for 2014
Head of International Relations and Euro-Atlantic Integration Department of Georgia's Defense Ministry David Nardaya and Norwegian military attaché, Colonel Roy Grottheim discussed the issues of bilateral cooperation for 2014 during their meeting on Dec.10.
At the end of the meeting the parties signed a plan for bilateral cooperation between the Defense Ministries of Georgia and Norway for 2014. The Norwegian military attaché was also received by Chief of the General Staff of the Georgian Armed Forces, Major General Vakhtang Kapanadze on Dec.10. Kapanadze congratulated Roy Grottheim on his appointment to the post and wished him success. 11.12.13 More
Inquest into Georgia’s cooperation with Chechen rebels progressing
The Public Defender in Georgia says an independent inquest into a border skirmish in 2012 has revealed many interesting details.
But ombudsman Ucha Nanuashvili refrained from saying specifically what has been revealed and says this will be published when the inquest ends in two months. The shooting on the border between Georgia and Russia in August 2012 took 14 lives and threatened to damage Georgia’s democratic credentials.
Police initiated an operation following the kidnapping of five young men from the Pankisi Valley and the Ministry of Interior claimed that the government fought against rebels from North Caucasus.
After the change of government in October 2012, the new Public Defender claimed there were grounds to suspect that the previous government was involved in training Chechen rebels. He also claimed that there were at least nine surviving rebels, and eight of them were sent out of Georgia. 04.12.13 More
Georgia, Moldova endorse EU Association Agreements
Georgia and Moldova have initialed their respective Association Agreements with the European Union ahead of the start of an EU Eastern Partnership summit in Vilnius.
The process leaves one page to be ceremonially initialed during the second day of summit proceedings in the Lithuanian capital before more work that allows actual signings months or years down the road.
None of the other four so-called Eastern Partnership countries -- Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, and Ukraine -- is expected to initial deals in Vilnius. 29.11.13 More
Georgia’s new leader confirms new PM
Newly sworn-in Georgian President Giorgi Margvelashvili has confirmed the appointment of Interior Minister Irakli Garibashvili as the country's new prime minister, RFE/RL reported.
Margvelashvili signed the corresponding decree on November 18, after the ruling Georgian Dream coalition nominated Garibashvili to the post. Garibashvili, in his turn, proposed the members of his cabinet, who remain the same as in the previous government except for a new interior minister, Aleksandr Chikaidze. 20.11.13 More
Georgia, Israel sign visa-free agreement
Georgia’s acting interior minister and PM-designate, Irakli Garibashvili, and Israeli deputy interior minister, Faina Kirschenbaum, signed on November 18 in Tbilisi a visa-free agreement, the Georgian Interior Ministry said.
The agreement, which is now subject to ratification by legislative bodies of the two countries before it goes into force, will allow Georgian citizens to stay in Israel without a visa for a maximum of 90 days in a six-month period, according to the Georgian Interior Ministry. Like with many other countries, Georgia now has unilateral visa free rules for Israeli citizens. 18.11.13 More
U.S. 6th Fleet flagship visits Batumi
The U.S. 6th Fleet flagship, USS Mount Whitney, arrived in Georgia’s Black Sea port of Batumi on November 11 “for a regularly scheduled port visit that will include combined training exercises with the Georgian Coast Guard,” according to the U.S. embassy in Tbilisi.
According to the Georgian authorities, joint trainings planned for November 12 will include fire-fighting, command and control, information sharing exercises. USS Mount Whitney will stay in Batumi till November 13. 11.11.13 More
Georgian parliament to return to Tbilisi
Georgia’s parliament speaker, David Usupashvili, has called upon lawmakers to avoid demonstrating extra activeness in future debates over returning the chief law-making body to Tbilisi.A parliamentary hearing over constitutional amendments envisaging the legislative return to the capital from the city of Kutaisi is set to take place later today, Georgia Online reported. But the residents of Georgia’s second largest city are said to be discontent with the move. They have taken to the streets for protest, with slogans reading, “Don’t Seize the Parliament from us”. 01.11.13 More
Israel recognizes Georgia’s ‘neutral’ passports
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 South Ossetia, proposed by Georgia.
The stated goal is to give people an opportunity to use social services and to travel abroad. Most of the inhabitants in the two regions today have Russian passports and locally issued passports which are not recognized internationally. 24.08.12 More
Tbilisi Aircraft Manufacturing plans UK investment
Georgian state-owned Tbilisi Aircraft Manufacturing (TbilAviaMsheni or TAM) has teamed up with Ukrainian flight simulator producer, Market-Mats, to invest in the Hereford enterprise zone in the west of England, according to the UK government.
The U.S.-based business development consultancy Get It Group LLC, working with TAM, and Market-Mats have signed an exclusivity agreement to locate their advanced manufacturing campuses in the Hereford Enterprise Zone, the UK Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) said last week. 20.08.12 More
Georgia and Israel signed new air service agreement
The agreement will gradually integrate the respective markets, strengthen cooperation and offer new opportunities for industry, including airlines, and consumers.
A new air service agreement was signed on August 6 between Georgia and Israel in Tbilisi. The agreement was signed by Vera Kobalia the Minister of Economy and Sustainable development of Georgia and Israel Katz Israel Minister of Transport & Road Safety. 16.08.12 More