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Saakashvili Calls on Abkhazians, Ossetians to Jointly Resist External Force
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 29 Apr.'08 / 21:44

President Saakashvili called on Abkhazians and South Ossetians on April 29 “to stand together” in order not to let an “outrageous and irresponsible” external force trigger bloodshed.

“Today’s Georgia is offering you peace and extending the hand of friendship,” Saakashvili said in a live televised address to residents of the breakaway regions, referring to them as "my brothers and sisters."

“But there is one aggressive force which declares that it can take decisions instead of you,” he added.

In his address Saakashvili used the term “outrageous force” several times in an obvious reference to Russia. “We speak about demilitarization,” he said, “and this force is now speaking on your behalf about militarization… about setting up new military bases and checkpoints… and about an increase in military strength.” 

He started his speech by addressing social problems, saying that poverty was one of the major “enemies” for people living both in the conflict areas and in the rest of Georgia.

“Disintegration and confrontation is the joint enemy of our dignified life. We deserve a much better life. We can together create a better life. We are all tired and exhausted with this enmity of so many years,” Saakashvili said. “We are all dreaming about much better living conditions… We are dreaming together about having jobs, stable income, hope for the future, a calm and humane life… My and my government’s efforts are directed towards this goal.”

He said that Tbilisi’s “action plan was not war and confrontation” but “the creation of new jobs.”

“I am sure that we will be able to achieve this goal with much more success jointly,” Saakashvili said.

He said that he knew very well the “difficult conditions” in which people in Abkhazia and South Ossetia lived.

“Living under the reign of the separatists and criminal and corrupt groups was not really your choice,” Saakashvili said. “But today, one large and outrageous force allows itself to take decisions instead of you. It doesn’t care what you think about your future. It wants to make choices on your behalf and to force us to continue existing in confrontation, which it has imposed on us.”

“This outrageous and irresponsible force is again trying today to engage us in confrontation, which would be profitable for [this force] and destructive for us… Our goal is not only to reunite our territories, but to restore and to further develop the relations linking our people for many centuries, which have been temporarily suspended due to the devastating influence of this external force.”

Then he spoke about Tbilisi’s recent proposals to Abkhazia, involving a joint free economic zone, Abkhaz representation in central government and Parliament and an Abkhaz vice-president with the right to veto Abkhaz-related, as Saakashvili put it, “constitutional decisions.”

“Today’s Georgia is offering you calm and protection, which you lack so much,” he said. "Today’s Georgia is offering you life without gangs and criminal authorities; today’s Georgia is offering you life without corruption, wherein no one will ever be able to extort bribes from you, or shares from your businesses; today’s Georgia is offering you opportunities for free and legal business activities, wherein no one will be able to restrict your initiative; we are offering you much better healthcare and education systems; today’s Georgia is offering you real freedom of choice, wherein no one will force you to accept citizenship of this or that country and where you will not be arrested because you want to elect your country’s parliament and president; today’s Georgia is offering an open economy and borders, law and order.”

Saakashvili also said that Abkhazians and Ossetians needed “protection, care and development.”

“We should not allow the existence of these nations to be questioned. I want to promise you that I will not let it happen,” he said. “We should not let anyone engulf our homeland and our people in bloodshed and I pin my hopes on you. Today, when our common ill-wisher tries to impose on us its wicked plans, it is time to make decisions, taking into account the huge responsibility we have to our future generations. Standing together is now an historic necessity.”

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