Speeches & Statements

The President of Georgia made a statement before his departure to Bucharest

My dear fellow-citizens! I depart for Bucharest tonight to attend the NATO countries leaders very important summit and before I leave I would like to explain why this summit is so critical for our country.

This summit coincides with the most important historic moment for our country. Georgia today is freer and more powerful than it was for a quite long time: we have a strong democracy that is honored by international commonwealth and which is guarded by impressive and modern Georgian Army. Each of us is in debt before our 33 thousand soldiers, true patriots and proud sons on our country, who now serve in the Georgian Armed Forces and before 70 thousand reservists. But at the same time this is the time for big challenges. The declaration of Kosovo independence resulted negatively on Abkhazian and South Ossetian issues. Abkhazia and South Ossetia aren't under our control yet and Kosovo precedent allowed some forces to start speculations on the independence of Abkhazia.

We still have difficult relationship with Russia. And getting closer to Europe and NATO is an extremely complex process, because wars in Iraq and Afghanistan gave rise to great challenges for the USA and Europe. So, in this difficult situation, I would like to explain to you what our main priorities are:

-Our first and supreme mission is to provide eternal freedom, security and inviolable borders. We will never take steps backwards. This is why I work in this direction, to make such friends for Georgia, to become members of such unions, to sign such international agreements, that Georgia's security will become permanent, and we will have ability to defend our national and state achievements. We went through wars and we know very well how important it is to defend the country from wars.

-Our second main mission is to restore territorial integrity of Georgia. Abkhazia and South Ossetia are indivisible parts of our country and the day is not far away, when we see them in Georgia. Integrity will bring our country freedom, economic welfare and strength.

-Our third mission is to bring Georgia close to NATO and Europe step by step. The part of the universe, where our country is located, is characterized by the highly developed and contemporary European economics. The European society is the freest and most secured society in the world and the economic and political future of Georgia is connected with Europe only. Our future is connected with NATO, the most powerful and successful military alliance in history, which unites and defends the world's free nations. We want to see Georgia among these nations. This is why we cooperate with NATO so closely in Iraq, Afghanistan and Former Yugoslavia, our aim is to receive full membership in NATO. NATO is the guarantor of Georgian integrity and inviolability of our borders, to our children, our grandchildren and to all our generations.

-Our fourth mission is the normalization of Relationships with Russia. Russia is our greatest and most important neighbor. Long history connects us. History, which, at the same time is our greatest teacher. Big cultural and potentially huge economic relations connect us. Georgian national interests dictate and will always dictate that we must maintain good neighborly and equal, partnership relationship. We must do everything we can to establish these relations and save them... Till it is still possible.

According to these four most difficult and most important missions, I work hard to strengthen Georgia's international relations, to let people feel secure in our homeland, to create more working places and welfare for our families. If we are able to normalize our relationships with Russia, we will be able to export our wine, tangerines, nuts, apples and a lot of other products and services freely to the Russian market, the way it happened earlier. This is why I started my second term of Presidency by inviting President Putin to Georgia. This is why I hopefully watch every single action that will make these relations warmer. This is why I see maybe small but still some indicators, as, for example the restoration of the flights and the postal service.

Also the movement in the direction of Europe and the USA through NATO has vital importance for us. NATO membership will create a fundamental guarantee for the territorial integrity and stabilization of Georgia - the guarantee that will attract a great number of economic interests and investments, that will help Georgia come out of the nightmare of unemployment and will bring welfare into our families. My work on international arena to obtain security guarantees, serves the very aim that will help the improvement of economic conditions inside the country. Because secured Georgia, means Georgia "without fear" and this is the main condition to turn Georgia into "Georgia without poverty". All these issues are intertwined and this is why Bucharest summit is so important.

At this meeting I will continue to ensure the NATO members that Georgia is the country with democratic and peace-loving values. We can contribute greatly in NATO operations, like we do in Iraq. We are ready to start the full-membership process with the responsibility that follows this process. Our aim is not only unilateral use of NATO defense systems, but taking full responsibility to seriously stand beside the whole alliance and contribute our share in providing regional peace and security.

We do not know yet what steps will NATO take to keep our firm march towards membership. But we know that the Bucharest Summit will turn into an important declaration that our movement toward NATO continues successfully. We as well know, that full membership will need far more work, long process and more such summits. We know that full membership in NATO will not be solved in Bucharest but I have no doubt, that in the result of the Bucharest summit, Georgia will get significantly closer to NATO. I am going to attend the Summit in Bucharest and all the other Euro-Atlantic summits with only one aspiration - that Georgia's return to Europe is not only the way out today, but our most fundamental and oldest historic orienteer. I always say that our biggest treasure is our history. History is our teacher, national wisdom and treasure for experience.

