Speeches & Statements

The President of Georgia Mikheil Saakashvili's Speech at OSCE Summit in Astana

Thank you Mr. Chairman, distinguished heads of states and governments, ladies and gentlemen, allow me first of all to thank our Khazakh hosts, I have been in the city of Astana for the first time six years ago.

This very city is a great evidence of what leadership of personalities what historic differences it can make. I think it is very much attribute also to the great man Nursultan Nazarbaev with very rare vision about this city, about this country, about this region.

And I think it is a great example to follow for all the others also in this region. Our common mission at the summit is to agree on a set of concrete steps to make the OSCE a true security community one free of dividing lines, conflicts, spheres of influence, a community in which human rights are respected and people live in dignity.

We need a common vision for how to enforce the principles that define the  OSCE, or how to foster a cooperation to quarrel rivalries and the strategy to help us  overcome the danger of tensions and the so-called frozen conflicts that undermine the stability of our  common area.

I am confident that we can make a substantial progress, but we cannot do it so if we ignore the difficulties we faced to overlook the progress or result.

35 years ago the Helsinki summit  marked a fundamental shift in the history of international relations by affirming a set of principles to bind the behaviors of states, this included the unavailability of borders, the peaceful settlement of disputes, the territorial integrity of states and respect for international on  human rights.

Unfortunately over three decades later these principles are still being violated in OSCE area. 11 years ago at the last OSCE summit in Istanbul we witnessed the adoption of another set of fundamental principles, in Istanbul summit declaration and a charter for the European security what a different time it had been.

I remember President Yeltsin together  with President Clinton sealing up of what was the end of old War in the OSCE area, on withdrawal troops on arms control, the commitment that had to be complied with.  If those commitments had been upheld my country would have been deliberated from the presence of foreign troops on hearsay.

Unfortunately, the time has changed, the mood has changed and Russia need to fulfill the obligations  it had took  in Istanbul both with respect to Georgia and to other states. In fact contrary to the spirit of Istanbul , Russia has dramatically increased the size of its forces illegally stationed  within our internationally recognized borders.

Today more than 12 000 heavily armed troops enforced the  Russian occupation 20 percent of Georgian territory, with tanks, with missiles ,with heavy artillery, this is a blatant violation of Helsinki principles, the Istanbul declaration, International low and August 12, 2008 agreement ceasefire brocade by the European Union. If we treat these principles as dead letter our community is destine to die as well.

By contrast if we commit  to implement this we can make progress  towards being a real security community  one in which there is  mutual sympathy, trust , in sense of common interest. These commitments have to be respected  in all three  dimension, not only in political, military terms.

We all agree today that the human dimension is a pre-requisite in comprehensive and indivisible security. But in our case the human dimension commitment have been violated as well. In 1994, 1996 the OSCE summits in Budapest and Lisbon condemned the ethnic cleansing in Georgia and called the force for the safe dignified reach of IDPs and refugees.

Yet the number of IDPs and refugees in a country of less than  5 million people continue to increase up to 500 000 after the ethnic cleansing campaign of 2008. Half a million souls' basic human rights are violated  because of their origins, their nationalities, ethnicities, their faith , their political abuse. Human rights continue to be violated on a daily basis in occupied regions, the OSCE has reported on this many times throughout the  last two years as you all know very well.

These facts, ladies and gentlemen , must not be  must not be ignored or overlooked , and previous OSCE requirements must be fulfilled. I came here  with a  message of hope and a profound  helping  to lead positive change in our security community.

We came here to tell you that these strategic facts can be reversed that they would be reversed and that our conflict with the Russian Federation can be resolved. The way forward is through a comprehensive dialogue. Not permanent confrontation.

We will lie on the power of words, not on bombs. On November 23rd , one week ago I made a sovereign pledge in front of the  European Parliament, that Georgia would never use force and the legitimate goal to defend its territorial integrity and sovereignty that will only result in peaceful means, in its form of de-occupation and the reunification of its own territory. Even if the Russian Federation will refuse to withdraw its forces from Georgian territory; even if less than 20% of original population remain on the occupied areas and 80% are held back to their houses; even if it multiply the human rights violations; Georgia will only retain the rights of self-defense in case of new attacks and  invasion.  

Georgian territory remains under control of the  Georgian government. We have made this pledge, because we believe that peace is the only way to achieve our legitimate and  legal goals.

I have just sent letters formulizing Georgia's pledge to the Secretary-General of the OSCE, UN and NATO, as well as the President of the European commission, the European Council and the United States.

I came here animated by the same spirit, reiterating my call to Russian leadership to engage in serious negotiations, to engage in dialog rather than in polemics. Unfortunately, despite our numerous calls Russia has not agreed to any dialogue held bilaterally within the framework of the OSCE.

Dialog between Moscow and Tbilisi remains one of the stumbling blocks of the Astana declaration. Yet this organization is built upon dialogue and consensus.

Last summit 11 years ago we encountered serious things and came to a true dialog. We must all say that today because without dialog we will never bridge our differences. I am committed without any preservation to engage in dialog as soon as possible to seek peaceful solutions of our conflicts.

Ladies and Gentlemen, we all want to forge a new common space free of dividing lines, spheres if we influence and detentions we have inherited from the history. We all want to have a true, security community.

We need stronger, better and more resolute OSCE , one that does not shy away from tackling the real problems and dialog , between  both partners ,between all the leaders at every level. There has been a lot of arguments around the OSCE, there has been an attack on ODIHR for instance in terms of election of monitoring.

It is ups and downs, we also had our  arguments with them but I always believe that OSCE presence ,on monitoring for democracy process, election process the whole democratic dialog is very helpful to any countries, especially for those who are coming out  from cold to another kinds of politics and to another sphere.  Indeed,  our region has been changing.

No country of the OSCE but one as well as basically no other serious country in the world recognized occupation of our regions. The region has been changing itself; the country has become more independent, more speaking out with their voice.

Today I was speaking with Rosa Oturbaeva, who is the symbol of changing Kirgizstan, but also these changes the whole region. This is why I think this is the whole change of  its  democratization, better security in Eastern part  and OSCE is a very important instrument.

It was like this in the 70es in much more difficult situation of the cold war and it remains the same in today's world  if we use it properly.

We must not allow the past to influence our future, the tools we have at our disposal are dialog and consensus.

Georgia is committed to this and I am confident that we will help of a strengthened OSCE peace and cooperation will prevail in our region.

Thank you.

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