Archil Talakvadze elected Chairman of Parliament
Archil Talakvadze, Leader of the Parliamentary Majority has been elected Chairman of the Georgian Parliament. The 94 MPs voted for Talakvadze’s election on the post and 1 – against.
The 101 lawmakers underwent registration for the balloting. MPs of the National Movement and European Georgia parties did not participate in the voting process.
Archil Talakvadze replaced Irakli Kobakhidze on the post of Chairman of Parliament. Kobakhidze quit the post several days ago amid protests after Russian MP Sergey Gavrilov took the seat in the Georgian parliament.
Talakvadze served as Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs in 2014-2016. He was Deputy Minister of Penitentiary, Probation and Legal Assistance in 2012-2014.
The Parliament declared the vote of confidence to the recomposed Government
The Parliament declared the vote of confidence to the recomposed Government and the Governmental Program for 2019-2020 with 98 votes. MPs at the plenary session, presided by the Speaker Archil Talakvadze, held the final stage of declaration of vote of confidence to the PM candidate and the Government.
The floor was given to the PM candidate Giorgi Gakharia. “Today, I will try to stress the principal and key values and the main dimensions of the Government. We intend to be mostly oriented on the agenda, outcomes and efficiency as these are set as one main principles and the voice of the people will serve as the main coordination force. Achievement of the outlined tasks requires hard work and cooperation between the Government and the Parliament, including the opposition”.
He introduced the main priorities of the Governmental program stating that efficiency in reasonable terms and good faith are set as the main principles of the Governmental activity.
He stressed countering corruption as one of the gross challenges and emphasized importance of the truth as the citizens shall not be affected by lie and modeled reality. In this context she touched upon the occupation noting that the people supposed to feel at least the silent responsibility for the occupation accuse the Government in assessment of the occupation which is totally inadmissible and the Government shall resist it with the truth. “Justice we have delivered to every citizen in capacity of the truth constitutes the main component allowing us being more exacting towards our opponents and the team members”.
He named domestic and external safety, economic development and human capital development as the priorities the Government will be concentrated on in 2019-2020. Occupation remains the main security challenge, he noted: “When we stay that 20% of the territory is occupied, we shall also underline that 20% of the economy, development and human capital of the country are occupied and it constitutes the greatest security challenge for us”.
The Government intends to resort to every instrument other than the war. He spoke about the foreign policy priorities underlining that EU and NATO integration remain the main course of the country with tangible progress. High social radicalization level was named as one of the challenges for domestic security and Parliamentary democracy, as he noted, is incompatible with such degree of radicalization.
“I cannot accept when the political party considers the freedom of expression and the people directly calling for invasion into the state institution as the storm to the Parliament and refuse to assume even the political responsibility. The political outcomes and change of the political conjuncture shall take place in Georgia no longer as we have the Parliament and the elections in this view”.
He introduced the Governmental views about unemployment problem solution in the reasonable terms and emphasized importance of the free and effective business as the state shall create the equal and acceptable conditions for business development to allow business create more job opportunities and assume the social responsibility towards the employees.
The reporter spoke about infrastructure, foreign trade, effective state resource use, energy safety, agriculture, education, healthcare and pension reforms. “The role and the function of the state is to create the equal conditions for every citizen to equally participate in the progress of the country. The role of the Government is to create every condition for every social strata to jointly carry the responsibility for our future, towards our children and to make the country better than yesterday”.
MPs took the floor for the questions mostly concerning the medicine price regulation, education reform prospects, criminal policy directions, restoration of territorial integrity and de-occupation view in long run, youth and social policy directions, state social aid program and the gaps therein, structural reorganization of the Ministries, projects for the persons with disabilities, Government-business relations, sustainability of the national currency, highland development program etc. G. Gakharia and the candidates for the Ministers delivered the detailed answers. Pursuant to the Rules of Procedure, the plenary was resumed with the statements by the Committees, Factions and MPs.
