Speeches & Statements

The President of Georgia delivered a speech for the newly accredited diplomats in Georgia

Welcome all of you!

I would like to welcome the newly accredited representatives of the diplomatic corps.

It is a great honor for me to receive letters of credence from you. I want to make a statement on the events, which took place in Georgia recently. As you all know last few weeks were very tense for Georgia. First the Russian Federation derived from CIS sanctions and refused to put sanctions on those, who executed ethnical cleansing in Abkhazia. Afterwards, Russia made very dangerous step and despite of Georgian government's categorical protest, started direct communication with the region, which is placed in the middle of Georgia - South Ossetia and with the heart of our country - Abkhazia. It is absolutely unprecedented action after World War Two in this kind of circumstances regarding territories. It is an attempt of violation of international order and full ignorance of it.

I think that Russians did it with the same hope, that the International Commonwealth would stay silent like in 1992-1993 when Sokhumi was bombed, when 450 thousand or maybe 500 thousand ethnic Georgians, ethnic Greeks, ethnic Ukrainians, ethnic Estonians, ethnic Russians and ethnic Abkhazians were expelled from this territory; no reaction was expressed when Georgia was bombed during the Chechnyan war. Their reaction was higher last year when Kodori was bombed, but it took several weeks before the world payed attention. Last year, near the South Ossetian conflict zone, ethnically mixed village Tsitelubani was bombed. The international commission was created and this was the first occasion, when it was confirmed that it was a fact done by Russian Federation against Georgia.

I think that our partners were not expecting and they got very surprised with the reaction of world on their recent diplomatic actions, which are out of diplomatic frames any way.

It is the first time when Russia received consolidated and very firm answer on every diplomatic level.

The statements made by NATO, EU and our partner countries were very acute. The yesterday's session of the UN Security Council was the first one - since the UN mandate has been in force in respect of Abkhazia - when the Group of Friends was divided. Four members of the UN Secretary General's Group of Friends on Georgia have made their joint statement in which they criticized the Russian Federation. This is the first case for past 14 years, when the Group was set up. I think this is something on which our friends and partners in Moscow should seriously think over.

By making such a decision, they have crossed the line beyond which normal relations and normal international diplomatic process are seriously jeopardized.

Georgia is a constructive, peaceful country. We are interested in close, friendly relations with the Russian Federation. But we cannot tolerate any steps, which will be directed towards annexation of the most important part of the Georgian territory, legalization of the results of ethnic cleansing and which will be used as a subtext for making Georgia change its foreign political orientation, its political system.

I read an official statement made by US, it is clearly stated there without any political reverences that an aircraft, which bombed Georgian territory two days ago was Russian. The position of US is once more confirmed in this statement - Russia has to estimate it's position once again.

We have the following position: we clearly support peaceful settlement of conflicts. Our friends from the UN, as well as our partners and the United States have questioned Russia's role as a neutral mediator in the process. It makes us to launch consultations with our friends over revision of the UN Mission's format and reinforcing this mission, as well as over increasing the role and the status of a mediator of the friendly states in the both conflict zones.

But at the same time, we will launch intensive negotiations with all our friends over the expediency of further presence of the Russian peacekeeping contingent there. We will inform the Russian Federation about our decision, which is a sovereign decision of the Georgian state. I stress - Georgia will not take a single step, which will pose a threat to peace and security in this region. But today the presence of the Russian contingent there, as well as the recent actions, creates a risk factor in the conflict zone. Therefore, we do not plan to take any sudden, hasty or unjustified steps that will create problems to peace and security. We will take only such steps, which will promote peace building and peaceful resolution of conflict.

At the same time, we sent a letter to Moscow yesterday, in which we expressed readiness, simultaneously with revising Russia's decisions - and we, as well as the European Union, all partners in the peace process, absolute majority of the European states, practically all post-Soviet countries expect it, we also have the position of the CIS member states, who also do not like these decisions - so, simultaneously with changing and revising these decisions, we are ready to carry out thorough negotiations with Russia over the development of our bilateral relations, rapprochement of our peoples, peaceful resolution of conflicts, taking into account the interests of all citizens living in the conflict zones.

Our task is to avoid any serious complications and make the peace process irreversible in frames of Georgia's territorial integrity and those peace initiatives, which have been supported by all members of the UN Secretary General's Group of Friends, excluding Russia, by the European Union and the United States.

The peace initiative includes radical and impressive proposal for everyone. The time has come to discuss this proposal seriously and informing our society about it, including people who live in separatist regions. We have to vote for these proposals, to solve these issues in peaceful and constructive way. This is my statement on today's circumstances. At the same time, because many of you never been in Georgia before I would like to make a brief review.

Despite of these challenges Georgia is the regional leader in economic development. We had almost 13 percent of economic growth, and almost 2 billions of direct investments. It is an absolute record; we expect much more this year though.

We have built and are building many more schools, hospitals and roads, then we built during the last 25 years, including Soviet times. We have big plans on the social issues, on overcoming poverty and employment. During my first term of Presidency the poverty was reduced almost by twenty times, but there is a segment of society where an escalation of poverty took place. So we need to give jobs to hundreds of thousands of our citizens, for this we need stability, development, and we need to maintain anti-corruption environment.

According to data given by the World Bank and European Bank we are the less corrupted country in region and I am going to make new initiatives in this direction. I hope reforms continue in Georgia. The Parliamentary elections will be held in Georgia in the immediate future. It is the matter of our principles, of our dignity and national interest to hold transparent, free and fair elections.

We are inviting observers from every country; at the same time we welcome any kind of consultations and technical support for holding these elections on the high level. No matter what kind of conditions are around Georgia, Georgia will not derive from the way of securing fundamental values - it is peace, it is development, it is democracy, including democracy during the elections, it is overcoming poverty and employment.

Thank you very much!

Press Office
of the President of Georgia

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