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Anti-crisis Council unhappy with PM

By Salome Modebadze
Thursday, September 2
Members of Anti-crisis Council expressed their discontent with Nika Gilauri, Prime Minister of Georgia for his failure to attend the Council meeting on IDP issues on September 1. Gia Tortladze, the Chairman of the Council said there was no written request to the Government’s Chancellery. “We [the Council] arranged the meeting urgently because the PM is about to leave for Lithuania. Thus we only had a telephone conversation with the Chancellery late in the evening when the officials were informed about the Council meeting,” he told his colleagues.

Inga Grigolia, Chairperson of the Christian-Democrat faction of the City Council was going to attend the anti-crisis council meeting instead of her Christian-Democrat colleague and council member, Levan Vepkhvadze. Demanding an explanation from the PM for his absence, Grigolia spoke of the IDPs' “critical situation”. “People protesting with sewed mouths for so many days is an important issue. I think the PM who has to hold the Government session could have found at least half an hour to speak with the anti-crisis council members, get the relevant information about the IDPs problems and then provide the MPs with the details,” Grigolia stated.

Trying to neutralise the situation, Gia Tortladze explained to the Council members that the PM was simply unable to attend the meeting due to the Government sitting planned the same day and added that Gilauri had informed him that he would by all means visit the council if he had time. “Any other Government representative would have paid us a visit for such a critical situation in the country. It’s absolutely inadmissible,” Paata Daviaia, member of the Council complained. Zurab Tkemaladze, member of the Industrial Party stressed that the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development is actually responsible for selling the buildings from which the IDPs are being evicted. Paata Davitaia added that he could see no sense in inviting the Abkhazian legitimate authorities, which according to the MP have insufficient resources to ensure the safety of IDPs, thus their role in these discussions is zero.

As Giorgi Khuroshvili, the Government’s Parliamentary Secretary explained to the media, Prime Minister Gilauri hadn’t been informed of the council meeting. “The Government of Georgia has already worked out the State Strategy on the IDPs’ issues, which the Minister of Internally Displaced Persons from the Occupied Territories, Accommodation and Refugees presented to the Council a couple of months ago. What’s more Subeliani has also informed the council of the deadline and financial mechanisms for the successful implementation of the strategy,” explained Khuroshvili, adding that if society had particular questions about the issue, the Government of Georgia would have answered them.

“The anti-crisis council has a vague working plan as there hasn’t been any written or oral information on holding the meeting. Thus there was no information on the issues which should have been discussed by the members. We [the governmental Chancellery] should have been informed at least a day in advance and the Government member should receive an invitation,” Khuroshvili added.

Nevertheless the anti-crisis council decided to charge several ministers to discuss the IDPs’ issues before Gilauri manages to “find time” for the MPs. Vera Kobalia, the Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development and Koba Subeliani, Minister of Internally Displaced Persons from the Occupied Territories, Accommodation and Refugees of Georgia, Vano Merabishvili, Minister of Internal Affairs, Kakha Baindurashvili, Minister of Finance as well as the authorities from the legitimate Abkhazian territories will be asked to participate in the next anti-crisis council meeting at the Parliament of Georgia.

Analyst Ramaz Sakvarelidze shared his concern about the IDPs’ issues with The Messenger. “The strategy should be accessible and transparent - what’s the use of the Governmental Strategy, if it stays completely unfamiliar to the public. Such strategic plans should have actually been elaborated during the 1990s when the first wave of IDPs started in Abkhazia. It was the responsibility of the Government at the time an each subsequent Government should make the relevant changes within the document according to the new demands. The fact that we have gathered so many questions about IDPs is a direct result of the vague steps made within the Government of Georgia on this issue,” Sakvarelidze said explaining that the Government can certainly move IDPs from one place to another but all their needs should be taken into consideration.

“If we consider the number of years those IDPs have spent in Tbilisi, we will realise how difficult they may find it to get used to new surroundings, especially in the regions. The villages offered by the Government of Georgia will cause new problems for the IDP families. Some of them have jobs, their children go to schools, some are even ill, etc.,” the analyst told The Messenger. “So it’s the whole Government’s responsibility to ensure the safety of these people. The Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development is responsible for employing these people they have evicted for economic reasons; the Ministry of Finance – for providing them with financial support; the Ministry of Agriculture – for issuing relevant sites for further processing in the regions; Ministry of Education and Science – for ensuring the education of IDP children and youths, etc. What’s more, the Government of Georgia should define the priorities for the state and decide whether it is better to settle the IDPs in the regions where they will have to start a new life or give them appropriate compensation so that they can continue their ordinary life style in the capital,” Sakvarelidze told us.