President of Georgia Awarded Zaza Pachulia the Order of Honor
President of Georgia Giorgi Margvelashvili awarded Zaza Pachulia the Order of Honor for special contribution to the development of basketball and popularization of Georgia on the international arena, President’s press service reported.
The award ceremony took place at the Presidential Palace of Georgia today and the Head of President’s Administration Giorgi Abaishvili, Zaza Pachulia’s family members, representatives of the administration, Georgian national team, coaches and representatives of “Golden State” attended it.
“Zaza Pachulia is the first Georgian basketball player who has won the NBA Cup and decided to celebrate this victory in his homeland. Success is very important but the most important is to share it with the community. Zaza Pachulia does not forget his homeland. He was with us when Tbilisi was in a difficult situation after inundation. I want to thank him for such patriotic spirit”, - said the President at the award ceremony.
Zaza Pachulia thanked the President of Georgia for awarding him.
“What I have done in my life I have done with my heart and I did not expect such thing. It is a special day for me, because the president appreciates the work I have done and I am grateful for everything. I will try to keep this Order of Honor worthy”, said Pachulia.
Recall that Pachulia brought the NBA Champion Cup to his homeland yesterday and today, 20:00 pm, it will be represented at the Sports Palace.
President of Georgia delivers her annual report in parliament
“With the incomprehensible steps taken in recent years, the government is confronting the country’s foreign objective, the people’s mandate, by inviting Gavrilov, you raised doubts and questions for the first time,” said Georgian President Salome Zourabichvili when delivering her annual report in the parliament.
According to Zourabichvili, the Georgian government gradually transformed.
“Instead of strengthening state institutions, being the cornerstone of democracy, the one-party system and its influence get stronger. Laws adopted in an expedited manner (on covert recordings, abolishment of state inspector, changes in the rule for appointment of judges and foreign agents bill) serve your power’s prolongation instead of serving democracy strengthening and citizens’ welfare. The court reform, vital for the country’s future, is at a deadlock,” President said.
Salome Zourabichvili went on to say that the ruling party members speak in unison, and those having different viewpoints, tend to quit the party.
“The party influence is evident in the government and parliament. The party turned into a decision-making space. The party chairman announces his standpoint on all political issues in advance, and the decision-making process is vague, not to mention open discussions.
You are the government confronting the country’s foreign goal, the people’s mandate. By inviting Gavrilov (Russian MP) in 2019, you raised doubts and questions for the first time, though the actual transformation began in 2021 when the Georgian Dream former Chairman Bidzina Ivanishvili quit politics,” she said.
President also recalled the annulling of the document drafted with the engagement of the European Council President and rejection of the EU loan.
“You have never stopped the anti-European rhetoric, blaming and insulting our partners. All this finally came to the extent that we expelled the former EU ambassador from the country with reprimands and accusations,” Zourabichvili stated.
Georgian President visits U.S.
Georgian President Salome Zourabichvili has left for the U.S. to address the 67th session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW), slated for 6-17 March 2023.
The President will also meet with UN Secretary-General António Guterres, UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed, UN Women Executive Director Sima Sami Bahous, and UNDP Administrator Achim Steiner.
Zourabichvili will hold bilateral meetings with New York Mayor, Eric Adams, and the Presidents of the countries participating in the forum.
She will also visit Yale and Harvard Universities to deliver a public lecture at the Harvard Kennedy School.
Georgia make history, book first World Cup ticket
TBILISI (Georgia) - Toko Shengelia, Giorgi Shermadini and Thad McFadden etched their names into the annals of Georgian basketball history as they carried the country to the FIBA Basketball World Cup for the first time.
The trio combined for 60 points as Georgia lost 80-77 at home to Iceland but it was enough to lock up third place in Group L of the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023 European Qualifers - and that first appearance on the global stage.
"It was probably the most emotional game I have ever played with the national team. Words cannot describe how I feel right now," said Shengelia, who collected 20 points, 6 rebounds and 5 assists. "We are extremely proud to be in the situation and make our people happy."
Georgian coach Ilias Zouros praised Shengelia's performance in the window, which featured him scoring 25 points in a road victory over the Netherlands on Thursday and then playing for his club Virtus Segafredo Bologna on Friday before coming back for the deciding game.
"This is something that I never saw in my life. He's the biggest patriot in the world. He's giving his heart for everybody," said the coach.
McFadden, who scored 17 points with four three-pointers added: "This is the first time in my life that I am happy about a loss. But it feels amazing for everything, to be part of this. I'm so happy. You can't imagine. I may mess around and cry because I am so happy. This means so much for everybody."
Zouros has been coaching since 1986, but this moment tops everything else the Greek playcaller has done.
"This is happiest day in my basketball career. I cannot express my feelings. I am very proud of my players, of the team, everybody. We made history today. We qualified for the World Cup, we deserved to qualify," said Zouros, who has been in charge of the Georgian team since 2016. "It was the first time and I hope in the future to have many more opportunities to go to the World Cup again."
Georgia have long become a staple on the European continent, making the last five FIBA EuroBaskets and even co-hosted the tournament in 2022. But the journey to FIBA's flagship event was finally complete after an absolute thriller in the Georgian capital.
Thanks to an 88-85 victory over Iceland back in the November 2022 window, Georgia could afford a loss by three points and still go through due to their superior overall goal differential in the group.
