The Prime Minister of Georgia clarified his statement on violations at nightclubs under the Rose Square in order to right its subsequent misinterpretations.
According to Giorgi Kvirikashvili, a lamentable reality is found at nightclubs, most of which are concentrated in this area.
"I mentioned that ethnic Georgian men are denied entrance. Somehow, it was misinterpreted as though I wanted to make sure Georgian men are admitted into nightclubs. No, my friends! It is unfortunate that this is how some have interpreted my words. What bothers me is that prostitution, involving, among others, our underage citizens, is practiced at these establishments. No Georgian man will ever tolerate what is happening there, and this is why Georgian men are not admitted into these places. This is the harsh reality facing us, and I instructed the Interior Minister to take action against this reality. I also asked my Human Rights and Gender Equality Assistant Sopo Japaridze to study this issue in terms of possible violations of the Antidiscrimination Law, because only women are admitted into these establishments, while men are denied entrance. For those who drew, and intended to draw, wrong conclusions, I emphasize that denying entrance to Georgian men is a problem only because underage Georgian women are engaged in prostitution at these establishments. It is a big problem. Moreover, it insults me as a son of this country, which is why it is crucial to solve this problem as soon as possible," the Prime Minister stated.
The Head of Government pointed out that emotions must be restrained, and everything must be done in full compliance with the law, so that only state institutions may address this issue, ensuring against spontaneous attempts to deal with it.
"I understand very well that this is a very sensitive issue for everyone, including me, but it is about a violation of the law, and no one is allowed to violate Georgian legislation, including foreign investors in those establishments. According to my information, many violations are committed there, and prostitution is illegal in Georgia. It is especially grievous because underage women are engaged in prostitution. To illustrate and underscore this point, I made reference to women being admitted exclusively and men being denied entrance, because it must tear at a Georgian man's heart to see what is happening there. It is also a matter of national pride. We must address this problem, and we must ensure against overwhelming emotions triggering spontaneous efforts to solve this issue. On the contrary, I made this issue public and instructed state institutions because it is their job to solve this problem in compliance with the law," the Prime Minister said.
The Head of Government also clarified the primary role of the Minister of Interior in solving the problem. Since the issue of quite multifaceted, however, the Prime Minister's Assistant on Human Rights and Gender Equality Sopo Japaridze will also engage in this process.
The Government of Georgia will procure the 12-kilometer Vhumateleti-Khevi roadwork. As Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili stated at today's Government meeting, 800 kilometers of roads are planned to be paved over the next four years under the spatial planning component of the Government's four-point reform agenda.
"We will procure the roadwork on the 12-kilometer section which is a very important part of the East-West Highway, and its implementation will begin as early as January," Giorgi Kvirikashvili stated.
At today's meeting, the Government will make a decision on opening three new plants in Georgia.
Under the Produce in Georgia program, a building material factory will open in the village of Aghdgomliantkari, Mtskheta Municipality (1,300,000 GEL in investment).
A hazelnut and bay laurel processing plant will be established in Kveda Chkhorotzku, Chkhorotzku Municipality (130,000 GEL in investments).
Under the program for supporting tea production, a tea processing plant will be created in the village of Nagomari, Ozurgeti Municipality, and the implementing company will receive 25 hectares of land to lease.
According to the Prime Minister of Georgia, the creation of each of these plants is of crucial importance, because these projects initiated by the Government enable people to start their own businesses and employ dozens of local residents.
"These are vitally important projects in terms of ensuring local production potential, and the state continues its efforts in this direction. Importantly, we should always remember that this local potential will never work unless we all, Georgia's population, fathom that purchasing local products leads to additional incomes for Georgian households, a hot meal in the family of a local employee, a parent bringing home goods after hours. We should always remember this link when buying local products," Giorgi Kvirikashvili stated.
The Syrian government has suspended the evacuation of civilians and fighters from eastern Aleppo, accusing rebels of breaking terms of the ceasefire. Government sources said rebels had blocked the evacuation of civilians from two pro-government towns elsewhere in Syria, agreed under the deal.
Meanwhile buses carrying people from eastern Aleppo were fired upon. At least 6,000 people have left the city since Thursday, but the UN says at least 50,000 are still trapped. Syria's army, backed by Russia, has taken nearly all rebel-held districts in eastern Aleppo.
The operation to move thousands of people from the areas of eastern Aleppo under attack from the government is extremely delicate. World Health Organisation official Elizabeth Hoff said the planned evacuation of the sick and wounded had been halted on Friday on orders from Russian forces, and that no reason had been given.
