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Saakashvili Tells Opposition to Cooperate, Amid ‘External Threats'
/ 23 Apr.'08 / 21:45
Civil Georgia

President Saakashvili has offered opposition leaders regular meetings to, as he put it, keep them informed about national security related issues, amid tensions with Russia.

“I call on the opposition leaders to have a joint position on fundamental issues of national security and territorial integrity. I offer them systematic meetings to provide them with updated information and to secure their maximum inclusion during this very important time for our history,” Saakashvili said in a live televised address late on April 23. “I want to listen to their opinion and to accept their recommendations. In the face of external threats, I want our positions to be unified. We may not agree on everything, but I want to stand together for protection of our territorial integrity and national values.”

President Saakashvili has offered opposition leaders regular meetings to, as he put it, keep them informed about national security related issues, amid tensions with Russia.

In his live televised address late on April 23, Saakashvili again called for unity amid “external threats” after Russia’s “series of aggressive and provocative steps” through which, as he said, Moscow “for the first time openly declared” it was no longer recognizing Georgia’s sovereignty over Abkhazia.

“I call on the opposition leaders to have a joint position on fundamental issues of national security and territorial integrity. I offer them systematic meetings to provide them with updated information and to secure their maximum inclusion during this very important time for our history,” Saakashvili said. “I want to listen to their opinion and to accept their recommendations. In the face of external threats, I want our positions to be unified. We may not agree on everything, but I want to stand together for protection of our territorial integrity and national values.”

He then suggested that “recent provocations” could have been linked with Georgia’s upcoming parliamentary elections.

“Aggressive leaders have chosen to openly counter neighboring states’ free and democratic choice,” Saakashvili said. “It seems that this very factor is a reason why the provocations in our country coincide with the period when our people have to exercise their democratic right through elections and when Georgia through integration with Europe expresses its free will to choose its allies.”

Saakashvili stated that parliamentary elections would be “held exactly when they are planned – May 21, as it was decided by the Georgian people” and reiterated he would “protect free and democratic choice of the Georgian people through holding the most fair and democratic elections in the history of our country.”

When speaking about Georgia’s response to Russia’s “provocations,” Saakashvili was making focus on intensification of Tbilisi’s diplomatic efforts.

“We will defend and we will not give up our territorial integrity; we will tolerate not a single illegal action undertaken against our sovereign territories,” he said. “We will keep maximum diplomatic efforts with our friends and allies to maintain our peaceful and democratic values in order to create guarantees for protection of Georgia’s security and protection of peace and to force everyone to give up aggressive and irresponsible policy towards Georgia. As a sovereign and independent nation we will undertake any necessary step for protection of our homeland and for reinforcement of our diplomatic position.”

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