Speeches & Statements

President of Georgia Mikheil Saakashvili and ministry of foreign affairs of France bernard Kouchhner held a joint press conference


I would like to specially welcome Mr. Bernard Kouchner, whose activity I'm watching with admiration from the times he had established the organization "Mdecins Sans Frontires" („Doctors Without Borders").

We all well remember what was happening in Afghanistan. The current situation in Georgia is very similar, is analogous to what was happening in Budapest in 1955-56, in Prague in 1968 and we don't have any desire to become Tbilisi in 2008 as continuation of this list.

At time we are speaking now, hundreds of Russian tanks entered Georgia through Abkhazia, the Russian warships reached Georgian ports. Right now there are 150 Russian tanks in 70 kilometers from the capital. All this has nothing common with South Ossetia issue, because Russia's acts are performed in all directions and it clearly shows, that this operation is an implementation of a previously well-planned plan. That's why it is necessary to find way out from this situation. I have several phone conversations with President Sarkozy and we are trying to find way out together. We have to preserve our country and peace. The President Sarkozy's proposed model of negotiations and proposals of the minister Kouchner are absolutely acceptable for us. It's obvious that this proposal should be acceptable for Russians as well. There is no any kind of obstacle from our side. Now, I think, the operative diplomacy - mission with which Mr. Bernard and Mr. Stubb, friend of our country who is well aware about the current situation, arrived - should bring results. After visit in Georgia, tomorrow they will leave for Moscow, where effort of this operative diplomacy will be continued. It is possible that after they will arrive in Georgia again. Main thing is to achieve the cease-fire. Practically we are entering the phase of humanitarian crisis. There are already tens of thousand of internally displaced persons from this region. Today I personally observed thousands of people, which were forced to run away from shooting and explosions. Of course, it is unprecedented brutality which must be stopped.

I think Mr. Bernard wants to say more, please Mr. Bernard.

We, me as the representative of France - EU President country, and my Finnish colleague, who represents OSCE, are in Georgia to speak with the President of Georgia, who just described in detail the current situation. He knows much better what is going on. Of course we watch with interest the progress of events and we suppose we must act immediately. Our message and mission, with which I and my colleague Alexander Stubb have arrived, is unambiguous and clear - we must strive for an immediate cease-fire. The decision regarding cease-fire should be achieved with agreement of the both sides, of course with attendance of the observers, and these observers should be selected according to the level of confidence toward them. As from our past experience, sides are demanding clarification of several moments. Thus, European Union from one side and OSCE from other, and possibly other friend states could jointly reach permanent cease-fire.

That's about cease fire. Another issue is humanitarian accessibility; for the humanitarian purpose special plane will arrive tomorrow, but it is important that we have access to people in need. After the measures of cease fire and humanitarian corridor, the third measure should be returning back to the pre-conflict status quo. This agreement should be confirmed by signature. President Saakashvili has already agreed; now it is important that another party also agrees to this proposal. I and Alexander will try to achieve this in Moscow. After this we should try to activate political talks and international mediation. It has already been clear that this conflict will not be solved through military way; in the past there were excessively many attempts for this. I think that the EU can play a very important role. This process has already begun. Today third European Minister visited Georgia, tomorrow others will pay visit. I and Alexander have agreed to gather in Brussels on Wednesday, which is in two days at 10 am in order to sum up the results of our mission. We will come up with the idea of what type of decision can be made. We might also think about the meeting at the level of Heads of State, if need arises. So far this process goes on at the level of Foreign Ministers.

President Saakashvili told you that he had talks with President Sarkozi for several times; President Sarkozi talked with President Medvedev and Prime Minister Putin, which means that such relations are getting better. Now our obligation is to act very quickly. Any lost minute means more casualties; any lost hour means more devastated families; every next day becomes more unendurable. I was attentively listening to how President Saakashvili described the current situation and this very situation makes us to act very quickly. This is not a diplomatic step, but this is the step for survival. So if we act for survival, we should not keep time for war, but give more time to peace. That's what we are trying to do presently. We began this several days before; President Saakashvili began this even earlier. Now it is important that all sides understand the necessity of cease fire. We hope that our joint efforts will have positive results for refugees and cease fire will be acceptable.

Journalist: What will you offer Russians?

Based on what we heard in Tbilisi, what we deem essential, namely the need of cease fire. To repeat, the war should not win time, but the opposite, we should take time away from war.

Press Office
of the President of Georgia

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