Donald Tusk confirms EU support for the stability and security of Georgia

Published in Politics
Friday, 02 December 2016 16:08

Donald Tusk, President of the European Council, met with the Prime Minister of Georgia, Giorgi Kvirikashvili, on 1 December in Brussels. During the meeting, President Tusk praised the Georgian government for their democratic elections and ambitious reform programme, and also encouraged the Prime Minister to continue his close dialogue with opposing political parties and Georgian civil society. President Tusk also mentioned visa-free travel developments: “We are now working hard on the EU side – and I want to underline only on the EU side because this is now our internal problem – to make sure that the required visa suspension mechanism will be agreed as soon as possible. Georgia deserves for this process to be finalised in a timely and positive manner.” He expressed concerns about the recent ratification of the military agreement between Russia and the Georgian region of Abkhazia: “For the EU it is clear that this agreement violates international law, including the principle of the inviolability of Georgia's sovereignty, territorial integrity and internationally recognised borders. It has no legal status for the European Union.”
“We are committed to a peaceful resolution of the conflict in Georgia, including through our co-chairmanship of the Geneva International Discussions and the EU Monitoring Mission,” President Tusk concluded. “In short, the EU will remain firm in its support of the territorial integrity of Georgia.”

Pope Francis meets delegation from Georgia

Published in Politics
Friday, 02 December 2016 14:42

Pope Francis on Thursday greeted a delegation of faithful from the Apostolic Administration of the Caucuses who were in Rome to thank the Holy Father for his recent Apostolic Visit to Georgia. Pope Francis told the delegation their visit brought him many memories of his trip. “I never thought I would find in Georgia what I saw: The culture, spirituality, a people that praises Jesus Christ as the Savior, because it is a Christian population,” – the Pope said – “It was for me a great joy.”
He said he was also personally impressed by the person of Ilia II of Georgia, saying “I perceived there a man of God.” While acknowledging the problems faced by the small Catholic community, Pope Francis said he thought they would find a way “without forcing the issue, to slowly walk together.”
The Pope concluded by remarking on the different faithful he met, calling the responsibility of the laypeople “a great thing,” and thanking the priests and religious for their work. “Go forward!” – Pope Francis said – “This work is like yeast, to make the thing grow. Thank you very much! And do not forget to pray for me.”

Loan Agreement between Georgia and ADB-Bureau discussed

Published in Politics
Thursday, 01 December 2016 12:30

The Bureau discussed the agenda for November 30-December 2 plenary sessions. As the Chairman, Mr. Irakli Kobakhidze stated, the agenda will include four draft resolutions on termination of authority ahead of time for MPs: Giorgi Kvirikashvili, Kakha Kaladze, Giorgi Gakharia and Sandra Roelofs. The authority of Giorgi Kvirikashvili, Kakha Kaladze, Giorgi Gakharia is terminated due to appointment on the Governmental positions, while authority of S. Roelofs is terminated on the basis of the personal refusal. The plenary agenda also includes four documents for ratification:

  • Loan Agreement between Georgia and ADB (ordinary transactions)(internal resource mobilization improvement for inclusive growth program – sub-program 3);
  • Loan Agreement between Georgia and ADB (special transactions)(internal resource mobilization improvement for inclusive growth program – sub-program 3);
  • Loan Agreement between Georgia and IBRD of September 3, 2014 (E-transmission line enhancement project), Change N1;
  • Agreement between Georgia and EU on Exchange and Protection Security Procedures of Classified Information.

MPs will also consider two draft resolutions on expediency and inexpediency of further consideration of the drafts initiated in the preceding Parliament. The Bureau took note of the statement of the citizen, Zaza Rukhadze on non-consideration of his candidacy on the position of the Member of the Constitutional Court.

