The joint press conference of the President of Georgia Mikheil Saakashvili and 1st European Union High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy

Mikheil Saakashvili

Hello everybody

We were together in the town of Gori and I want to thank you for your personal engagement and your personal stamina as well, because I know how difficult it was to put together in 20 days a very complicated EU mission with all the countries agreeing and with logistics, with delivery starting time. And it's also very important that this mission has a clear mandate that covers the whole territory of Georgia, including the areas not presently under Georgian government's control. What we clearly expect to get by October 10 is getting back to status quo ante prior to 7 of August, the day of Russian invasion, basically Russian invasion started days before that but when the world learned about it, when Georgia responded. Status quo ante certainly means going back to previous positions controlled by so called Russian peace keepers, we don't know any Russian peace keeper in Georgia any more, but to the positions controlled by Russian peace keepers both in South Ossetia and in Abkhazia, and to the positions controlled by de facto separatist authorities in south Ossetia and Abkhazia, because those positions are not sustainable without Russia's presence and Russian military backup. Certainly this will be a complex process. we are very open and flexible. certainly this is a first stage because next stage is returning IDPs in secure and dignified conditions, getting internationalization of the process but not of the status and in getting Russians out of Georgia's territory, the occupants of Georgia, because these are right now the territories occupied by foreign military power against the will of the government of a sovereign, independent country. This is very unusual, very irregular and extremely challenging situation for us, for European Union and for world community. That is all I had to say. I welcome also new mission personnel and also would like to welcome Ambassador Moral Because he has been appointed as special representative to Georgia and this is very important we know he is very experienced French diplomat and now we will have our special representative, so EU is getting more and more involved and engaged. We are certainly looking forward to getting visa facilitation very soon as well as to get package development engagement during and after donor's conference and to meet all the criteria but as well to also see that pledges that have been given are fulfilled. This one with monitors on the ground is done in very timely manner. Thank you.

Javier Solana

Thank you very much Mr. President. I'm vey pleased to be here today. The last time I was here was the night of the 8th of September. Today is 29th and we are back with the commitment that we had on the night of September 8 done. So we have the forces and monitors on the ground already, we have equipments, communication systems ready so we start tomorrow. I'd like to underline a very important thing we have done. We cooperate with Georgian government, with Georgian people in a very short period of time because we think that the agreed dates of September have to be implemented. We have begun to implement, tomorrow we will continue to implement and the day after tomorrow we will continue to implement and would like very much all the different parties to comply as well as we do. And today we had opportunity about having very good conversation this evening with president and the minister of interior to coordinate well all the work that we will have to do in the coming period of time and I hope very much that by October 10 Russian forces will be withdrawn and this is the date that we have and that this part of the obligation that we have in the agreement and we will like very much to see that that. We would like to start coordination with Russian forces on ground to see how during this time they have done good and constructive coordination and the only thing I would like to say is that we would like to start tomorrow. And also we are ready to talk with Georgian government and Russians to try to convene our reportage to be a precondition to start the deployment tomorrow. Mr. President thank you very much for your cooperation, thanks to authorities, to the people of Georgia and we will continue talking in the coming period of time and we'll see how we will arrive to October 10.

Before taking a question I have to underline that Javier Solana was the first European leader to mention the necessity to have European peacekeepers on ground in Georgia that was more than two years ago. Then it was something many people were not thinking about. Primarily, and second, he was the first one to try to mediate in June when it was very clear that we were facing a chronicle of announcing invasion to come and try to defuse the situation, but unfortunately this was not up to him only but certainly we are very grateful for those of his efforts.

George Kepuladze, Rustavi 2

There are many questions in the society - would EU monitors be able to enter Tskhinvali region, or those villages behind Tskhinvali? It is very clear, that they will observe so called buffer zones and withdrawal of Russian forces from those zones, but when will they enter Tskhinvali region, specifically conflict zone, where occurrences of ethnic cleansing take place very often.


We have 200 monitors today. They are not armed and whatever they do, they have to be done in that content. The second thing I'd like to say is that the most important objective that we had in the time we had mentioned is here till the 10th of this month to have Russian forces withdrawn, that is the first phase, let's see what will happen later.


Are you sure that the monitors will enter buffer zone tomorrow, they will not be stationed at the southern border of buffer zone, they will enter there and you will start deployment at the buffer zone.


The answer is that it does not mean that 3 hundred monitors are not going to be deployed already tomorrow all over. [impossible to understand]


Russian defense ministry confirmed that they are not going to let monitors at least tomorrow. Can you explain what were the disagreements, what were the problems with the Russian side. And a question to the Georgian president how do you feel with about the fact that EU monitors are not allowed to enter tomorrow and it was for 24 Georgian police to enter the security zone.


As for the first part of the equation. Yes we are going to start tomorrow [can't understand]


With regard to getting into the zone. First of all let's have no illusions. We will not be happy until the very last soldier gets out of my country. And the last Russian soldiers will get out of my country from the place they came in - the Rocky tunnel and from the river Psou. And we are not talking about well they will hang for a while and let them get out from one zone and maybe forget about the another. No, first of all status quo ante not the villages of Tkviavi and Karaleti but status quo ante which has much broader meaning which is prior to when Russia invaded and we responded and second nobody in accepting they were there in south Ossetia and Abkhazia, they are not welcomed there, they are aggressors, occupants, they are invaders and they should get out of those places. I mean Georgia will remain always committed to this principle no matter what happens. And we will certainly continue to work with our partners in Europe and with any others for peaceful reconciliation, restoration of territorial integrity etc. but the point here is to make the whole world intrigued whether they should go to one or two villages, they will get out from there I'm sure. Hopefully the cooperation will take place. But the ultimately, the goal is this: we are not engaged in tradeoffs, we are not engaged in creating new Berlin walls. Russians are good at building wall. We don't want walls, we want to tear them down, we are not engaged in getting new border police here, that's not the purpose of monitors that is very clear, the purpose is to contribute to civilized, European, 21 century solutions to what is the 20 century ugly conflict, not to go to 19th or worse cases of other solutions form the past. Se that's why we have so engagement, to commitment to peaceful resolution but we also have no compromise on the main principles. We had full agreement basically on all issues until now. From the very beginning we would have been happy to have all this involvement long before the whole thing around. Unfortunately there was not enough consensus for that and there were lots of pressing issues in the world. Now once there is this commitment we are willing to commit ourselves till the end, there should be no doubt about that. Certainly, there are constraints because we are operating in occupation invasion regime now. But still be are optimistic, consciously but optimistic, we want to more forward. People are freezing in the tents. We want to take care of that till the end of the winter the absolute majority goes back to their houses and wherever whoever does not have house, which was demolished, we will build a new house. We certainly count on donor conference that will take place as I've heard somewhere in 20 of October will proceed as planned and also president Sarkozi's pledge to bring European leaders here in Tbilisi to demonstrate his commitment to territorial integrity and economic development in Georgia. We are also moving in that direction.


Will EU require from Russia to withdraw their forces from the whole territory of Georgia and if it won't does it mean that EU adapts the violence of territorial integrity of Georgia.


The European council has spoken clearly under highest level in the first day of September of this year that European council made a clear statement that has not changed.

Communications Office
of the President of Georgia

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