Creating “physical threat” to the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympic Games “is neither in our plans, nor in our capability,” President Saakashvili said in an interview with Georgia’s Russian-language First Caucasus News Channel on February 24.
Asked to comment on Russian President Dmitri Medvedev’s remarks, who pointed the finger at Georgia while warning of security threats to the Sochi Olympics, Saakashvili said that Georgia “poses zero threat” to the Games.
“As far as Russia’s political problem is concerned [in respect of Sochi Olympics], it is a huge problem, because just few kilometers from the Olympic site Russia has officially, on the political level legalized ethnic cleansing [in Abkhazia],” he said. “In this sense they have problems, but this problem was not created by us. We would be happy if we could resolve this problem gradually through joint efforts with Russia.”
He said that in 2007 Georgia supported “openly and with huge enthusiasm” Sochi in its bid to host the Olympics in 2014, “because I thought that it would have helped us avoid those negative trends which were already obvious at the time, especially in respect of Abkhazia, i.e. our territory.”
Asked whether Russia’s renewed attack on Georgia was now possible, Saakashvili said Russia was not now ready “just physically” for such move.
“I think it would be self-destructive [for Russia] from the political point of view. But it is my logic. It is hard for me to judge from their [the Russian authorities’] point of view, so we are careful,” Saakashvili said.
Reaching Out North Caucasus
He said that Georgia’s efforts to reach out people in North Caucasus posed no threat to Russia, as Tbilisi was not pursuing goal of “revising borders”. “Georgia has itself suffered from Russia’s unilateral attempt to revise borders,” he said.
“Caucasus will become peaceful only when borders become symbolic – but they will remain; when passports become of secondary importance and when the ethnic origins would not mean much,” Saakashvili said.
“We are not going to be Russia’s enemy in a long-term perspective – Russia itself acted like an enemy. As soon as the occupation of our territory is terminated, we will immediately become friends again,” he said.
Meanwhile, the external environment is likely to remain volatile and the expected strong rebound of FDI appears increasingly uncertain.