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Saakashvili Breaks Silence over Okruashvili
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 29 Sep.'07 / 14:46

Below is the full statement of Saakashvili about the allegations levelled by his former closest ally and ex-defense minister, Irakli Okruashvili. Saakashvili made the statement on September 29 before his departure for Upper Abkhazia – part of the breakaway region under Georgian central control:

“I want to tell you that personally for me it is very difficult what Okruashvili has done. I am accustomed to accusations being levelled against me and against my relatives. But this person [Okruashvili] - unlike others, who might actually believed in what they say – knows very well that it is a lie.

This man accused us of something, that - and he knows it very well – is the key principle of my life, against which I am fighting; this is clannish, corrupt deals. He has accused us of something that is most unacceptable, something that we have never done and will never do and he knows this.

I want to stress - to ensure that no one would accuse the president of influencing the court or interfering in the judicial process – it is up to the court to make all decisions and one should not judge my plans regarding these particular accusations. According to the Constitution, I have no right to interfere in this process.

But, everybody should remember one thing – if a person has stolen money, if a person has caused damage to our state – which is in the process of being built, if a person does not observe the law, justice will reign and the state will perform its duties, regardless of what statements are made.

I want to ask a simple question: I was a justice minister in the decayed Shevardnadze government. When I quit, I had only 100 Lari in my pocket. I remember when we rented the office for the National Movement [Party], we, including my friends, who are lawmakers now, were collecting 50 Lari each [to pay office rent]. And how could one earn millions while serving in my government, during my presidency?

This is a clear example personally for me and for everyone that untouchable people and uncontrolled territories should not exist, do not exist and will never exist in Georgia.

The rule of law and putting everyone where they deserve to be, if they violate the law – this is the style of my governance and style of our governance.

Georgia, unlike many other places, enjoys freedom of press; everyone can say what ever they want and as much as they want; but no one will be able to blackmail the people, who have clean consciences. That is all I wanted to say.”

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