Speeches & Statements

Speech delivered by the President Saakashvili at the meeting with members of Supreme Council of Abkhazia

We will return to Abkhazia with love, not with war.

This meeting should have taken place much earlier but due to many problems we did not manage it. You should not regard that we have not been thinking about you and Abkhaz issue has shifted down in the list of our priorities. For me and for every genuine Georgian, Abkhazia was, is and will be the top priority. We should all acknowledge it. At this very stage our aim is to unite and strengthen the country, bring Abkhazia back and re-establish control over it.

The loss of control over Abkhazia was not only due to Shevardnadze and his government; the whole Georgia lost it. Therefore, only Saakashvili and his government would not be able to bring it back; the whole Georgia has to do it. Peaceful resolution of this problem lies in modernization of Georgia, its economic progress and strengthening of the country. We deem it to be the shortest but the most right way for dealing with this issue.

In 1992 population of Georgia was 5.5 million, nowadays it is little more than 4 million. Hostile forces around us have strengthened. In this situation we would incur great failures, unless Georgia becomes modernized and establishes new statehood. Therefore our aim is to establish modern statehood Georgia should become a strong country in every sphere.

It also concerns the state budget. This year budget has doubled versus last year. Next year it will exceed USD 1.1 billion in contrast to the budget during Shevardnadze's presidency when it was USD 300 million. Trust me, big portion of increased budget is allocated for the realization of our aim. I would like to emphasize that we are creating and reinforcing our army for the sole purpose to avoid intrusion of different groups into Georgian territory. We deem it to be the greatest threat to security of Georgia.

We do not intend to fight with our citizens. We have never fought with Ossetians and we do not intend to do it now. As you have seen we carried out the operation to protect communications in summer. But the Georgian government has never given order to deploy armed forces on populated areas. It was due to different reasons: the population should know that we would not shoot at them and would not go to war with them. We have different aims. Every Abkhazian, at the same time, should know that we do not perceive them to be our foes. We regard every Abkhazian, Armenian as well as everybody who lives in Abkhazia to be part of our society. We do not intend to fight with them no matter what the local politicians are telling them. It is the lesson that everybody should take into account.

As we are determined to unite Georgia, it would have been good if it happened bilaterally. As a result everybody will benefit. It is our main concept in relation with Abkhazia and territorial integrity of the country.

I would like to mention also that I denounce what the terrorists have done in Russia. Terrorists are the enemies not only for Russia but for the whole mankind and for us as well. We know most of these peoples by names, surnames and appearances as well. They had shown their faces for the first time at Gagra stadium, in Sukhumi, Gali etc. In Russia these people were not badly regarded, but we knew who they were. In this respect both Georgia and Russia have same enemies.

As you know a campaign has recently been launched in Russia propagating the idea that there is a correlation between the events that took place in Georgia and the tragedy in Beslan. As I have said before the correlation exists only in respect of having the same enemy, which used to attack Georgia in earlier times. We got rid of them and took every measure to prevent them from crossing the Georgian boarder. Even when the different groups used to trespass the Tskhinvali region, we kept the Chechnya boarder closed as we knew very well with whom we had to deal with, I mean Basaev and his "brothers".

Many people at State Duma, the government and the press as well, are ignorant in geography. I would like to remind them that Grozno and Vladikavkaz is Russia, and Tbilisi, Sukhumi and Tskhinvali is Georgia. We wish Russia to be strong and united, but keep hands away from Georgia! Sukhumi, Tskhinvali and Tbilisi is Georgia and you have nothing to do here. When everything is put in order in the country we would welcome you as tourists.

By the way, during my visit to Moscow President Vladimir Putin agreed that Chechen groups and Basaev's gangs first shed the Georgian's blood in Abklhazia. Putin is well aware of this fact. I wish that what is known to the President of Russia would be well comprehended by the representatives of government at every level. I hope that the agreement we have reached with President Putin on fight against terrorism and movement of armed groups on the boarders will be pursued by both parties. We deem it to be very important as Georgia historically and from ancient times wished Russia to have stability on its territory as well as at Georgian boarder. Having stability in Russia is very beneficial for Georgia. Though, while establishing stability it is crucial to realize where the territory of Russia ends and the territory of a neighbor state, that wants to have benign relationships with Russia, starts. They should elaborate on this issue.

We have common enemies: the terrorists, smugglers and uncontrolled armed forces. But we do not have a single politician who would say like clown Zhirinovsky that I hate Russia and every single Russian. Georgians love Russia and do not have aversion for Russians. We deem it to be our strength. We love Georgia most of all and desire to see it united. Therefore while talking about Georgian-Russian relationships this should be the starting point. One more thing, which is no less of great importance, is the necessity of maximal consolidation of our society. We are not talking about political views. Of course, the debates should take place even in the most difficult situations and mass media should be free, which is very important. But it is unfeasible to debate on fundamental issues. In particular, it is beyond debate that the boarders must be protected, people must serve in the army, and society must be united.

