AKHALKALAKI (A-Info)–The Georgian government’s governor in the Samtskhe-Javakhk region Teymuraz Mosiashvili–met on October 31 with the local NGO’s to discuss regional issues. More than twenty NGO’s and news organizations attended the meeting during which Mosiashvili urged them to cooperate with the government.
In his address–Mosiashvili pointed out the importance of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline. "This pipeline will ensure economic growth in the country," he said.
The pipeline is expected to go through 24 local villages. Under the contract–some $2.5 million are to be released to the local administration to resolve issues.
Mosiashvili went on to say that the settlemen’s will no longer have the problem of heating–putting an end to mass logging.
But there are concerns that the oil and gas from the Caspian will be piped straight to western markets–bypassing local communities completely.
There are also ecological and other concerns tied to the project. The project is criticized for its potential damage to the climate. The Green Party of Georgia questioned the long-term developmental benefits of the project–saying that the project is not able to clearly demonstrate positive local and regional development impacts over the next 30 years–which is the planned lifetime of the pipeline.
Mosiashvili said the UN is planning to open its office in the region–adding that the opening of this office would help create "a positive image" of the region.
Asked about the pull out of the Russian base in Akhalkalaki–the administrative center of the region–the governor refused to discuss the issue saying that it was not on the agenda. The base currently provides stable jobs to hundreds of locals.
Robert Muradian of the Charles Aznavour charity voiced his concerns on the differing views of Georgians and Armenia’s in the region. "If things go on liked this–we are going to face many problems," he said.
Mosiashvili dismissed the question–saying that violation of Armenians rights are rare.