PM Garibashvili meets Pankisi Gorge elders

The PM promised Pankisi residents the state would create better living conditions in the Gorge; Photo by PM's pres office, 28 Oct 2014 - 19:30, Tbilisi,Georgia

Georgia’s Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili has met with members of the Council of Elders of the Pankisi Gorge, a valley in northeastern Georgia that bordered the Chechnyan republic of the Russian Federation.

A separate meeting was also held today with family members of the victims of the 2012 Lopota Incident - a special operation against an illegal armed group in the Kakheti region of eastern Georgia.

The PM told the victims’ families that the investigation into the case was still ongoing. He also discussed the recently implemented and planned large-scale infrastructural programs with the Pankisi elders.

Members of the Council of Elders of the Pankisi Gorge; Photo by PM's press office.

The Pankisi Gorge was a place for a major military engagement in 2003. The Gorge was also home to Tarkhan Batirashvili, also known as Abu Omar al-Shishani, a military leader of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

The Gorge residents often complained about the lack of opportunities for local youth. The PM promised Pankisi residents the state would do its best to create better living conditions in the Gorge.

"We are working on a special program for the Pankisi Gorge,” the PM said.

"We have studied the potential and resources of the Gorge and we want to create enterprises here. Our main goal is the Gorge not to go empty. The Government is obliged to create proper conditions for you, which will create new jobs.”

Women from Pankisi; Photo by PM's press office.

Garibashvili said a new high class gym would be opened in the Gorge so local youth would be given an opportunity to engage in sports.

He also said Pankisi roads, electric power system, schools and kindergartens would be soon rehabilitated.   

"We will implement a number of plans in the Gorge. We will tackle a number of problems and you will be more ensured that you are not alone, the Government is beside you,” Garibashvili addressed the elders.

The meeting between the PM and the Kakheti locals was held after Garibashvili opened a Community Centre in Duisi village in the Akhmeta Municipality in Kakheti.

The centre was a place where more than 200 most in-demand state services as well as free internet, library and discussion room were available for local residents. There were 12 such centres in Georgia, and four more were planned to open by the end of this year.

The PM said the centres aimed to develop Georgia’s rural areas and establish electronic governance in local self-governments.