Iceland simply had no answer for Shermadini early on as the Georgian big man scored 11 points in the first 7 minutes for a 19-12 lead. But the game was even 19-19 after 10 minutes.
Elvar Fridriksson had picked up five points in the opening frame and added nine more as the Nordic nation was down just 29-28. Iceland surged ahead 41-37 with a 9-2 spurt to reach the magical four-point lead - which the guests needed to advance. And the Iceland lead was 43-42 at intermission.
The score teetered between two points for Georgia and three for Iceland throughout the third quarter which ended with Iceland ahead 62-60.
Iceland reeled off five points in 32 seconds to reach the big number four again - 70-66 - with 5 minutes to play. The cushion was still four - 75-71 - with under two minutes remaining. Shengelia's two free throws were followed by a McFadden three-pointer to put Georgia up 76-75 with 45 seconds to play.
After Hlinason answered with a three-point play, George Tsintsadze made just one free throw with 12 seconds and Jon Axel Gudmundsson made it 80-77 with 10.8 seconds to play. Shengelia had a chance to complicate matters for Iceland but missed both free throws only to be saved when Fridriksson's three-pointer went off target, allowing Georgia to book their tickets to Asia.
Shermadini had a team-high 23 points on a perfect 9-of-9 shooting with 6 rebounds.
"Now we have to enjoy the morment after this game with a lot of emotions," Zouros said. "I hope this qualification will give a boost to the country. We need more and more basketball courts. We need more kids to love the game and make proud the people in Georgia."
Address by the President
This briefing was not scheduled. Today, anyway, I wasn't going to do anything, and when I heard that the rally was going to be held here, it was my decision and my desire to join the people with whom I shared many battles (I'm not talking here about electoral battles) in those dark days when we fought together against the criminal and unfair regime of Misha Saakashvili. I came out there for these people, not for some protesters, I don't know who, to show up in the palace, that's not the right format, and I'm sure that wasn't the intention of the people who spearheaded it.
Those people whom I respect very much because of all this and our common past, have come to the palace many times and know that my door is open, everyone has the opportunity to ask for a meeting, and I’ve shown it recently that I meet everyone, and not only those with whom these battles I have shared, and I will continue to do so.
Now I want to go back to what I wanted to say earlier and couldn't finish what I had to say, and I want to continue to say it through you, and for that, I want to thank you once again.
First, let me say: I know that this demonstration was not only organized by those people, but it was accompanied by various message boxes that have been circulating these days. This was deliberately done in order to put pressure on the President from those people, from the party whose leaders were nowhere in 2007 (I say 2007, because this is the period when everything happened and everything was clear.)
These people, who today threaten me with my career or in different ways and believe that they could threaten me, were not there then, and now they ask me about my morale and teach me how to fight against Saakashvili, who is already fallen.
I wonder where these people have been since 2007. I will tell you, one was in Misha's staff and stayed there for a long time. Another one was in "Cartu Bank", well-paid. Others were in other positions and I don't want to make it personal now, but they were nowhere so how can they ask about my morals? What can they teach me, I wonder?! The same goes for that quartet that walks around saying stuff.
It is very clear that here, there is some kind of joint game between different forces, which are supposedly very opposed. But in reality, who ‘pardoned’ Murusidze and Chinchaladze? Was it me? If so, when? I don't know, tell me! I think that the very power that is teaching me wisdom today, not only pardoned them, but placed them in such places, from which no one can remove them, and from which they also very effectively block our way to Europe.
Who is this for? Why don't we ask this?! Before the rally comes to me (when I say coming - I'm talking about the rally, not about the people who are coming to meet, have been coming and I hope they will come here again.)
What is the agreement between these two powers? On the one hand, bringing Misha. Why did some of them advised, urged him to come down here, launch a revolution, claiming people would come out for him.
On the other side, those who were playing with Georgian emotions and antagonizing him: ‘if you’re brave, come here. Don’t be lazy, come here.’
Both were excited about Misha's arrival and we can see why. Because we have been living in this for a year already and more. A year later, we are completely stuck around Misha, in arguments, disputes, fights, there is no other topic, it is impossible to raise another topic, the country is sinking around this issue, and this suits both sides.
For one side, it is probably because it cannot see other plans, because it no longer has an answer to any of the questions that society should ask its government, and I don't know what I have to do with it, but it is unacceptable. Or they don't know me, maybe they don't know me, I don't know, they still haven’t learned who I was for so many years, but pressure on the institution (and not to mention a woman and the president) that is happening today is unacceptable. This bullying, (by the way, I don't know where are those NGO people who should express something about bullying), direct blackmail, threats, humiliation are unacceptable
And here look, there’s a "Russian village" at my doorstep, and what does that mean? In no other country, in front of the president's palace, such a village, especially in this tense period, would be built, but there are different opinions and different tastes about it.
Then they threaten me with “career”, as if I could kiss my career goodbye, as if I wanted some other career, they forget how old I am, but if anyone knows me in this country, they will also know that I left my career over there a long time ago, that I am only interested in this country, I am interested only in the European future of this country, which for some reason everyone is fighting against, no one can see that our society wants this and our society will continue to want it regardless of everything - here I am, here you are and we will go on this path, despite everyone's pressure and attempts to blackmail in different ways.
French Ambassador Presents Credentials
H.E. Sheraz Gasri, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the French Republic to Georgia, presented her letter of credence to President Salome Zourabichvili at the Orbeliani Palace.
Administration of the President
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