AMBIENT AIR PROTECTION

Published in Politics
Wednesday, 30 November 2016 17:10

Atmospheric air that surrounds the earth is one of the main components of environment and represents source of life on our planet. Atmosphere protects the earth from destructive impact of meteorites: most of them burn while flying through the dense layers of atmosphere; it also detains a large share of ultraviolet radiation and ensures life existence on the earth. Atmosphere basically consists of nitrogen (78.084%) and oxygen (20.976%).
Carbon dioxide has a very small share in the atmosphere (0.0314%), but plays a special role since it absorbs and releases long wave radiation. Moreover, carbon dioxide is essential for plants. Atmosphere always contains water steam in different quantities and its role is significant in atmospheric events: water steam condensation causes creation of clouds and precipitation, and its transformation is followed by absorption or emission of big amount of warmth. It is well known that a person daily consumes about 1 kg food, 1.5 litre water and 12 kg air in relaxed condition. It is possible to check the quality of water or food and treat them when needed, but the air is consumed as it is in the environment. This is a good example for realizing importance of protecting of atmospheric air form hazardous substances.
Air pollution is spread in several kilometres vertically. During the last decades the amount of polluting substances into atmospheric air increased twenty times. Atmosphere is highly polluted by the enterprises of black and coloured metallurgy, and chemical industry that emit sulphur gases, carbon dioxide, dust and other substances. Transport emissions have a significant share in total air pollution. One of the alternatives for reducing transport emission can be improvement of internal combustion engine and petrol quality, use of electro mobiles, etc. In the near future the substance substituting mentioned types of fuel will be hydrogen, which is cheaper and more flexible than electricity.
In combustion process it mixes with oxygen and without smoke develops steam in insignificant amount. Greening industrial sites and development of forestry economy has a great importance for implementation of measures aiming protection of atmospheric air. One hectare forest filters about 50 – 70 tonnes of dust per year. The forest is directly connected to improvement of the health of atmospheric air and protection of water resources, since oxygen is basically filled by photosynthesis. 1 hectare forest emits 10-15 times more oxygen than any phitocenosis.

Water Resources of Georgia

Published in Economics
Wednesday, 30 November 2016 16:59

Area of the earth surface is 510.0 million square kilometres, its 71%, that is 362.1 million square kilometres, is occupied by the ocean that creates illusion of abundance of water resources. In fact 97.5% of the total hydrosphere reserve (1 353.3 million cubic kilometres) is almost useless for economic activities, due to its salinity (the World Ocean, the salty lakes and the wetlands).
Share of the fresh water that exists in form of rivers, glaciers, ground waters, lakes, reservoirs and wetlands, is just 2.5% or 34.7 million cubic metres.
Today only 12% of total fresh water stock, or 4.16 cubic metres is being used, that clearly demonstrates problem of fresh water deficit. According to internal waters (rivers, lakes, ground waters, glaciers, and wetlands) Georgia was one of the leading countries in the Soviet Union. However, rivers are unequally distributed between eastern and western Georgia. In western Georgia run-off of rivers (together with transit run-off) is 49.8 km3, and in eastern Georgia – 16.5 km3.
The problem of water consumption has a great importance among the factors having an impact on the river ecosystem, since using of water for economic activities, especially for irrigation causes lowering the water level, i.e. reduction of water resources. Increasing level of hydrosphere pollution is even more important and problematic. The main reasons for worsening of water quality are the following: irrigation, melioration of salty soils, wastewater, and improperly arraigned reservoir caves.
Importance of this problem can be justified by the following general examples: even those wastewaters which, after treatment return to the primary sources, require 15 fold dilutions with clean water in order to restore natural quality of water. Annual volume of wastewater of any types pollutes 12-15 times more natural water in general, that is a significant part of river run-off. Quality of river and reservoir water of Georgia is alarming. Even in 1986 pollution level per unit of river run-off was 17 times more than an average world index. Sharp decrease in industrial production in recent years implied only one positive result: amount of hazardous substances emitted into the atmosphere and pollution level in wastewaters decreased.
Inland water resources located on the country territory are the state property and can be used only on the basis of the licenses issued by authorized agencies. Ownership of the land does not imply permission for water use.
Throwing or burring industrial, household, toxic, radiatial and other hazardous waste into the water bodies or nearby areas is prohibited as well as discharge of wastewater without having an appropriate license. Despite of great importance of administrative-legislative policies, economically grounded scientific-technical activities play decisive role in environmental protection.
For example, rational allocation of industrial objects according to availability of water resources and its quality and implementing the technologies, that ensures getting the production with minimal consumption of natural resources and minimizing potential industrial waste.

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATION AND NATURAL RESOURCES OF GEORGIA