However, Syrian state media said the mission was suspended after rebels tried to smuggle heavy weapons and captives out with them as they left the besieged enclaves.
Government's Budget for 2017 was approved in Parliament, which is a budget focusing on fiscal sustainability, rapid development, and fast economic growth. You are aware of the debates in the country on our proposed budget, which directly reflects the goals and steps we take.
I would like to say a few words about our plans and the goals targeted by our actions, also about the ongoing processes in our geographic neighborhood.
Firstly, I would like to say about the depreciation of GEL that, in our geographic area, practically every currency of our partner countries is declining. Looking at the percentage, which our opponents often appeal to, and which is nothing but a political manipulation to score points, all major currencies have dropped 100%: the Turkish lira, Ukrainian hryvna (over 200% depreciation, Russian ruble (within 90%), Azerbaijani manat (over 100%). There have been talks about the year 2012 since which GEL has dropped 60-65%. It is not good, though I would like to say that Georgia, with the dynamics of its economic development, and despite all challenges and the social conditions of our population, our country, given its level of development, is in good shape to talk about crucially important development plans for the future.
Every step we take focuses on higher dynamics of development compared to the countries in our neighborhood. It is a regular competition; Georgia is in competition of investments, which is why our competitiveness indicators must be better to attract into Georgia larger portions of investments made in the region. Consequently, we need to focus on directions that can ensure more ways to generate foreign currency and attract investments, and it is to this end that we direct our steps.
Of course, we can take the financial resources the Government has every year and channel a greater portion of the budget toward social issues, but we have a balanced approach. Our budget seeks to put an end to the problems that we, by the way, have been facing for decades, running in a vicious cycle, to embark irreversibly on a path of solving the country's economic problems. It involves our economy's structural improvement and bettering; it involves the development of such directions as export-oriented production; it involves developing the services that also focus on generating foreign currency, tourism predominantly. Significant resources are being invested in tourism infrastructure. Ultimately, we will not be independent from other processes, but we can say as that, with high development dynamics in the region, Georgia will have higher development indicators. Even with a poor economic situation in the region, we, thanks to the steps we are taking, will nonetheless have better indicators.
We understand the problems facing our population, and we understand them better than anyone else does, by the way. It is very easy for our opponents to score political points in times like these. The situation will surely change, because we feel responsible for every step we take. We are not talking about inventing the wheel. We are not doing anything innovative in this case; we only take steps that effect greater economic dynamics, greater development, and greater growth.
Georgia is about to launch a very important process of development. It will not be easy, but it will make our economy healthier. It will place Georgia among the developed Eastern European countries and rid our citizens of the problems we are discussing today. We assume full responsibility for this process, and I would like to urge our citizens once again to maintain reasonable views on this process and keep in mind that the Government is taking a number of necessary steps.
We are carrying out a 10% optimization. Some suggest cutting expenses by 30%-and it is mathematically feasible-but it is a completely irresponsible approach, which we will not take. We are cutting expenses at the level that can maintain the dynamics of healthy development. Similarly, we are liberalizing taxation in the directions that will have the highest positive impact on the dynamics of economic growth. We are increasing taxes in the directions that will have the least negative impact on our economic growth. Every step we take seeks to ensure the right development process in the country, to better our economy structurally, to better our balance of trade, to mitigate our dependence on foreign currency fluctuation, so that our citizens may finally disregard currency exchange rates and, instead, focus on price changes and inflation.
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.
“We are waiting for cooperation with the new Parliament of Georgia and the new Government”-this statement was made by US Ambassador to Georgia Ian Kelly today in Kutaisi.
As the Ambassador said, being in Kutaisi is a great honor for him.
“This day is too important for Georgia because this is a first day of Parliamentary session. We are waiting for cooperation with the new Parliament of Georgia and the new Government. We already have deep cooperation with Georgian government and we are ready for future acts,”-Ian Kelly said.
We are gathered for the last Executive Government Meeting today, until the new composition of the Government of Georgia gets endorsed. I wish to briefly overview the past four years that we have worked together performing tasks that can be definitely labeled as the most significant for our country and our people. Therefore, I wish to greatly thank you all for this.
I wish to particularly stress the contribution in the breakthrough of our country made by Mr. Bidzina Ivanishvili, first Prime Minister of Georgia from our team. It was an essential transformation of national policy and governance of our country. I wish to sincerely thank him on behalf of all of us. I also wish to thank my predecessor, Mr. Irakli Gharibashvili and everyone else working within the Cabinet of Ministers at different occasions doing the most important job for the country.
