President Saakashvili said that he had instructed Interior Minister Vano Merabishvili to oversee post-conflict reconstruction projects, but added that the Anti-Crisis Council would be a major decision-making body.
Saakashvili also said he was ready to give some executive powers to the Council.
The Council was proposed by President Saakashvili in late August to oversee the distribution of humanitarian aid. The president invited opposition parties and civil society organization to participate in the Council’s activities. Some parties, mainly from the parliamentary minority, have agreed to cooperate, but most opposition parties have refused.
Speaking at a meeting with the local administration in the town of Gori on September 10, Saakashvili said that an EU-brokered deal would enable about 20,000 displaced persons to return to their homes in areas north of of Gori after Russian troops withdraw from there within a month.
He also said that others, unable to immediately return, especially those living in tents, should be provided with housing before the winter.
“Before the winter they all should have new houses,” Saakashvili said. “This is a difficult task.”
“I have tasked Interior Minister Vano Merabishvili to lead and coordinate these reconstruction works. But the main decision should be made by the Anti-Crisis Council,” he said.
“I am ready to delegate some of the executive government’s powers to this Council, including the right to sign [documents]; it can send representatives to various ministries; we should work together; we should rebuild the country together and we should show the aggressors that Georgia is united and effective,” Saakashvili added.
While in Gori, a town that suffered a lot from the war, President Saakashvili said he had made a decision a month ago to withdraw troops from the town in the face of invading Russian forces, in order to avoid “casualties and destruction.”
“I know that many residents of Gori might think that the government left them alone to face the invaders; but any fighting here would have destroyed the city,” Saakashvili said. “Unfortunately, a huge [Russian] force advanced so quickly that we failed to evacuate people in an organized manner; but I think that the governor [of Shida Kartli region in which Gori is the major town] worked very well.”