February 28, 2014 - 14:30 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili pledged to develop all the regions of the Republic equally, including Samtskhe-Javakheti, during an address at the Atlantic Council held as part of his first official visit to the United States this week, reported the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA).
"We have a plan to develop all regions and without making any separations or any discrimination," explained Prime Minister Garibashvili. "Please be sure that I treat Samtskhe-Javakheti as any other region. Samtskhe-Javakheti is my region. I mean all country is my regions. I don’t separate it from other regions."
The comment came in response to a question by ANCA Fellow Lilit Gasparyan, who noted the poor economic situation in Samtskhe-Javakheti prompted by past discriminatory practices. "To correct this, would you agree to have a portion of the international assistance, in this case U.S. aid, be earmarked clearly for the socio-economic development of the Samtskhe-Javakheti region," asked Gasparyan.
"We welcome Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili's public affirmation, here in Washington, of his government's prioritization of economic development in Javakhk and all the regions of Georgia, and hope that this constructive commitment will translate into concrete action, including the acceptance of development assistance being offered by Armenian communities around the world," noted ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian.
During his visit to Washington, DC Prime Minister Garibashvili met with President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden, prior to offering remarks on February 25th at Atlantic Council. The Prime Minister also spoke about Georgia’s European Integration Process. and confirmed that the EU’s Association Agreement with a Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area Component will likely be signed in July.