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Investment, De-occupation and Euro-integration

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Friday, September 10
Georgia's 'Ambassadorial' ended on September 9. During the final day of the event Georgian diplomats received final directives and indications regarding the country's priorities for the year ahead. Attracting foreign investment, de-occupation of the breakaway regions and the continued movement towards Euro-Atlantic organisations were named the main priorities for the diplomats. On the third day of the conference, the delegates were addressed by the President of Georgia, Ministers of Finance, Interior and Probation, Penitentiary and Legal Assistance.

“We have been given concrete tasks from the President and a firm period in which those tasks should be fulfilled, that is attracting investments, the de-occupation issue and some other important issues. Holding the event now is important as the UN General Assembly is approaching, the NATO summit is planned for the end of November and the OSCE summit, which is very important, is scheduled for the first half of December. The President considers that Georgia should present itself better to the international community,” Georgia’s representative to NATO, Gega Mgaloblishvili stated after the diplomats' meeting with the President, Mikheil Saakashvili.

During his time with the diplomats, Finance Minister, Kakha Baindurashvili pointed out that the attraction of investments and collaboration with donor organisations were the main issues. He noted, “I have talked about the investment environment and informed them in what ways investments might be brought into the country. The second issue of my report was related to the new tax code, about which our diplomats received detailed information and the third area was collaboration and working with donors.”

Collaboration with analogous institutions in foreign countries is necessary for to improve Georgia's penitentiary system – the Minister of Probation, Penitentiary and Legal Assistance, according to Khatuna Kalmakhelidze. She reported, “The ongoing reforms in the penitentiary system are very important for coming closer to European standards in this area. The ministry really needs to share experiences and collaborate with similar institutions in foreign countries. Also the financial support of international organisations and foreign countries for complete fulfillment of the current reforms is important.”

OSCE Secretary General Marc Perrin de Brichambaut also participated in this year’s event. He made a special statement in which he said, “The focus of my talks during my visit to Georgia was to explain the OSCE's efforts within the international Geneva discussions co-chaired by the OSCE, the EU and UN. We are trying to promote dialogue among all participants in the Geneva talks that could be conducive to the agreement of practical activities on the ground in the fields of security and humanitarian assistance. This requires mutual respect, understanding and restraint, not only from officials but from the media as well.” He also talked about his visit to the border villages of Odzisi and Tserovani in occupied Akhalgori, where IDPs from the August 2008 war was have been settled, “I also traveled to Odzisi village, close to the administrative boundary line, together with the European Union Monitoring Mission. I expressed support for the EU Mission, with which the OSCE co-operates under the framework of the Incident Prevention and Response Mechanism established by the Geneva discussions. I reaffirmed the urgent need to resume the activities of this mechanism, for the benefit of all communities affected by the August 2008 conflict. In addition, I paid a visit to a camp of Internally Displaced Persons in Tserovani together with Koba Subeliani, Minister for IDPs, Accommodation and Refugees”.

Accordion to the OSCE Secretary General, his meetings in Tbilisi were informative and constructive and he looks forward to the continuation of this dialogue at the OSCE Summit in Astana in December.

Analyst Irakli Sesiashvili told The Messenger, “The priorities named by the present authorities and directives given to the diplomats, that is the attraction of investments and participation in Euro-Atlantic space, are unlikely to materialise. As I have often mentioned, the present authority has not created the right environment for business development. To register business in a day means nothing at all, if the environment and assistance is inadequate. As for participation in NATO, I can say that it will be more of a political decision of the member countries based on their countries internal interests. It is more possible that NATO will find some alternative outcome of the situation.”

Analyst Nika Chitadze does not expect foreign observers to be allowed into the occupied regions, “One of the points in the state strategy document concerning the occupied regions of Georgia concerns the foreign observer missions and their admission into the occupied regions of Georgia. However, in my opinion, looking at the present reality, neither Russia, nor the so called authorities of the de facto regions will allow them into those regions.”