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On 5 July 2016, a member of the United National Movement and former Chair of the Government of the Autonomous Republic of Ajara, Levan Varshalomidze, stated: "We left the incumbent government some projects which they did not continue… Coastal reinforcement work was halted. Negotiations with the Asian Development Bank were almost over. It was necessary to finalise these negotiations and sign the contract."

FactCheck

verified the accuracy of the statement.

Coastal reinforcement work in Ajara was halted at the beginning of the 1990's and resumed in 2007 upon the basis of a recommendation issued by Coast Formation Process Research and Management Saknapirdatsva LEPL and with the financial support of the Government of Ajara. However, due to a scarcity of funds, the work had a fragmentary character. In 2009, GEL 130,000 was allocated to build a concrete wall for a reinforcement project for the Chakvi River bank. The following year, the right bank of the Chorokhi River with a total length of 700 metres was reinforced with rip-rap fortifications for which GEL 1.5 million was spent from the state budget. In 2011, the Ministry of Environmental Protection and Natural Resources of the Autonomous Republic of Ajara carried out a targeted coastal reinforcement programme in Adlia which was funded from the budget of the Autonomous Republic of Ajara (GEL 419,000). Coastal reinforcement work was carried out along the Kobuleti coastline at the same time.

Temporary coastal reinforcement work continued throughout 2012 as well. Even though the Autonomous Republic of Ajara was not receiving any kind of financial support from the central government, it was decided to fund the temporary coastal reinforcement work project by GEL 1,525,000.

Coastal reinforcement work in Ajara was fragmentary in 2013 as well. The 2013 report

published by the Ministry of Regional Development and Infrastructure of Georgia said that after tender procedures and with the financial support of the central budget, coastal reinforcement work was to be launched in Batumi, too. In 2013 and 2014, coastal reinforcement work in Ajara was carried out on the Adlia (1 kilometre) and Sarpi (1.5 kilometres) coastlines.

In regard to the Asian Development Bank (ADB), on 21 June 2010, the Government of Georgia signed the Sustainable Urban Transport Investment Programme framework agreement with the Bank which envisaged the allocation of a USD 300 million loan to Georgia. The aim of the Programme was to improve the service quality of urban transport systems. In 2011, the Government of Georgia and the Asian Development Bank signed the Urban Services Improvement Investment Programme framework agreement

for a USD 500 million loan. This Programme envisaged improvements to water supply and sewage systems. As of October 2015, three tranches have already been approved within the aforementioned investment programmes. The projects covered by these tranches are being vigorously implemented in different regions of Georgia. Coastal reinforcement work in Batumi was not envisaged by the aforementioned projects.

The incumbent Government of Georgia continued

cooperation with the Asian Development Bank immediately after coming into power and elaborated new plans of cooperation whilst continuing to work with the Bank on previous projects. In 2015, the Government of Georgia signed a loan agreement with the Bank. This agreement envisages the allocation of USD 20 million within the framework of the fourth tranche to carry out coastal reinforcement work in Batumi. The parties agreed to select 2016 as the starting point for transferring the loan and launching the project. The expected date of the completion of the work is 31 December 2019. Technical, an Italian company, is in charge of the preparation of the design of the coastal reinforcement project.

According to latest information, the Government of Georgia has already received a loan from the Asian Development Bank for funding the programmes included in the fourth tranche of the Sustainable Urban Transport Investment Programme. The respective tender has already been announced and the deadline for submitting tender applications is 29 July 2016. The contract must be completed in 600 days.

Conclusion

Negotiations with the Asian Development Bank (ADB) started during the United National Movement’s rule. The ADB directed a large portion of finances for the improvement of the transport, water supply and energy fields. The loan agreement for coastal reinforcement work in Batumi was concluded in 2015. This fact, together with the other aforementioned information, proves that the incumbent government has not halted coastal reinforcement work in Batumi and continues its cooperation with the ADB.

Therefore, Levan Varshalomidze’s statement is FALSE.