Lord Harries of Pentregarth asked Her Majesty’s Government what is their assessment of the current situation in Georgia
The Bishop of Wakefield asked a supplementary question:
The Lord Bishop of Wakefield: My Lords, I begin by declaring an interest as the Church of England’s lead bishop on Georgian affairs. Last year, I had the good fortune to meet the outgoing President Saakashvili and, independently, some of his associates. I then met a number of members of the present Government. The antagonism could be felt in both directions and was seriously affecting stability and development. The previous Government had done some good work on corruption, tax collection and so on. If the economy is to prosper, the next thing that needs to happen is a building up of the infrastructure. Can Her Majesty’s Government assure noble Lords that the new Government will do that?
Lord Wallace of Saltaire: My Lords, on my last visit to Tbilisi I had lunch with MPs from both the governing party and the opposition party. That would not have been possible in Armenia or Azerbaijan. One has to put these things in perspective. Yes, of course we are assisting with developing the infrastructure in Georgia. The European neighbourhood partnership is putting a lot of money into Georgia and, of course, BP and other foreign investors are also assisting with the development of the country.