Published in Economics
Wednesday, 30 November 2016 15:47

Georgia is located in the Central and western part of the South Caucasus. Total length of the border of Georgia is 2 148 kilometres, out of these 1 839 kilometres on land. To the west Georgia is bounded by the Black Sea – between the estuary of the river Psou and village Sarpi, to the north – by the Russian Federation, to the east – by Azerbaijan, to the south – by Armenia, and to the south west , and¢ and 46°44¢- by Turkey. The extreme west and east borders go through eastern latitude 40°05 .¢ and 43°35¢north and south borders – through north longitude 41°07 The territory of Georgia is spread up vertically to 5 068.8 m from sea level (peak Shkhara).
Georgia is distinguished with complexity of relief – about 2/3 of its territory is mountainous. Along the north border, more than 1/3 of the country area is occupied by the Caucasus Mountain System. The relief of Georgia is represented by high, medium and low mountains, uplands and plains. There are following principal orographic units in Georgia: the Caucasus Mountains, the intermountain plains divided by Likhi Ridge into Kolkheti and Iveria Valleys and Trialeti Ridges (part of the Small Caucasus Mountain System). Some of the peaks of the main watershed ridge of the Caucasus Mountains in Georgia are higher than 5 000 m.
Georgia is characterized by almost every climate zone existing on the earth, from humid sub tropical climate to eternal snow and glaciers zone. Diversity of the climate in Georgia is determined by its location on the northern border of the subtropical zone between the Black and the Caspian Seas on the one hand and by complexity of its relief on the other hand. Average temperature in January is +3°C (on Kolkheti Valley), and in August – +23°C - +26°C.
The ridges of various direction and height play an important role in climate formation. A local climate is determined by the Caucasus Mountains which protects Georgia from cold air masses incursion and by the Black Sea which makes the temperature moderate and facilitates to greater precipitation, especially in western Georgia, where annual amount of precipitation is 2 800 mm, while in eastern Georgia it is only 300 mm.
Due to its location on a relatively lower longitude and temperate cloudiness, Georgia receives a significant warmth form the sun. Average annual sunshine is 1 350 – 2 520 hours.
There are plenty of mineral resources available in Georgia; out of them the following have industrial importance: oil, coal, non ferrous and rare metals, mining and chemical raw materials, inert materials and other mines. Ground waters have a great importance in the mineral treasure of Georgia.
They are very important for development of national economy of the country is highly dependent on the ground water. Georgia is also rich in thermal waters that can have a wide range of use in agriculture and energy sector. There is a big amount of fresh ground water resources in Georgia. Its distribution is very unequal – it increases from the east to the west.
River network in Georgia is unequally distributed; out of 26 060 rivers with total length of about 60 000 km, 18 109 rivers are in western Georgia, and 7 951 rivers – in eastern Georgia. Length of 25 923 rivers is less than 25 km, of 121 rivers – about 25-100 km, and of 16 rivers – 100 -500 km. The rivers of Georgia belong to the Black and the Caspian Sea basins. Almost all rivers of eastern Georgia form the entire system of Mtkvari and flow into the Caspian Sea, while the rivers of western Georgia independently join the Black Sea. The biggest river of Georgia (as well as of the South Caucasus) is Mtkvari.
Only its middle part (400 km) is on the territory of Georgia, its origin is in Turkey and flows into the Caspian Sea, on the territory of Azerbaijan. The rivers of Georgia are fed by glaciers, snow, rain and ground waters. Water resources of Georgia are not equally distributed. Run-off of the rivers of western Georgia (together with transit) compiles 49.8 cubic kilometres, and run-off of eastern Georgia – 16.5 cubic kilometres. The most voluminous river is Rioni; Mtkvari is much less voluminous, its run-off near GeorgianAzerbaijan border is 8.3 cubic kilometres. The following rivers - Enguri, Kodori, Bzipi, Tskhenistskali, Kvirila, Liakhvi, Aragvi, Ktsia-Khrami, and Alazani - are worth mentioning as well.
There are about 860 lakes in Georgia. Most of them are very small; therefore a total area of the lakes does not exceed 170 square kilometres (0.24% of the country territory). The lakes of Georgia are remarkable with their diverse origins. The majority of lakes in Georgia are fresh water, and part of them contains very little salt. The largest lake in area in Georgia is Lake Paravani, in volume – Lake Tabatskuri, in depth – Lake Ritza, that it is the deepest lake in the South Caucasus. There are 44 reservoirs on the territory of Georgia, their total area is 163 square kilometres, and the total volume of water is 3 315 million cubic metres. There are 734 glaciers in Georgia and they all are located in the Caucasus Mountains. Their cumulative area is 511 square kilometres that is 0.7 % of the country territory. Wetlands in Georgia are located on the Kolkheti Valley and its total area is 627 square kilometres. Georgia is bounded to the west by the Black Sea. The length of the coastline is 330 km. Within the territory of Georgia the following rivers flow into the Black Sea: Rioni, Bzipi, Kodori, Enguri and Chorokhi. Winter is mild and warm on the coast of the Black Sea. An average temperature in January is + 4-7°C.
The amount of precipitation is large during all seasons; South part of Kolkheti is especially rainy, where the annual precipitation is more than 2 500 mm. An average value of surface layer salinity of water in an open sea fluctuates from 17.80/00 (in spring) to 18.30/00 (in winter). From the surface to the depth of 200 metres the salinity increases up to 21.30/00. Rivers of Georgia make the sea significantly fresher near the coast, especially in spring and in the first half of summer. However, water stays salty beyond 2-4 miles from the coast. Due to diversity of physical-geographic and climatic conditions, the flora of Georgia is very rich and miscelanous. Diversification of relief and complex condfiguration of mountain ringes caused geographic and ecological isolation of ecosystems in Georgia and high level of local endemism. There are preserved some species in Georgian flora that became extinct in west Eurasia million years ago.
There is a rich and diverse fauna in Georgia, mainly represented by the elements of sub district of Mediterranean Sea of Pale arctic district, but in north part of the country the representatives of European and Siberian sub districts are also frequently met, while in south east district – species of Central Asian sub district fauna or others similar to them.
There are around 100 mammal species, more than 330 bird species, about 48 reptile species, 11 amphibian species, and 160 fish species known in Georgia. Thousands of invertebrate species are met, but an exact number is not determined yet. Animals are distributed by zones, but the species with a great ecologic valence inhabit in several zones. The idea about necessity of protecting the nature in Georgia was formed in ancient past followed by a gradual development of legal norms. Old Georgian sources provide interesting information concerning a legal protection of single objects of nature.
“The forest guards” are mentioned in the Book of King Tamar, dated 1189, and “the senior guardians” are mentioned even earlier in 1078. Norms regulating the use of water and pastures are provided in the document of the XVIII century (“Dasturmali”). One of the articles of this document protects hawks’ and peregrines’ nests. King Vakhtang’s Book of Laws also takes into account protecting water, forest and pastures. In Ioane Bagrationi’s Book of Laws (the project of public reforms in Kartl-Kakheti Kingdom) the following is mentioned: “there should be a person responsible for hunting forests and fields; nobody can hunt in the royal hunting lands without their permission”. Hunting was prohibited in a reproduction period of birds and animals.

