Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Saakashvili asks his opponents to unite behind the country

Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili has addressed the opposition in his annual report to Parliament. He called upon both the parliamentary and extra-parliamentary opposition to cooperate and consolidate their forces for the sake of Georgia.
Mikheil Saakashvili asked his opponents to take into consideration external threats and the current situation in the country when making specific decisions. Saakashvili said he was prepared to answer all questions on issues which might make his opponents wary of cooperating with him.
“In many countries it might have been said that less democracy, less transparency and greater control by a small group of people were needed in times of war,” Saakashvili said. “Georgia however, a beacon of democracy in this region, says that its response to Russia’s aggression will be more democracy, more freedom and more progress.”
The President said that the authorities had recently undertaken a number of “important steps” to help increase the role and powers of the opposition in Parliament. “I welcome the fact that we have managed to find a common language with the opposition on such key issues as Georgia’s unity,” Saakashvili said.

Two people arrested at airports

Georgian coastal patrol officers have arrested a passenger at Tbilisi Airport and another at Batumi Airport. According to the coastal patrol Press Service the two passengers, who had booked flights from Tbilisi to Minsk and Batumi to Istanbul, were trying to cross the border and leave the country with false passports. Preliminary investigations are under way.

Mikheil Saakashvili – Georgia still seeing difficult days

“Georgia is still seeing difficult days,” Mikheil Saakashvili stated while delivering a speech to Parliament. “I received the President’s mandate to create better conditions for the population. I have a concrete aim – to create a Georgia without poverty,” Saakashvili said.
The President maintained that he had been intending to give a speech on this topic, but “instead I’m in front of you as the leader of a country that has been attacked by an aggressive force. Russia was determined to totally destroy Georgia.” Saakashvili said that the strategic position of Russia was that Georgia should not have the right to make independent choices.

Over 40 foreign journalists arrive in Poti

Over 40 foreign journalists arrived in Poti on September 17. The Deputy Governor of Samegrelo-Zemo Svaneti, Aleksandre Akhvlediani, presented them with details of what had happened in the region during the Russian occupation.
The foreign journalists inspected the container terminal of Poti which was bombed on August 8. One mentioned that he is making a film about the Russian aggression and footage of today’s visit would form the main part of the film. According to the Deputy Chief of the Port, Gocha Lemonjava, losses exceeding GEL 2 million were incurred as a result of the Russian action.
The foreign journalists subsequently visited Ganmukhuri, where they saw the burnt-out Patriot Camp.

Concert in French capital to express solidarity with Georgia

A charity concert which will express solidarity with Georgia is to be held at the Church of the Madeleine in Paris. Nino Machaidze and Iano Tamar Alibegashvili, prominent opera singers from La Scala Milan, Georgian pianist Eliso Bolkvadze, guitarist Emanuel Rosfelder, Georgian cellist Giorgi Kharadze, Niaz Diasamidze and the ensembles Kartuli Khmebi and Shin will perform at the concert, held with the support of the Georgian Embassy in France.
Tickets will cost 10, 20 and 50 Euros, with the money raised being used to assist people who have incurred losses due to the Russian intervention.

NATO Ambassadors visit Tbilisi NATO centre

The delegation of NATO Ambassadors who are attending its Council meeting in Georgia visited the NATO Information Centre in Tbilisi on September 16. Its volunteers and Georgia’s Deputy Minister of Defence Batu Kutelia were on hand to greet them.
The Ambassadors answered questions about how their intended to resolve the current crisis in Georgia. They confirmed that Georgia would eventually become a member of the alliance.

Russian stock exchange suspends trading

Trading was suspended on the Russian stock market yesterday after another steep slide in early trading. It was the second day running that trading had been halted.
With Russian traders still reeling from what was the sharpest one day percentage drop since the country's 1998 financial crisis, the MICEX stock index began the day by climbing before heading south again. Another key index, the RTS, took the same path. For the second day running, banking and energy stocks have suffered heavy losses. While the RTS exchange has reopened to limited trading, a MICEX official has stated that he does not know when its floor will see further activity.