Georgia in World Media

BBC Had an Interview with Mikheil Saakashvili

The President of Georgia Mikheil Saakashvili answered the questions of BBC correspondent Katty Kay in live.

Among the dignitaries who came for today's memorial was Mikheil Saakashvili. He is the President of Georgia. He joins me now in the studio.

President Saakashvili thank you so much for coming here.

He was of course a big man who owned a big personality. I think when Americans think of Holbrooke they think of Pakistan and Afghanistan, when Europeans think of him they think of Bosnia, but not very many people think of Georgia. What did he mean to your country?

Certainly, People in Georgia think about him and he was amazing and charming person and one of the greatest person I think not only met but also heard about.

In 2008 when Georgia's capital was besieged basically Russian troops approaching, all the forecast was very gloomy and he came in with one of the last flights.

He tirelessly was standing on the roof of downtown hotels and giving interviews to every world media basically telling the truth, telling what was happening , what was he seeing and he basically predicted that war in 2006.

I remember really some think of Georgia that it didn't matter; these are the games of big players' and the small country we shouldn't bother about it.

Richard Holbrooke was an idealist but he proved that an idealist could be efficient.

I remember troops were coming and people were saying what should we do and someone advising Government should leave and there were some people advising because Vladimir Putin promised that he hang me by some part of my body, you should quit the place and Richard was standing by me and we were not going anywhere.

But he was there and he was saying to me: "I am standing here with you , will be till the end, but you should fight if they come here you fight till the last man last drop of blood you fight for your freedom", and this was the man who wanted peace .

I understand, you awarded him with Holbrook street in the Capital. . .

Yes, it did Tbilisi City Council. He really deserved it and he really played big role in fact that the capital still stands. He certainly has a big part of it.

He always told me, we have bad times and good times, after the war everybody predicted this country would go to the hell, the government would fall and he said, don't pay attention to these articles, if in 2 years people turn and look around and say: did you still survive economically? If your state is still there than your country has been saved and you regain what is under foreign control right now. I am convinced because he had the strategy vision that we ultimately free our occupied territories because he had passion in believing it.

you spent the day meeting everybody in Washington, the leaders of the opposition Republican Party and Democrats as well. You have spoken with President Obama shortly after the memorial, what is that Georgia wants from America today?

Well, indeed I had very nice meeting with the President Obama in Washington, and Vice President Biden and we discussed all the spectrum of matters. Also, I was the first foreign leader to be received by a new Speaker of the House Boehner and a number of other leaders on both sides. Well, first of all I saw that Georgia still matters, Georgia is still minded by people here. Georgia is very important strategically and what is important is to stay on the road, to stay focusing.

America is more focused on Russia now. Over Russia we have seen the complications over the START treaty with the republicans coming in, with John Boehner coming, has that complicated your relationship with America's Government?

I think there are no illusions in this town about Russia and that is obviously desire to engage Russian important issues, we fully understand that. On the other part in our case Russia occupies 20% of our territory, we have 500 000 internally displaced people, they don't recognize our borders, they don't recognize my Government, they want us officially out and they don't recognize the ceasefire agreement which they signed themselves.

However having said all that Georgia has managed to lead in terms of economic growth in the region, in terms of really setting standards for combating corruption.

World Bank proclaimed us the World's number one reformer and we yield considerable soft power all over the region because we are alternative authoritarian bullying model.

So from that point of view I mean America's standing with Georgia, we just got another, we are one of the two countries who are still getting America's foreign assistance from the MCC.

That really proves that there are still people who understand that if Georgia stands and is successful than the values for which Richard Holbrooke also will prevail and ultimately that is why people love America - for the values.

President Obama said today about America - it is about ideas, not much about Geography, and I think it is very important.

President Saakashvili, thank you very much for coming in.

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