The Chair of the Human Rights and Civil Integration Committee, Sofo Kiladze: “Mr. Gakharia and his Cabinet will be consistent and effective in implementation of the program launched by Mr. Ivanishvili. The PM candidate introduced the system approach and he has already implemented many system reforms on a very responsible positions. That is why I support Mr. Gakharia and his Cabinet”.
The Chair of the Education, Science and Culture Committee, Mariam Jashi: “One of the milestones in the new program envisages human capital development and education reform. On behalf of our Committee, I would like to express our support to the Governmental program. It is paramount that we hold the guarantees for education, wide-scale reform and increased financing”.
The Chair of the Sector Economy and Economic Policy Committee, Roman Kakulia: “Unfortunately, there are the politicians trying to apply the forbidden methods to change the Government. I want you to once and forever eliminate these people from the politics and stand by us, or terminate this topic for the society for the upcoming elections. Besides, I would like to hope that you will stop people speaking about pro-Russian orientation of Georgian Dream”.
The Chair of the Defense and Security Committee, Irakli Sesiashvili: “I would like to wish good luck to the new candidates, Mr. Garibashvili and Mr. Gomelauri, as well as each member of the Cabinet and express my respect and especially to Levan Izoria. We have cooperated for a long time on defense affairs and I am proud to state that the reforms by him were very effective and soon we will see him in the Security Council. The mandatory conscription is very relevant and problematic and as I know, it is already under consideration”.
The Chair of the Legal Issues Committee, Anri Okhanashvili: “Our Committee approved the recomposed Government and declared the vote of confidence. Our support was conditioned with two main factors – the Governmental program based on 4 key principles: construction of the democratic state; economic development; efficiency in restoration of territorial integration and de-occupation; and full integration to EU and NATO; and the second factor lies in the fact that the candidates nominated are capable to successfully fulfill the tasks outlined. Their views and motivation are very convincing”.
The Chair of the Budget and Finance Committee, Irakli Kovzanadze: “The Government demonstrated the realistic view and orientation to the tasks. Their economic policy is based on macro-economic stability and sustainability of the financial institutions which are of utmost necessity for economic growth, employment and solution of social programs. The PM and Minister candidates hold the best experience in respective spheres, we know each of them and believe that they will show high professionalism in scheduled reforms”.
The Chair of the Sports and Youth Issues Committee, Mikheil Kavelashvili: “The messages you have echoed are very important and the main message implied human capital development, and since the very first day in authority, the people always were the main direction. The messages echoed by Mr. Gakharia make me believe that the new plans and effective implementation are to be expected”.
The Chair of the Diaspora and Caucasus Issues Committee, Beka Odisharia: “Being the Chair of the Committee, let me be sincere in my gratitude to the profile Ministries and their representatives for cooperation resulting for the benefits especially for our compatriots abroad. I also would like to tell the society that we for the first time had the 7-year period in history of independence when no weapons have been clanking which served as an incentive to the weak Georgian economy and tourism. This peaceful process was ensured by the certain people and thus, let me be hopeful that security of the country will be further guaranteed. I do hope that our Government will be the Government for everyone regardless gender, age and confession with the only issue in the agenda – progressive and developed Georgia”.
The Chair of the Health Care and Social Issues Committee, Akaki Zoidze: “In 2016, we have made some significant promises to positively affect every citizen and we are able to fulfill our promise within this one year in healthcare and social directions. The greatest achievement was when we launched the universal healthcare, which saved thousands of the families from physical destruction and poverty. Good initiatives have been introduced and we will see to fulfillment of these initiatives through the Parliamentary oversight”.
Karlo Kopaliani: “The deceiver and the culpable force wished to arrange the coup on June 20 and appropriate the authority by a violent manner. And we should speak about responsibility of the Minister Gakharia if he demonstrated weakness, admitted chaos and failed to protect the state institutions”.
Alexander Kantaria: “This day shall acquire the importance of the starting point in development of our country as it is dictated by the reality. I wish you keep the way of truth and achieve the outcomes”.
