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Georgian President Tells Ministers Not To Hide

President Saakashvili (file photo) (RFE/RL) 2 November 2005 -- Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili today admonished his ministers for staying aloof from ordinary citizens.

Addressing a cabinet meeting, Saakashvili urged his ministers to answer phone calls and use public transportation instead of "hiding in their offices."

"You're not the emperors of Abyssinia. I don't want to blame anyone in particular -- I know there are exceptions, too --but you must remember that you are running serious, but small ministries of a small country. You must always give answers to citizens. You must always remain close to the people," Saakashvili said.

Saakashvili, whose remarks were broadcast live on Georgia's main television channels, also criticized excessive bureaucracy for hampering the development of private business. He said bureaucrats should fear punishment for taking bribes, not for taking initiatives.


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