Authorities Promise to Reduce Radicalism by Frequently Visiting Pankisi Gorge

Georgian authorities visited Pankisi Gorge, which is considered one of the recruiting territories for ISIS fighters, to meet with local youth and get acquainted with their problems.

The concerns of the local population from Omalo, Duisi and Jokolo villages were related to social problems and employment of the youth. The local population requested sports infrastructure, water supply system and electricity from the authorities. Other problematic issues include kindergartens, schools and roads. Religious issues were also discussed in the context of social problems.

The Defense Minister of Georgia Tinatin Khidasheli asked the locals to incorporate their ideas in projects in order to get a timely response on their requests. According to Khidasheli, actual joint projects with the government will be implemented.

“I was a frequent visitor and I can often visit the Pankisi Gorge if we have concrete proposals, concrete vision, recommendations – what can we do today, tomorrow and in the nearest future in order to reduce radicalism and return the youth to the relationship and customs they have always been proud of,” Khidasheli said.

Prior to the meeting, representatives of the Government visited the region, saw the Omalo School, a damaged Club building, and the Library, and promised the population solve their problems.

The Defense Minister promised locals that the Ministry would send Georgian and English Languages teachers of the Kakheti Regional Development Center.

On the initiative of the Defense Ministry, specialists will be assigned to prepare incoming students of the National Defence Academy for the National Exams. The Defense Minister plans to visit Pankisi in the beginning of February.

In addition to the official government visit, modern writers and poets also visited the Gorge as part of the project 'Live Books', to introduce their works to the local population.

11 January 2016 15:13