Georgia donor conference gets underway

Hoping to get Georgia back on its feet after this summer’s armed conflict, international donors have gathered for a major fund-raising conference.

The European Commission and World Bank are co-chairing the meeting in Brussels. Dozens of countries and financial institutions have been invited.

France played a key diplomatic role in resolving the crisis and its foreign minister Bernard Kouchner helped get today’s gathering underway.

“Nothing is more important than the stabilisation and rehabilitation of the Georgian economy,” he told those present.
“What is at stake exceeds even political problems.”

Experts believe the Caucasus country will need more than two billion euros to recover from its conflict with Russia.

While mainly military targets were hit, Georgia also reported damage to civilian infrastructure. Today’s meeting aims to mobilise help for rebuilding work and resettling refugees forced from their homes.

It comes the day after Moscow confirmed it would permanently maintain military bases in separatist South Ossetia and Abkhazia.

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