Today we have energy deficit just because our main energy stations are in Gali region. Abkhazia consumes half of the energy produced by the hydro power station in that region, i.e. the amount that is consumed by the rest of Georgia. Abkhazia sells this energy in Russia and then we buy it back from Russia. When the Abkhazian separatists, Chechens and Russian armed units came close to Gali they could not believe that Georgians would not resist them. But at that time Georgia was disintegrated and everybody was fighting with each other. Thus, we yielded the most important bastion where 90 percent of the whole country's energy power was concentrated. Besides corruption we have suffered with lack of unanimity during the last 12 years. Therefore the whole country is in blackout. This issue is not related with the diversity of political views. At that time we used to go to Sukhumi by plain just because we did not have access not only to Samegrelo but also other regions of Georgia. This fact was due to civil war in Georgia. It defeated us. We must never make it happen In the very decisive moment when there was a military crisis in Tskhinvali and our villages faced threat of being deserted, the whole society said that it was not the time to "eat" each other. Thus, I am very thankful to everybody. It means that Georgia managed to stand on its feet; there is a different type of maturity in the country. It engenders great hope in me. If Georgia stands united it is difficult to defeat it. I truly believe it Though, I repeat that we would have to elaborate on this issue again.

Abkhazia will not exist without us. It is not simply the territory - Abkhazia is our people. Just like you I dream Abkhazia. I would not tolerate to have territory in Georgia where Georgians are not accepted. But on the other hand I know very well what each of you feel. I have never had a house in Abkhazia, though my roots are there. I have not frequently traveled there either. But the fact that I often dream Abkhazia means that this region is a constituent part of the soul of Georgian people.

The day before yesterday, at the meeting with OSCE ambassadors one of them joked, "we are going to Sukhumi and would you like us to take roses with us?!" Every Georgian dreams about it.

As for the issues you have raised.

First of all I would like to say that today our aim is to avoid any illegal activity towards our territories and particularly towards Abkhazia. An election that is to take place in Abkhazia in October is completely illegal and unacceptable. Thus, it is illegal to participate in it. The government that would be elected through this election would not be legal This is an unchangeable position of the government of Georgia that we will adhere to at the international arena.

The second - any type of property that will be purchased by any official or non-official subject and will not be registered and brought into conformity with Georgian legislation, will not be considered to be legal transaction. Any official should take it into consideration - whether it is Luzhkov or other. This property would not be theirs just as Luzhkov lost everything in Batumi. He had purchased houses, enormous territories in the park near the seashore. None of them was registered in Tbilisi. This property is no longer in his ownership. Though we should emphasize that the foreigners, for instance Turks, Russians had purchased the property that was registered in accordance with Georgian legislation. This property was not taken away from them.

And the third - it is necessary to hold dialogue with Abkhaz people, build bridges of friendship; otherwise there is no way out. We would return in Abkhazia with love, not with war. We will return in order to make friends with Abkhazians, though many of them are our friends and folks. And then no one will manage to defeat us. My concept lies in this.

We strive for peaceful resolution of this problem. The strength of Georgian government as well as yours, lies in the fact that we are not chauvinists and are open to other nations. Georgia is inconceivable for us without Abkhazian, Azerbaijani, Armenian, Ossetian and Russian people as well as without all those people who resided on this territory from ancient times. The strength and unity of our nation lies in this. We incurred losses just because we differentiated between Georgians and non-Georgians, between the residents of Guria, Samegrelo and Kakheti. The last point was when we started differentiating between the residents of Vera, Saburtalo and Vake.

We want to build the country not from ethnic standpoint, but from the standpoint of statehood. We have national ideology. I would like to say that you are an active, efficient body to which I give my full support. This body is my ally in solving every issue. The legitimacy of any Abkhazian body on Georgian territory should become even stronger instead of being diminished. I consider you to be the lever for the promotion of peaceful processes. We should make peace by means of contacts, with your help.

We should solve the territorial issues of Georgia in this fashion. If we wish to raise our five crossed flag together with the Abkhazian flag, it is necessary to blaze the trail towards the heart of every person.

Communications Office
of the President of Georgia

Send link to the email
Captcha* Verification Code
2013 (7)
2012 (12)
2011 (12)
2010 (9)
2009 (11)
2008 (12)
2007 (11)
2006 (9)
2005 (11)
2004 (3)