President Saakashvili opens brick factory, Winemakers' House in Sagarejo, eastern Georgia

Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili today opened a brick factory in Sagarejo, in eastern Georgia's Kakheti province. A total of 120 people will be employed at the factory, which will produce eight kinds of bricks. The Silk Road Group, together with a group of Georgian businessmen, financed the construction of the factory. Later today Saakashvili attended the presentation of the Winemakers' House. The Georgian president promised that the government would not interfere in the activities of business, though he noted that the battle against government officials who break the law would continue. The Winemakers' House is a cultural centre of sorts, where local and foreign tourists can learn about the history of viticulture in Georgia.

"This will be the centre of tourism in Kakheti, from where tourists will set off for other parts of the province. This building has a very interesting history. It had been privatized by a former local administrator who had neither money nor the ability to do anything. He probably thought that he would be able to leave this building to his children and grandchildren.

"But we returned this building to state ownership and then gave it over to businessmen who had a broad vision and a sense of perspective. They turned it into a tourist centre. The Georgian government is now working on a draft law on protecting property.

"We will do all we can for business so that no-one will be able to touch their property. But let no-one, for example, a former minister, former local administrator or other official, hope that we will legalize property they have privatized and that they will be able to leave facilities like this without any function for 200 years. This will not be the case. I know that they have lobbyists in parliament, but no-one will be allowed to keep misappropriated property during my administration. We will adopt such a law that will provide additional guarantees for the protection of property and ensure that everything is transferred to its real owner," Saakashvili said.

The Winemakers' House was built on the initiative of People's Bank and the Teliani Veli wine company.

The Georgian president also visited several other new facilities in the Kakheti province, including the patrol police station in Gurjaani, which reopened after two months of repair works. The station has been re-equipped with modern equipments and now complies with modern standards.

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