Joint press conference by the President of Georgia Mikheil Saakashvili and Chairman-in-office of the OSCE Minister Karel de Gucht

First of all I want to greet all of you. I want to greet Chairman-in-office of the OSCE minister Karel de Gucht.

I am grateful to him for this kind offer of mediation and his proposal on which we had principal agreement two days before on which we start talking about on Friday and we have final agreement on Saturday to try to solve the issue with Russia officers accused by Georgian authorities of espionage and subversion and after our number of conversations we had on Friday and Saturday, we had preliminary agreement for Minister de Gucht to come here, to Georgia, to talk to the authorities.

And in fact we've spoken, we've had talks for almost two hours between the minister of foreign affairs and then directly with me.

And we finally agreed about it today, to hand over the accused citizens of Russian officers, to the OSCE and its chairman-in-office, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Belgium.

I want to make clear the accusation - we have very well-founded case. It's very solid case of espionage, subversion, trying to destabilize my country.

This case has been documented, it has all legal proof and evidence and some of it has been shown on television worldwide. And we have also some additional materials all of which we are handing over to the OSCE.

I think our message from all this is clear - I mean we've been hearing all this menaces not only yesterday, today, or last week, but for all this months and years I've been in power here in Georgia and since in fact Georgian independence in 1991.

We've been hearing menaces, we've been seeing direct military instructions from the Russian Federation into sovereign Georgian territory, and we've seen instigation of violence and direct acts of violence.

I think massage of Georgia to our great neighbor Russia is enough is enough.

We want to have good relations, we want to be constructive, we want to have dialogue but we can not be treated as a second-rate backyard of some kind of re-emerging in the mind of some politicians or some kind of re-emerging empire.

One thing should be clear: the time of banging shoe on the table of international organizations and world community I hope that, that time has passed away together with Nikita Khrushchev in the 1960s.

I think that one can not claim at the same time to have modern international relations like freedom of movement of goods, and human beings, like access to capital markets, like prestige and international respect and strong international positions and on the other hand, one can not behave like a bully and use blackmail, use pressure, trying to undermine your own neighbors, trying to scare them and trying to destabilize them.

These two are not compatible.

We've been getting pressure not only for the last several days, but we've been getting pressure for many months already.

So, all this statements, all this angry words and nick-naming that we've heard, is not response to this particular case with alleged Russian spies.

I think this is response to last months and last years democratic success of Georgia.

It's response to the fact that despite to all the expectations Georgia is performing as a free and independent democratic country.

To the fact that the World Bank just announced that the Georgia is the world's number one reformer. It has just been announced in Singapore at the World Banks annual forum.

To the fact that the EBRD put Georgia among one of the least corrupt country of Europe and the World Bank said that Georgia has achieved the fastest progress in terms of getting rid of corruption in Eurasia.

To the fact that World Bank put us among top places to the business, to the fact that despite full-scale Russian economic embargo and economic pressure we will have double digit growth this year, we are looking for a new markets including for Georgian wine which has totally been banned from out of Russia and in fact lots of people have been calling it Freedom Wine because Georgian products exactly have been stopped for wanting to be free and independent.

These pressures and this kind or blackmail is a response to our democratic success rather than to particular incidents or statements of the Georgian side.

We want to tell our Russian partners we want to have civilized relations, we want together with Russia to be part not of the world where there is only culture of intimidation, blackmail, bullying and pressure, but of the World, where there is not hysteria, but civilized dialogue between the states where big and small states are equal when it goes to the issues of rule of law, when there is real of law, when everybody's legitimate interests are respected and where the force of argument rules, not the argument of force.

That the World, we want to be part of, I think that that pressure has been a response to Georgia starting intensified dialogue with NATO and getting closer to the EU. In fact I'm seeing today the members of [the EU] troika to finalize the European neighborhood action plan.

And I have to make it very clear - this is our goodwill gesture towards our democratic friends and allies and this is no way response to pressure and bullying, because we are used to that.

We are not afraid of that and we are willing to move ahead despite and against this pressure, and we will.

One thing is clear - we destroy the Russian intelligence network at this time in Georgia.

We will do final steps in the hours and days to come, and we want to get rid of these kinds of relations - we are open for sincere, frank, equal, co-operative relations with our great neighbor Russia.

I'm sure that despite everything, we will soon be there. We will get this relations, we will be accepted finally as an independent free nation as we are, like other nations.

That's my message today to our friend minister de Gucht and to the international community that he represents here today in Tbilisi.

Thank You.

Communications Office
of the President of Georgia

Send link to the email
Captcha* Verification Code
2013 (30)
2012 (42)
2011 (49)
2010 (32)
2009 (26)
2008 (27)
2007 (31)
2006 (25)
2005 (32)
2004 (4)