Eka Beselia: “Domestic security does lie through the justice system. Besides, external security and freedom of the people also lie through this system similar to the economic and business strength of the country. If this reform fails and we know that it is the last try, and when the list is submitted to the Parliament, then all the reforms lose sense. So, it is the foundation defining all values, reforms and attempts”.
Levan Koberidze: “You spoke about the system and wanted to put the culpable judges under the light of bureaucracy. This was the system entailing revolt of the people and serving as the reason for demolition which should the destructed”.
Legan Gogichaishvili: “You have deviated from democracy and today, allow one hand managing the judge, Parliament and the executive authority. It means breach of the Constitutional principles”.
Beka Natsvlishvili: “Have a good look and maybe you find the basis of poverty and unemployment in your economic policy. Something has to be changed and I offer certain steps”.
The Chair of “Georgian Dream”, Mamuka Mdinaradze: “None of the positions and authorities can be eternal and I will not be artificial if I say that we shall direct our activity to the challenges, including to the possibility to be substituted by the better politicians without the burden of the sins of the past. Mr. Gakharia, I join your position the lie is the problem not the challenge, and if disinformation is not eliminated, we cannot achieve the progress. Hence, unfortunately there is the force in the country with its branches and media means ensuring constant stress and disinformation and psychological violence over the society. Along with occupation and poverty, which are adequately estimated in the Governmental program, we need solutions, which are also provided in the program and that is why we support the Government”.
“National Movement” MP, Nikanor Melia: “History of Georgia continues and you have on your own defined the identity of your personalities and your place in history of Georgia is not the bright and right, is not in morality. Naturally, you have your place in history but totally different and I would be happy not to encounter the necessity of these words. Only future can reveal the real value of the deeds and words”.
“Georgian Dream – for Powerful Georgia” MP, Koba Kobaladze: “I hail that the document provides the detailed view of defense capacity of the country. We all shall defend our homeland and thus, increased defense capacity is the primary task of the country. I hail that the Governmental program provides the conflict solution view, reconciliation and engagement policy mechanisms oriented to the reasonable and consistent policy-making and aiming at support of the conflict-affected population on the both sides of the line, their socio-economic enhancement and restoration of trust between the citizens artificially divided by the wires. Engagement of our international partners in this process is of utmost importance. Besides the defense and security component, I also welcome other priority directions outlined in the program”.
Deputy Chair of “Alliance of Patriots and Social-Democrats”, Ada Marshania: “We have suffered two greatest catastrophes in the recent history. We temporarily lost Sukhumi and Tskhinvali, and the second catastrophe is our attitude towards it. There is not a single plan in the country for restoration of integrity, addressing unemployment and poverty. I believe that this program will be endorsed today but we will not participate in this process due to your culpable policy of cohabitation”.
The Chair of “Georgian Dream – Greens”, Giorgi Gachechiladze: “We heard the National Movement MP speaking, which was the peak of the ideology and the PR-machine NM uses for years – the machine for lies trying to assure the society that they are of the Western orientation and as if we keep our path to the North while Georgia has never been so close to NATO, EU and other international organizations and the USA, while they have conceded everything to Russia – whole economy, territories and facilitated Russia to dominate not only in Georgia but in the region. Mr. Gakharia, let me tell you that the June 20-21 developments are one of the integral parts of the machine of lies. It was an attempt to storm the Parliament in the Parliamentary Republic and I am grateful to you as you prevented destabilization in the country”.
The Chair of “Georgian Dream-Industrials”, Simon Nozadze: “Mr. Gakharia, you have explained the total mechanism of lies used by the National Movement. It is evident that they are afraid of the response and do not want to hear the truth. Their behavior means loyalty to the old rule. The population has witnessed how the National Movement will act if they return. So, it is up to the society to make a conclusion”.