What makes me most proud is that a human being has always been the prime and supreme value for our Government. Every step we took together was aimed towards, about, around and for humans. Healthcare Reform Agenda was oriented at them. It enabled hundreds of thousands of our citizens to seek medical treatment for gratis and today we have healthier people great merits to this initiative.
Another milestone achievement of our efforts was aimed at the protection of the socially vulnerable groups and internally displaced people. We always sympathized with regular people and their concerns. Moreover, no person is nowadays afraid of openly expressing his ideas and making choice. Judiciary has undergone a considerable progress. Media is genuinely free. All of this taken together is indeed a huge progress. Our country has advanced this much and duly demonstrated it to the international community.
Georgia evidences progress practically in every dimension according to the rating systems of international institutions - be that democracy or economic development measurement indicators.
Also, voluminous success has been achieved in our quest for European and Euro-Atlantic integration. Georgia signed the Association Agreement (AA) with the European Union (EU), including the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA). Indeed, it opens entirely new opportunities to Georgia and to the private sector in our country. In addition, we made significant trade links with the East, which is equally and tremendously important indeed.
Of course, there were a number of serious challenges within these four years - both within the country and overseas. We always managed to address them with a shared effort.
Being the Prime Minister of Georgia, I take great pride in every single day spent with each one of you. What makes us significant is the foundation made to the Four Point Reform Agenda, which should serve as a solid ground for the vast economic breakthrough of our country in the coming four years, fundamental transformation of the education system, modernization of the nation-wide infrastructure, development of spatial planning and further more improvement and transformation of the governance system. It will indeed bring more prosperity to each individual citizen of our country and our mission will be met - to let every person embrace the significance and outcome of changes happening and anticipated in the country.
Great trust expressed by citizens of our country by voting for the Georgian Dream in the recent general elections was a huge success on its own merits within the context of democratic development of Georgia. We should by all means translate it into the well-being of each individual living in this country, making it clear and vivid for everyone - thus leading to essential, quality adjustment. Once again, let me thank you all. Let me also wish a brighter future to our country.
Mikheil Saakashvili, a former president of Georgia who was brought into the Ukraine government to set an example of transparency and clean government, resigned on Monday and accused Ukraine’s president of supporting corruption.
Mr. Saakashvili, who was appointed governor of the Black Sea region of Odessa by President Petro O. Poroshenko in May 2015, said he was leaving because of the central government’s unrelenting obstruction of his efforts to root out graft.
“The president personally supports two clans,” Mr. Saakashvili told a group of journalists. “Odessa can only develop once Kiev will be freed from these bribe takers, who directly patronize organized crime and lawlessness.”
In a terse statement, Mr. Poroshenko’s office said it would accept Mr. Saakashvili’s resignation once it had been submitted by the cabinet. In Odessa, Mr. Saakashvili and a team of young reformists tried to tackle the acceptance of bribes in the corruption-plagued customs service and to make government services more responsive and transparent.
Yet, government officials in Kiev thwarted those efforts, Mr. Saakashvili said, because they interfered with the various enrichment schemes that allowed many of them to amass fortunes. Mr. Saakashvili said his plan to open a new customs service center in Odessa was undone when the money allocated for its refurbishment was stolen.
He noted that some top-level government figures listed millions of dollars in savings in cash and other assets in financial disclosures that were mandated by the International Monetary Fund. One minister declared bottles of wine worth thousands of dollars each.
Mr. Saakashvili, a bitter opponent of Russia and its president, Vladimir V. Putin, was one of several foreign politicians and specialists who were brought to Ukraine after the 2014 pro-Western revolution to start a broad modernization of the country.
But there was always deep skepticism about whether Ukraine was capable of such a transformation, and many of those figures have since become disillusioned and resigned. In February, the economy minister, Aivaras Abromavicius stepped down, saying that he did not want to act as a “smoke screen” for corruption. The American-born finance minister, Natalie A. Jaresko, left the Ukrainian government in April.
Taming corruption was widely seen as crucial for proving the legitimacy of Ukraine’s pro-Western leadership, especially in contrast with Mr. Putin’s Russia.
In October, Mr. Saakashvili’s political party in Georgia suffered a painful defeat in parliamentary elections, ending the prospect of his return to that country, where he faces multiple charges that he says are politically motivated.
Standing in front of Odessa’s seaport, Mr. Saakashvili signaled that he would continue to be involved in Ukrainian politics. One of his allies, Ukraine’s former deputy prosecutor David Sakvarelidze, recentlystarted a new political party that cites Mr. Saakashvili as its “ideologist