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Saakashvili Speaks of ‘Second Rose Revolution’
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 24 Sep.'08 / 04:26

Saakashvili urged the world to adhere to the following principles in the Georgia crisis:
 Refuse to remain silent;
 A non-recognition policy;
 Full commitment to ceasefire deal;
 Meaningful conflict resolution process;

In his address to the UN General Assembly, President Saakashvili said Georgia was launching, what he called, a “second rose revolution,” in response to Russian aggression. He vowed that Georgia would “soon be stronger and more democratic than ever before.”

President Saakashvili’s speech, which was his fifth address to the UN General Assembly, was a comprehensive version of his article published on September 23 in the Washington Post, with a focus on Russian aggression against Georgia and measures his administration planned in response.

“Georgia was attacked because it is a successful democracy in our part of the world,” he said. “We will fight the specter of aggression and authoritarianism with the most potent weapons in our arsenal; namely our commitment to ever-expanding freedoms within our own borders.”

“This amounts to nothing less than a ‘Second Rose Revolution,’” he added.

“If our first [rose] revolution [in 2003] was about meeting a threat from within by reinventing a failed state riddled by corruption, our second revolution must be even more focused, as now we face an even greater challenge, one that comes from the outside.”

He said that while “the success of the first Rose Revolution helped save my country,” the second one would determine “the health of the international order.”

In his address, President Saakashvili listed in brief initiatives he unveiled during his annual state of the nation address in the Georgian parliament on September 16, less than an hour after the visit of a high-level NATO delegation. In his state of the nation address, Saakashvili called the initiatives “a new wave of democratic reforms.”

“I promise to you that my government will implement, with all due speed, the new democratic initiatives that constitute the second Rose Revolution,” he told the UN General Assembly. “I promise to you that Georgia will soon be stronger and more democratic than ever before and thus be in a better position to contribute to our collective security and prosperity.”

“But for this to have any meaning, we must together defend the principles on which this institution is built. We need actions, not words.”

Saakashvili listed four principles, which he said were essential for Georgia.

“First, we must each refuse to stand silent in the face of this armed aggression and assault on human rights,” he said.

“Second, we must stand united and immediately adopt a non-recognition policy towards Georgia's two breakaway provinces right now being occupied and annexed by the aggressors. We have both a moral and a legal obligation to protect international law and world order.”

“Third, we must ensure that all parties comply with the full terms of the existing ceasefire agreement... This means, as all parties have agreed, a full withdrawal of all military forces from my country, to the pre-conflict positions.”

“Fourth, we must resolve to create a meaningful UN conflict resolution process that will peacefully reunify Georgia.”

He said that instead of "closing-up," Georgia would respond with "a greater openness on many fronts."

In this context he reiterated Georgia’s readiness to fully cooperate with an international investigation to probe into the events that led to the war with Russia.

“I know that there are many people in the world who seek a clearer understanding of how this war started and who started it,” Saakashvili said. “Investigators must have unimpeded access to all officials, documents and intelligence. My government is ready to share every piece of evidence and provide access to every witness sought by investigators. We call on the other party to this conflict [referring to Russia] to fully cooperate and not to obstruct this investigation.”

In his speech, Saakashvili also said that during the Russian invasion of Georgia the world had witnessed “several terrifying new twists in waging war.”

“We saw proxy forces and militias cynically unleashed to ethnically cleanse the population of my country. We experienced the first, full-scale campaign of cyber-warfare… We witnessed in Georgia a sickening campaign of "ecocide" as part of the invasion, when combat helicopters dropped fire bombs on old-growth forests in Borjomi,” Saakashvili said.

He also said that although strong international support for Georgia and "international disapproval" of the invasion had stopped the Russian tanks and troops from taking Tbilisi, "rhetoric, however, is no longer enough. Today we must act."

Saakashvili said that he had been warning the world about the Russian preparations for an invasion of Georgia, adding that if the international community now “fail[ed] to rise to the challenge, I fear that the violence and tactics that subverted state sovereignty in Georgia will spread to other parts of the world.”

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