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Saakashvili discusses various issues at Sataplia

By Salome Modebadze
Monday, December 20
President of Georgia Mikheil Saakashvili chaired the Government Session at Sataplia reserve on December 17. Surveying the site, Saakashvili spoke of the great tourist potential of the Prometheus Cave for Georgia. “We have gathered here today to discuss the serious issues here not to see the reality in colors or escape from it,” the President told his colleagues. Giving examples of Switzerland and other countries, Saakashvili stressed the necessity for providing strong rescue teams with trained dogs and helicopters for the whole mountain complex to minimize the danger of tragedies at mountain resorts which, according to Saakashvili, will have millions of visitors in five years' time.

Once again highlighting the merit of the late Ambassador Richard Holbrooke, Saakashvili spoke of the great importance of the US diplomat and the terrible loss for Georgia from his death. Recollecting Holbrooke’s support towards our country and his prediction for the Russian-Georgian war, the Georgian President said he remembered well how the “giant of the US diplomacy” was warning that the Russian special task groups had been backing up the anti-Governmental rallies against the Government. “When Russia had been acting according to its propagandistic plan in 2008, Richard Holbrooke had arrived to Georgia just as soon as the war had started. Located at hotel Kopala, Holbrooke had been in touch with all the media sources and played the decisive role in protecting the Georgian statehood,” said the President, emphasizing the importance of his support to the world press and world diplomacy.

Recollecting one of their last meetings, Saakashvili remembered how Holbrooke had encouraged the Georgian President that the economical safety of Georgia would have been the insurance for a strong statehood. Thus, comparing Georgia with the countries of Europe and former Soviet Union with no mineral oil, Saakashvili spoke of Georgia’s success in its economical development. “Our main challenge today is inflation not the economical promotion. Prices are continuously “biting” our people but if someone says that the Government is responsible for raising the costs of petrol and other products, they are fooling the people,” the President said, explaining that the Government would have distributed petrol for free if they had some.

Talking of the negative trends in the world market, Saakashvili worried about the rising inflation which, according to the Georgian President, affects the prices of products. “I don’t want to lie to my people but the maximum of what the Government of a small country can do with its limited levers is to plan the project easing the impact of inflation on people,” he said explaining that no one throughout the world can feel absolutely safe in these hard economic conditions.

“Producing more agricultural products brings more income to people working in this field but those unemployed people living in cities need special programs with better tariffs. We can’t make miracles but we can think of compensations and assistances for socially unprotected people, especially in winter,” he said stressing that the expenses of the President’s Administration, Government and Tbilisi City Hall had been seriously decreased. Advising the Ministers to be oriented on hiring only qualified staff, the President spoke of the decreasing rate of corruption in our country. Talking on the trend of constant detention of the Forestry Department representatives, Saakashvili worried that this Department remains the most corrupted office in Georgia with constant cases of detention.

“Despite the lies spreading through various media sources people are aware of the truth even without the press. That’s why I want to reorganize the Ministry of Environment Protection and Natural Resources (MOE) which faces serious problems, especially in the Forestry Department,” Saakashvili addressed Goga Khachidze the Minister of MOE and initiated development of forestry as well-controlled business oriented on people’s welfare.

Denying the rumors that by building the new Government Office in Kutaisi they were trying to “escape” from Tbilisi, Saakashvili said that they would both stay in the capital and temporarily crawl to Kutaisi “because the Georgian Government should be everywhere.” But before the Government Office in Kutaisi is finished, Saakashvili suggested holding Government meetings at the colorful halls of Sataplia or Prometheus caves.

Analyst Gia Khukhashvili compared the Government Sessions with exotic games. “Tastes differ but when I do personally watch the Government sessions at various places I feel part of an Alfred Hitchcock film but the last session had been a whole new world in Georgian politics,” Khukhashvili told The Messenger discouraging the “scenario” of the last session at Sataplia reserve which would have belonged to a new “producer”. “Foreigners would simply be surprised by this issue but we, unfortunately, have got used to all this. I would only say one thing regarding the statements made by the President: he has named such an unimaginable number of tourists arriving to Georgia that our Government will need to build new caves to show them,” the analyst told us.