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What has been done for diaspora?

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Tuesday, September 26
Georgia’s Foreign Minister Mikheil Janelidze has briefed lawmakers at Parliament’s Diaspora and Caucasus Affairs Committee over the government activities for Georgians living abroad.

The Minister spoke about the actions for the diaspora over the past nine months after the Diaspora Ministry was abolished and its responsibilities were taken over by the Foreign Ministry.

The Minister stated that his body has studied the situation abroad, the problems facing the Georgian diaspora, and has launched steps to settle any and all complications.

The Minister named the introduction of the Georgian language pilot program at Greek schools, as well as a decree in Turkey for Georgian citizens seeking jobs, as examples of his ministry’s success.

Janelidze stated that diaspora days have been festively held in many countries as well as diaspora forums, and for the first time special working groups were created.

“The Foreign Ministry uses recommendations from the working groups for its action plans to help with diaspora problems,” Janelidze said.

Janelidze stated that a special commission was still active under the ministry, which specified the status of Georgians living abroad and issued special documents for them.

“The commission has already held eleven meetings, and more than 80 people were granted the compatriot status,” Janelidze stressed.

The opposition parties attending the report presentation grilled the minister for ignoring their requests to come to Parliament and answer the opposition’s questions.

A member of the United National Movement party, Salome Samadashvili, stated she planned to sue Minister Janelidze if he ignores the opposition’s demands to come to Parliament and answer their questions.

“It is the obligation of ministers to answer the questions of lawmakers who are elected by the people,” Samadashvili said.

Janelidze and the majority lawmakers stated in response that unlike the United National Movement government, the Georgian Dream leadership is “open to questions” and leading figures do not avoid appearing in Parliament.

Janelidze advised the opposition to focus on public problems to earn back voters’ trust.