President Saakashvili awards Order of Merit to construction workers in South Ossetia

Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili today awarded the Order of Merit to six construction workers building local infrastructure in Georgian-held areas of South Ossetia. Chief engineer Mikheil Chkhitunidze, electrician Petre Tedeev, painter Razmik Martirosyan, engineer Givi Nishnianidze and workers Avtandil Lomidze and Davit Kiladze were given the award in a ceremony at the State Chancellery. The president thanked them for their bravery and selfless labour and noted that it is people like them who will help establish peace in the country.

"A few days ago the territory where intensive construction works are now under way was shelled. There was shooting from Tskhinvali, but a large group of our specialists and workers did not stop working and continued fulfilling their duties. I thank you for not giving up, I thank you for building facilities in the area. I want to give you the Order of Merit for your bravery and selfless labour," Saakashvili said.

He added that construction efforts in South Ossetia would continue into the future: "We will build kindergartens, hospitals, roads, supermarkets, cinemas, discotheques, swimming pools, schools and other facilities. The criminals have put forth various ultimatums. If I am not mistaken, today is 31 May, which they gave us a deadline, threatening that they would do something if we did not [remove the pro-Georgian administration]. They will not be able to do anything at all. They are not capable of doing anything. We, together with people such as you, will establish peace there and give the people a chance to live and develop. Let no-one organize acts of provocation and let no-one try to stir things up.

"Georgia is no longer the country that they think it is. Georgia is first and foremost a country populated by people like you. No-one can create problems for either ethnic Georgians or ethnic Ossetians - both of whom are our citizens - any longer. We will see this endeavour through to the end. I want to thank you on behalf of the Georgian state," Saakashvili said.

Press Office
of the President of Georgia

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