Majority Leader Giorgi Volski: “When the National Movement ruled in the country, every line between the human rights and the Governmental policy has been erased as they were totally ignored – they manipulated only with the figures. The meetings in the villages seem to be a good idea of the Party leader, which was immediately supported by the Government and the Parliament. The meetings have been held allowing us formulating our approaches also to the budget which is to be soon endorsed. The future plans introduced by the PM candidate are the plans that our people and the country need. So, we shall support them not because we are one team and keep our eyes closed to the gaps existent but we shall support them because they are oriented to elimination of the gaps and enhancement of the positive attitude and the strategic plans”.
Majority MP Dimitri Tskitishvili: “Unfortunately, we appeared in the reality when the greatest part of the political opposition has derived from the reality, when we see that the greater part of the political opposition has failed to realize their role as the part of the authority. It is hard to speak about the healthy political process and so, it entails our political responsibility to be adequately critical and let the Government seek for the rational seeds. In this case, we can offer the different role to the Government. As I presume, the vacuum in the society in terms that the one part of the society having the critical opinion can fail to be delivered to the Government and thus, we are to fill this vacuum”.
In the end of the session, the Prime Minister thanked the Parliament for vote of confidence.
The session resumed with the State Anthem.
President of Turkmenistan and Chairman of the Government of the Russian Federation reaffirm the willingness to develop partnership
President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov had a meeting with Chairman of the Government of the Russian Federation Dmitry Medvedev, who arrived in our country, heading the RF representative delegation to participate in the First Caspian Economic Forum in the Avaza National tourism zone.
Cordially welcoming the distinguished guest, the President of Turkmenistan expressed confidence that the current working visit to Turkmenistan of the Prime Minister of the Russian Federation would contribute to enhancing the interstate dialogue, and would determine further ways for cooperation.
Expressing gratitude for the cordial welcome and warm wishes, the guest conveyed greetings from President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin to President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov. Noting that this meeting is a good opportunity to discuss the priority tasks of cooperation, Dmitry Medvedev congratulated the Turkmen leader on the organization of such a significant forum, which brought together the representatives of the littoral states as well as other countries.
President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov addressed best wishes to President Vladimir Putin and emphasized that Turkmenistan highly appreciated the Russian Federation’s support for the international initiatives put forward by Turkmenistan, including the proposal to hold the First Caspian Economic Forum.
Taking this opportunity, Dmitry Medvedev expressed gratitude to President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov for the personal assistance rendered to the development of interstate cooperation, which has reached a qualitatively new level in recent years. Particular emphasis was placed on the positive dynamics of relations at the regional level.
Expressing satisfaction with the significant success in implementing the existing agreements, the Turkmen leader and the head of the Government of the Russian Federation confirmed their willingness to build up fruitful cooperation, identifying new directions and opportunities.
In this regard, the President of Turkmenistan and his guest underlined the efficiency of the meetings with the representatives of the competent authorities for the economy and transport of the Caspian littoral states, including Turkmenistan and Russia, as well as the first meeting of the Turkmen-Astrakhan Council on Entrepreneurship.
Particular attention during the meeting was paid to the state and prospects of bilateral cooperation. Expressing satisfaction with the progressive character of trade and economic relations that is expressed in the positive dynamics of the trade turnover, the President of Turkmenistan and the Prime Minister of the Russian Federation focused on the existing potential for building up cooperation in this direction.
In this context, it was emphasized that the active work of the Intergovernmental Turkmen-Russian Commission, national business councils established under the Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Turkmenistan and Russia, all interested ministries and departments, and enterprises of the both countries contributed to the expansion of mutual import-export operations and the geography of inter-regional contacts.
The fuel and energy complex, shipbuilding, car industry, sea shipping in the Caspian Sea, agriculture, including the supply of food products to the Russian market were specified among the priority vectors of cooperation.
It was also underlined that interstate relations successfully developed in the humanitarian sphere. Scientists, specialists of the sphere of education and culture take an active part in the international conferences, exhibitions, art festivals and meetings held regularly in the two countries.
President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov and RF Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev underlined the importance of widening efficient relations in the humanitarian sphere.
Discussing the issues on the international agenda, the Turkmen leader and the distinguished guest paid attention to the global security of energy supplies, optimization of transport flows in Eurasia and environmental problems.
