Sunday, September 14, 2008

Parliament begins to discuss 2008 Budget alterations

Parties represented in Parliament and various committees started to discuss alterations to the 2008 Budget on September 14.
Under the proposed Budget alterations the Defense Ministry budget will increase by GEL 150 million, the Ministry of Internal Affairs budget by GEL 100 million and GEL 107 has been set aside for addressing issues concerning the accommodation of refugees. An extra GEL 12 million has been allocated for farming, GEL 12 million for wine factories and GEL 9 million as subsidies for farmers. The Education Ministry will receive an extra GEL 14 million.
The Budget alterations were presented to Parliament on September 12. The first stage of discussions must end by September 19 prior to the summing up of the Financial-Budget Committee session. At this stage the new spending projects will be discussed by the factions Georgian Regions – Majorities, and Strong Georgia – Christian Democrats.

Nino Burjanadze speaks on whether Georgia could have avoided the conflict

Nino Burjanadze, the Chair of the Foundation for Democratic Development, held a press conference on September 12 at which she stated that a lot of people have been asking whether Georgia could have avoided the recent war. The ex-Parliament Speaker remarked that it is not appropriate to criticize those who ask this question, as it needs to be asked in order for the issue to be analyzed and evaluated.
Nino Burjanadze stated that strengthening democracy is the only way out of the present crisis, as any other solution would create further problems for the country. The role of democracy and a free media is very important. Society must be informed of the latest developments so that people can analyze situations for themselves.

Vladimir Putin waiting for incoming US Administration to improve relations with Russia

Russian Federation Prime Minister Vladimir Putin is waiting for a new US Administration to improve relations with Russia. “I’m waiting for the improvement of relations. They strained our relations, so let them improve them”, Putin has stated in an interview with French paper Figaro.
The Russian Prime Minister noted that one US politician has stated that when Lincoln was President the US preferred to have good relations with Russia rather than all other European states, because Russia wanted the US to prosper. Putin says that whenever global-scale political conflagrations begin, Russia and the US are together. “This indicates that our common interests are more important than some disagreements, as we saw during the First and Second World Wars. We never forget this in Russia. We want our American partners to remember this too,” Putin stressed.

Sergey Lavrov uses bad language in conversation with British counterpart

The Russian Federation Foreign Minister has reportedly spoken in scurrilous language during a phone call to the British Foreign Minister. The Daily Telegraph has reported that the transcript of the Lavrov-Miliband phone conversation clearly shows that the Russian was swearing. “One Whitehall insider said: ‘It was not what you would call diplomatic language. It was rather shocking.” British newspapers have published articles highlighting the swear words used during the call, all of which emanated from the Russian Minister.
The United Kingdom Foreign Ministry has not officially released details of the conversation and states that it will not comment on the conversation.

Georgian President visited Kvemo Kartli Region

Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili visited the Georgian Steel, Slag and Scrap Metal Processing Factory on September 13, where he spoke to the workers, asking them about their working conditions and salaries. The President also dined in the canteen.
The Georgian Steel, Slag and Scrap Metal Processing Factory is an up to date facility which has installed modern equipment. It employs about 145 people at present, with another 105 to be employed in the next 2 to 3 months. “We are developing a number of similar factories as a response to the Russian aggression, and the Georgian economy will develop further,” the President stated, thanking Joseph Kay, who has invested 6 million Euros in the factory. President Saakashvili has also visited the family of Beroshvili in Rustavi. 18 refugees from Shida Kartli live in that town, to whom the President gave TV sets as presents. Mikheil Saakashvili had previously visited Tetri Tskharo.

Public Defender - Nikozi emptied of population, mainly due to Russian aggression

According to a report released by the Georgian Public Defender, the Nikozy village area has been denuded of much of its population. The report analyses the situation in 13 communities and 31 villages. According to the report, there were 2,278 households in Mejvriskhevi villages before the war, but according to September 8 data, only 65 percent of these remain. 78 percent of the 499 households in Akhalubani are still resident, 60% of the 1,254 households of Tkvivavi, 25% of the 839 households of Ditsi, 25 % of the 1,367 households of Tirdznisi, 15% of the 800 households of Nikozi, 55% of the 480 previously in Dvani, 90% of the 1,267 households of Dirbi, 85% of the 491 households of Ptsa and 55% of the 180 households of Abisi. There were up to 540 households in Avlevi village before the war, but now an average of only 38% of that prewar population remains in those villages, according to the September 8 data.

Energy Minister to address Parliament on September 14

On September 14 Energy Minister will inform Parliament of the arrangements for the provision of electro energy and natural gas this coming winter. Aleksandre Khetaguri will be speaking at a session of the Economic and Economic Policy Committee.
Deputies are seeking information on the energy supply danger Russia might pose and how well the country can be protected in winter under various scenarios. Giorgi Targamadze, minority leader in Parliament, suggested inviting the Energy Minister to the session during a Parliamentary Bureau meeting on September 8.