Abolishing visas for Ukraine and Georgia is postponed

Published in Politics
Tuesday, 29 November 2016 15:16

Despite all the allegations and suggestions, Ukraine and Georgia hasn't obtained the EU visa-free regime so far. The date of abolishing visas has been postponed many times, and yet we still we don't know when will the Ukrainians start travelling Europe freely. According to the latest news, the EU officials fail to approve the necessary suspension mechanism by the end of 2016, so abolishing visas for Ukraine and Georgia is likely to be postponed again - at least until summer 2017, just after holding crucial presidential elections in France. 

Georgia-Korea (B2B) Business Meeting

Published in Economics
Monday, 28 November 2016 17:10

The KOTRA – state-funded trade and investment promotion organization operated by the Government of South Korea will hold a Georgia-Korea (B2B) Business Meeting on December 1st, 2016, from 9:00 to 18:00, at “Marriott Hotel” in Tbilisi, Georgia.
Business Meeting will involve about 20 Korean Business Sectors, as well as Georgian companies and it will be held within the framework of bilateral (B2B) meetings. The Business meeting will be attended by 70 companies and aims the development of economic relations between the Republic of Korea and Georgia.
The Embassy of the Republic of Korea (Tbilisi Office) avails itself of this opportunity to renew to the Media of Georgia the assurance of its highest consideration.

Foreign Relations, Diaspora and Caucasus Issues and the EU Integration Committees' sitting