In conclusion of the meeting, which was held in the atmosphere of trust, the head of the Turkmen state and the Prime Minister of Russia expressed confidence in the progressive development of the interstate dialogue and reaffirmed the mutual interest in building a multi-aspect partnership.
The state news agency of Turkmenistan
The meeting of Archil Talakvadze with the newly appointed Ambassador of People’s Republic of China
The Speaker, H.E. Archil Talakvadze held the introductory meeting with the newly appointed Ambassador of China to discuss the bilateral relations and the cooperation agenda.
As noted, political, trade-economic, cultural and people-to-people relations are the directions Georgia and China are to adhere to in further cooperation.
The parties dwelt on the Silk Road Project “One Belt One Road”, which is of the strategic importance for Georgia and Georgia, in terms of security, economic integration and infrastructural update is committed for this mission.
The parties touched upon transit and investment capacities of Georgia and stressed importance of inter-Parliamentary ties.
The Ambassador reaffirmed support to territorial integrity and sovereignty of Georgia and underlined that China strongly respects the choice Georgian people has opted for development. In his turn, the Speaker expressed intact support of Georgia to “One-China” policy.
The Speaker wished good luck to the Ambassador and expressed commitment for close cooperation.
The meeting of Archil Talakvadze with the UNDP Resident Representative
The Speaker noted that UNDP also highly contributed in establishment of the Research Center in the Parliament.
The parties discussed the new project to be launched in autumn envisaging continued support of UNDP to the Parliamentary reforms.
The Speaker introduced the judicial reform, electoral reform and the legislation to be adopted by the Parliament.
The parties touched upon decentralization strategy.
Religious Leaders’ Peace Network from 130 Countries Examine the Nature of Religion through Comparative Studies on Scriptures
The Era of Religion Never Fades Away
Scientific innovation and technological progress led many countries to hold unproven prospect that social changes from economic development and industrial advancement will bring out the end of religion.
Far from this “faith”, the issue of religion rises to the surface again, creating new phenomena. While traditional roles of Christianity has diminished in the United States and Europe, the void is filled by increasing presence of new religion through the migration of people with different religious orientations. Also, the governance and social integration have been carried out with the influence of religion in Asian and African countries. Since the 9/11, the rise of extremism and terrorism or such acts of violence in the name of religion persisted. These events have brought the issue of religion to surface both positively and negatively. In order to cope with the latest trend of religion, the international society and religion have created platforms and dialogue in search of new roles religion plays in realization of peace, justice and stability.
Interfaith dialogue begins the restoration of fundamentals of religion
In these contemporary days, religion is considered as a main factor affecting the conflicts in the world. Scholars say that violent acts of extremism have the basis on the misinterpretation of religious scripture as means to mobilize the public and incite angers in the mass number of people.
Imam Anas Hajjar, Head Imam of Finland Islam Community, pays a closer attention to religious scripture and points out that “Because many people interpret the scripture with their own thoughts and ideologies without correctly knowing what is the will of God inside the scripture, and if laymen continue to interpret without true knowledge and study, the problems caused by extremists will continue to occur.”.
There’s a rising voice calling for religious leaders to take a strong stand in restoring the true value of religion to lead humanity into a just and peaceful path, rather than leaning toward any forms of extremisms through misinterpretation.
“Terrorism, sectarian violence and religious conflicts have deprived us of basic human rights, resulting in people under pains that go beyond description. The love and tolerance of love have disappeared in the communities. Selfishness, lack of acceptance of the other and the absence of a culture of tolerance and human values have made the communication even more difficult. However, religion does call for peace among peoples. The seed of peace is possible with this desire and with this longing to change the world,” said Mr. Tharwat Gaid Salama Gaballa, Chairman of Horus foundation for Development and training in Egypt.
