President Saakashvili said late on Friday night, that what French President Nicolas Sarkozy spoke in Tbilisi was “undoubtedly historic for our country.”
In an interview with the Rustavi 2 TV station, he said that in its drive to integrate with Euro-Atlantic structures, Georgia had always enjoyed with the strong support of the Central and Eastern European countries, but that was not the case with France and Germany.
“In Europe major issues are decided by leading European states – these are: Germany and France and if you want to join NATO and EU you need a support one of those two countries,” Saakashvili said.
“I want to remind everyone that in 2008 Bucharest NATO summit France was against of granting Georgia MAP [Membership Action Plan]. France was till now against of mentioning about Georgia’s EU integration and EU membership. Nicolas Sarkozy has turned around this [stance],” Saakashvili said.
“France to some extent adopted Georgia in terms of NATO and EU integration and I know it from the past experience on the example of Romania, Bulgaria and other Central European states, that if France takes in charge of something and if France decides something France brings it to the end.”
He said EU and NATO-membership “means that no one will ever be able to swallow us.”
Saakashvili also stressed the importance of Sarkozy’s remarks in which he said that Georgia’s path of reforms should convince the population of Abkhazia and South Ossetia “of the fact that their future is beside the Georgian compatriots in an open country and not in isolated and enslaved pseudo states.”
Saakashvili said under the control of Russia, which, he said, “is on the verge of collapse”, the two breakaway regions had no future.
Saakashvili also hailed Sarkozy’s statements about Georgia’s reforms, saying that what the French President portrayed in his speech “was unimaginably positive picture.”
Earlier on Friday in his speech to the tens of thousands of people gathered on the Freedom Square to listen to French President’s outdoor speech, Saakashvili said that no foreign power or “fifth column” would derail Georgia from its path of Euro-Atlantic integration.
“Because of your relentless efforts, sacrifice and actions Georgia is so firmly engaged on the path of the European and Trans-Atlantic integration, that no foreign leader - as strong as he seem… no puppet of a foreign power, no army of a foreign country – as frightening as it seem, no fifth column will be able to throw us off this path,” he said.
Saakashvili, who made his speech before the French President’s address and after a singer performed Georgian and French anthems, said that unlike in 1921, when the Bolshevik Red Army invaded Georgia and when Georgia had no allies to protect it, three years ago during the August war Georgia had friends who “stood by our side and the first one among them was” the French President.
“At the time [referring to 1921] Europe abandoned us and today Europe’s ancient nation stands beside us to protect our freedom,” he said.
He said that “radical reforms” launched after the Rose Revolution had “one purpose – the European transformation of Georgia, turning our ancient European nation into a modern, democratic and European state.”
Saakashvili concluded his speech with reciting Georgia’s late PM Zurab Zhvania, saying: “We are all Georgian and therefore European.”
After their outdoor speeches Saakashvili and Sarkozy met in the presidential palace.
The Georgian President’s administration reported that the French President awarded Saakashvili with Legion d'Honneur and the latter awarded his French counterpart with the Saint George’s Victory Order for “protecting Georgia’s sovereignty and for firm support to Georgia’s national interests”.