'I spent a great deal of time talking to (Deputy Director of the European Section of the State Department) Thomas Adams and convinced him not to reduce material aid to Georgia,' said Eduard Shevardnadze in a press conference yesterday in respond to US intentions to almost halve material aid to Georgia beginning next year.
Adams expressed the intention to cut aid in a meeting with Shevardnadze on September 24. He said the reasons for the possible cuts were the low level of economic reforms coupled with the high level of corruption in Georgia. The state chancellery in Georgia told Rosbalt that since 1992 the US has aided Georgia in the amount of approximately USD 1 billion, and USD 100 million this year alone. The cut would be most felt in the fiscal and energy sectors of Georgia. The dissatisfaction of foreign governments and international lending institutions to the high level of corruption in Georgia seems to have reached a climax. In the last 1.5 years Georgia has been deprived of credits from the International Monetary Fund including financial support for the overcoming poverty program in the amount of USD 30 million. Moreover, the EU did not finance the Georgian food program for USD 27 million and the Dutch government refused to allocate the USD 35 million it promised. The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development also stopped allocating USD 46 million to reconstruct the largest hydro-electric station in the country InguriGES.
The Ilyushin 20 (Il-20) military electronic reconnaissance aircraft of the Russian Air Force with 14 servicemen on board that went off radar screens off the coast of Syria was shot down by Syrian air defense systems over the Mediterranean Sea