Published in Politics
Friday, 25 November 2016 12:30

The Committees voted confidence to the candidates for Ministry of Foreign Affaris, Mikheil Janelidze and for State Ministry of EU and NATO Integration, Victor Dolidze. The PM candidate introduced the Governmental Program “Freedom, Rapid Development, Welfare” for 2016-2020 and the composition of the Government.
Mikheil Janelidze spoke about main priorities of foreign policy. Enhancement of security and sovereignty, de-occupation and restoration of territorial integrity, peaceful resolution of conflict with Russia, EU and NATO integration, facilitation to economic development, promotion of the positive image of Georgia worldwide and close links with Georgian Diaspora were named as the main priorities. He stated that the only format recognized and developed with participation of international partnership society is Geneva Talks for peaceful resolution of conflict, de-occupation and territorial integrity. “In this direction we managed to regulate the process and to put it in dialogue mode”. “Consolidation of international efforts is one of the main directions on all Geneva Talks rounds in view of provision of security and human rights protection in the occupied regions of Georgia and we actively discuss this issue in international organizations”.
M. Janelidze spoke about non-recognition of independence of the occupied regions. “As a result of our policy, sundry states have recalled recognition in 2013-2014”. He emphasized the decisions made recently to underline relevancy and active consideration of occupation and Georgia-Russia conflict on international agenda. One of the vital priorities of foreign agenda will be mobilization of international efforts to facilitate dignified and safe return of IDPs.
He also spoke about EU and NATO integration and named full-fledged integration to NATO as the priority task of foreign and security policy and pre-condition for enhancement of security and stable development of the country. He touched upon the decisions made at NATO Warsaw Summit in 2016. “The initiatives were adopted at NATO Warsaw Summit in July, 2016 in the priority directions such are: air defense capacity, joint trainings, Black Sea security cooperation, crisis management development and improvement of strategic communication”. Dignified return of IDPs will be further supported.
He also spoke about bilateral and multilateral diplomacy. “The Georgian Government will further continue strategic cooperation with USA as the main ally of Georgia. It also will be important to enhance cooperation with EU member states and orientation to strategic partnership. Within the rational and de-escalation policy, we will further facilitate to trade-economic and cultural contacts with Russia”.
M. Janelidze touched upon enhancement of cooperation with neighboring countries – Turkey, Azerbaijan and Armenia. He overviewed the future plans and implemented projects. “I, as the Head of the Foreign Ministry, consider institutional reforms as priority to enhance our diplomacy and to provide diplomats with due conditions”.
Mr. Victor Dolidze stated that one of the priority tasks for Georgia is EU and NATO integration. He noted that the political dialogue on EU integration will further continue with EU member states. “We attach particular attention to expectation management to ensure awareness of our citizens about the expectations. They shall well understand why NATO and EU instead of Eurasia. We shall provide them with information. Public awareness always was and will further be one of the most important spheres for cooperation”. The important link will be the Strategic Communication Department at the Ministry. Similar departments are set up in Foreign Affairs and Defense Ministries. “So-called media campaign is also important for public awareness, which implies communication with society. Our citizens shall have comprehensive information about NATO and EU integration and benefits for Georgia leading to full-fledged membership of European family. Coordination only is not enough. The State shall make real steps especially in the spheres, such are: economy, tourism, education, healthcare, social protection etc”.
He underlined importance of the Parliament in strategic communication. “Involvement of the Parliament in strategic communication will be important. We can jointly or severally visit the regions, especially the settlements with minorities and highlands to provide the habitants with the information about the benefits of EU and NATO integration”. 
After the reports, the Committees held the secret ballot resulting in:

  • Foreign Relations Committee – 9 votes against 1;
  • Diaspora and Caucasus Issues Committee – 10 votes unanimously;
  • EU Integration Committee – 10 votes against 2

According to the Decree of the President of Georgia, the extraordinary plenary session will be held on Saturday, November 26 at 12h00 following the Faction sittings on November 25.

 

 

Mikheil Janelidze: “Georgia may be the best platform in the region for Britain’s business”

Published in Politics
Thursday, 24 November 2016 16:13

Georgian Foreign Minister Mikheil Janelidze made this statement at the joint press conference with Minister of State for Europe and the Americas at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Sir Alan Duncan, who visited Georgia in the frames of the third round of the Wardrop Strategic Dialogue.   
The Georgian Foreign Minister thanked the Minister of State for visiting Georgia and for the positive assessment of the parliamentary elections held in Georgia.  
Mikheil Janelidze noted that economy is one of the main priorities of the co-operation with the United Kingdom and underlined that the country is one of the biggest investors in Georgia and that it is important to present Georgia as a country that has much to offer to British investors.    
“Georgia being an open democracy is ready to enhance free trade and economic ties and to support business relations. Georgia may be the best platform in the region for Great Britain to do business. Economy is the main direction of our strategic co-operation. Our co-operation lasts for many years. Great Britain is one of the biggest investors in Georgia’s economy. It should be noted that this year the 20th anniversary of British Petroleum (BP) successful operations in Georgia was celebrated.  This was the first important strategic project, which was developed and on the basis of which we have developed other projects. BP continues to invest and to develop projects, which support the energy security in Europe,” Mikheil Janelidze said.  
Particular emphasis was put on the existing close relations between the two countries in the spheres of education, culture and science, the most notable examples of which are the British Government’s exchange study programmes and the special project to mark the anniversaries of William Shakespeare and Shota Rustaveli.
The bilateral political dialogue – Wardrop Dialogue – founded in 2014, is dedicated to the discussions of British-Georgian bilateral, regional and multilateral co-operation in the spheres of policy, security, defence, economy, culture and education.
 

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