When we speak about the European future of Georgia, we must understand that this is not only today's choice, our ancestors chose Europe from ancient times and defined it, as our orienteer. European and Georgian civilizations are so intertwined that its difficult to determine whether Europe is our roots or on the contrary. Not only Zezva and Mzia, the oldest Europeans confirm our European civilization, but it is described by our history, starting with the second millennium BC, when the Argonauts came to Georgia to obtain Golden Fleece, learn the secrets of medicine and techniques. Medicine was called after the Georgian Queen Medea. From ancient times Georgia was an inseparable part of European civilizations, security and economic systems. Plutarch described the way the Lazi warriors fought for Troy and later how their heirs participated in founding Rome. The European civilization conditioned the foundation of our most important towns - Ochamchire, Sokhumi, Kutaisi, Poti and Bichvinta. Our ancestors lived in that European economic system and our National Currency - Kolkhuri Tetri - was used during that period of time together with their currencies.

In the first Century the great Emperor of Rome Vespasiane-Flavius built the Mtskheta wall as a sign of strategic partnership with Georgia, this is the very Emperor, who built the national treasure of Italy, the Coliseum. We have information of Sulkhan-Saba Orbeliani's desperate visit to Europe, because he could not stand the most difficult political reality, but not all of us know about King Parsman's Roman visit. When the powerful Roman Emperor Antonine Pius erected a monument of the Georgian King Parsman on horseback on the central Mars Square in Rome in his honor.

The Queen of Rome Helena, was the friend of St Nino, who brought Christianity into Georgia. Georgian King Mirian and Helena's husband Emperor Konstantin, who spread Christianity in the Roman Empire, were friends as well. Europe and Georgia received Christianity simultaneously.

In 4-5th Centuries our King Bakur was the greatest ally of Great Europe in the wars with Persia and Byzantine historicists mentioned him as the greatest hero.

The participation of Georgia in Europe's security system reached its significant scopes in the mid centuries, when Georgia was an important member of the European Crusaders Military Coalition. The military-political coalition of that period had very tide relationships with our King David the Builder and David's warriors participated in the Crusaders operation - Jerusalem freedom.

I saw Tornike Eristavi's chain knitted shirt at Atoni Mountain and I felt such anxiety, when I touched it. He was defending Byzantian Empire, and this way he was defending this homeland, Georgia.

In Didgori battle, as we all know it was the greatest victory of Georgia, 200 Europeans fought side by side with our dedicated warriors. I want to underline the fact, that our greatest victory was achieved together with the Europeans.

We are not only speaking about the history, we are speaking about our present. We speak about where we want to see Georgia in the nearest future, about where Georgia's proper place is today. This is the past, which is the parent of our present and future.

Today I am leaving for Bucharest taking with me not only the national flag of modern Georgia, but the flags of our great fathers: Ayet, Parsman Qwell, Bakur the Great and David the Builder. We are taking with us the doctrine of philanthropy and peace, that Queen Helena and St Nino taught us. We are taking with us the dreams of Sulkhan-Saba and Didgori warriors and I definitely know that however the Bucharest Summit finishes it will be a step forward on the way, that our great ancestors chose.

Besides that, this Summit will give me a chance to try to obtain the world leaders' firm support in reaching these aims that are so vital for better life of our people.

During the last few days Georgia was the main topic of world TV stations and newspapers. We weren't able to dream about it few years ago. When Sokhumi fell, one of the high-ranking officials was asked, what he knew about Georgia? He stated that everything was all right in Georgia - President Shevardnadze was saved. He was not interested in anything else - he was not worrying about the fortune of Sokhumi, Abkhazia and the whole Georgia. The attitude is changed today. Today the President of the United States George Bush was speaking about Georgia all day long. The leaders of the Ukrainian revolution said that they were imitating Georgia in Revolution and in foreign policy lately. This is Georgia's spiritual and cultural mission. Ilia Chavchavadze and all famous public figures spoke about it.

I will try to explain to Vladimer Putin, that I am ready for cooperation and ready to work with the new President of Russia Medvedev to improve our two countries' commercial and political relationships. With this cooperation we will achieve resolutions of our conflicts and returning of Abkhazia and South Ossetia back into the legislation of Georgia.

I will try my best to obtain more support and allies at this historic and decisive moment for Georgia's security and stability, our Euro-Atlantic orientation and safety. This is why, in spite of very complex international situation and processes, in spite of the greatest challenges before our country I am going to Bucharest, absolutely confident what Georgia has to achieve in the coming two days and what's more important confident of what Georgia has to achieve in the years coming. I am sure we will continue to take firm steps towards NATO and Europe.

We will continue to normalize Russian-Georgian relations, we will continue working hard for the restoration of our territorial integrity.

And what's most important, we will provide the growth, development and movement forward of a democratic, free and strong Georgia.

Thank you very much, God bless our homeland, Georgia!

Press Office
of the President of Georgia

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