The role of leaders in reflecting on religion through scripture to discourage religion as means of violent conflicts
“The common objectives that all religious scriptures pursue are the realization of peace and justice, conflict resolution, human dignity, and valuing diversity. Thus, along with the diverse backgrounds and various factors that cause conflicts, we approach towards the root cause of this hospitality among beliefs, which we define as the misunderstandings that arise from the misinterpretation of these scriptures,” Mr. Gaballa added.
Regarding the role of religious leaders, Imam Anas Hajjar, Head Imam of Finland Islam Community emphasized, “Although political extremism and the hate-speech have been in the rise in Europe, NGOs have a critical role in resisting and opposing this type of breakdown in respect of the laws of religious freedom, peace and harmony in the country. The best way to combat all types of extremism is knowledge and this part of the job is given to scholars and religious leaders.”
“In order to find the truth all the humanity wants religious leaders need to put away the thoughts that only my religion is the best and do the comparative work based on Scriptures without dividing themselves and saying ‘your religion’, ‘my religion’,” said Swami Veetamohananda, Swami (religious leader in Hinduism) of Ramakrishna Veda center.
A Platform for Comparative Studies on Religious Scripture – World Alliance of Religions’ Peace (WARP) Office
From April 1st to 2nd, an international conference named “The Role of Cultural Diplomacy in Approaching the Protracted Conflicts” was held in Romania as the presidency of the European Union by a Romanian think tank Institute of Advanced Studies on Levant Culture and Civilization (ISACCL) in cooperation with Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Romania, Heavenly Culture, World Peace, Restoration of Light (HWPL), University of Bucharest, and Inter-Parliamentary Coalition for Global Ethics.
In the conference the role of NGOs and civil societies in developing peace was included to discuss transforming religion from means of violent conflicts to source of peace.
“The culture of earth cannot disguise the one of heaven with a man’s yardstick of judgment. Religion is to learn the world of spirit and teachings of God. This is the heavenly culture that guides us to the world of peace. Through the WARP offices religious leaders have brought religious scriptures to examine trustworthy, physical evidence of religion. In search of the true teachings written in trustworthy scripture, religions should be one under the true teachings. When we continue to do this comparative studies, there will be no more wars triggered by religion,” said Mr. Man Hee Lee, Chairman of HWPL.
A platform for religious leaders as a new attempt to establish a network of peace to enhance understanding of religions through scriptures has been carried out 220 locations from 130 countries. Named “World Alliance of Religions’ Peace (WARP) Office”, this platform since 2014 is designed by HWPL, an international NGO under the UN ECOSOC, to find the nature of religious values for peace building through scriptures. HWPL has its headquarters in Seoul, South Korea and seeks the role of religion in conflict resolution and prevention through the network of global religious leaders.
Oliver Kang, pastor and international missionary of the Evangelical Worldwide Mission Church, said, “Therefore, if we want peace between religions, if we want no more wars, then religions need to turn away from the path of corruption. That is why we are comparing the religious scriptures through the WARP Office meetings. Discussions based on comparing the scriptures is the optimal solution to resolve the problem of corruption.”
“The WARP office is the significant link and the great network for the worldwide religious institutions. It has come to show the cooperation and solidarity of all religious leaders and send the message of tolerance, peace and unity to all people around the world,” said Mr. Gaballa regarding the function of the WARP office.
According to HWPL, this religious network of peace further is further developed to appeal to young generations to build confidence of religion through communication and understanding. “Various religious teaching program for youth such as religious youth peace camp gives lesson for participants to learn about the general history of world religions, find the root cause of and plausible resolutions to religious conflicts and disputes, examine the religious community’s roles for peace, and experience cultural exchanges,” said Dr. Ahmed Jasem Hmood Al-Maliky, Sheikh of Office of the Religious Reference Sheikh Mohammad Al Yaqoobi in Iraq.
“Starting by taking out the prejudice that I am right and you are wrong, let us communicate and interact with each other with these questions in mind: ‘Is what I know always right? Is the other religion always wrong? Or is there something in that religion that mine doesn't have?’ Let us find the best truth and achieve the ultimate value of peace,” he added.