In a speech delivered on April 2 in Zugdidi, a town in Samegrelo region close to breakaway Abkhazia, PM Irakli Garibashvili spoke of region’s infrastructure development and said that it is Samegrelo where “foundation for return of Abkhazia should be laid.”
Garibashvili, who plans to tour country’s regions ahead of the June 15 local elections, visited Samegrelo and Adjara regions in western Georgia on April 2-3.
“First of all, we should rely on stance, which our brothers, Abkhazians, have preserved towards Samegrelo,” he said in his speech in Zugdidi. “Together with our brothers, Abkhazians, we will find a dignified way out of this situation. Our key goal will be to build mutual confidence. Abkhazia should return to Georgia of its own free will and what is the most important, an aspiration for reliable, real and desirable life should bring Abkhazians to us. Only an attractive perspective of economic, social and cultural development should restore links.”
“Prosperity of Samegrelo should convince Abkhazians that their isolation from Georgia means turning their back to their better and safe future. As soon as we turn Georgia into a really democratic, European state, our brothers, Abkhazians will want to be with us instead of looking for shelter with a foreign country,” he said.
He also spoke about the need to launch development of port infrastructure in Anaklia, close to breakaway Abkhazia; the project was also pursued by the previous government.
“As you see we do not say no to those projects, which were launched by the previous authorities. Essential for us is to have projects which are well-thought-out and which can bring real benefit to the country,” Garibashvili said.
“It is especially important that development of coastline is being carried out close to Abkhazia. Development of infrastructure under international standards and the progress in general cannot but be interesting for our Abkhaz brothers,” the Georgian PM said.
He said that construction of a new hospital, which will also serve as a medical training center, will be launched in Zugdidi this summer, which is expected to be concluded in two years.
“The clinic will provide services to both the local population and residents of Abkhazia; it will be a significant relief for the population of Abkhazia,” Garibashvili said.
The PM also stressed that people displaced from Abkhazia as a result of conflict of early 1990s should be able to return back to their homes and also added that “before they return back to temporarily lost homes”, the government remains committed to providing durable housing for the internally displaced persons including through construction of apartment buildings in the Samegrelo region.
Also on April 2 PM Garibashvili opened a four-kilometer road in Khurcha. PM said that this road “will significantly ease movement for the citizens living beyond Enguri” river in Abkhazia.