In a live televised statement on Friday following leak of wiretapped recordings of ex-President Mikheil Saakashvili, PM Irakli Garibashvili called for “calm”, “restraint” and “unity”.
He said that the law enforcement agencies will “neutralize and eradicate any possible provocation.” He also called on everyone “to think carefully and not to become unwittingly a blind weapon in somebody’s dirty plans.”
The two recordings, which were leaked onto internet on October 29, involves phone conversations between Mikheil Saakashvili, who is now governor of Ukraine’s Odessa and Rustavi 2 TV head Nika Gvaramia and one of the leaders of the UNM opposition party Giga Bokeria. In the recordings, Saakashvili, discusses “defending” Rustavi 2 TV through erecting barricades, calls for “going through revolutionary scenario” and speaks about the need for “physical confrontation” during which “faces should be smashed”.
“It is impossible not to be appalled by the cynicism and indifference shown by these persons who once held the fate of our country in their hands. It is yet another example of how immoral their attitudes are towards politics in general, and what is most important, towards our homeland and our people,” PM Garibashvili said in his televised statement.
“These people, who feature in these recordings, are those who were raiding peaceful protesters, who were brutally acting with opponents, who were raiding televisions, including Imedi TV [in 2007] and others, who were extorting money from businessmen and ordinary citizens; who created such system in prisons, which damaged the reputation of our country globally,” he said.
“They still fail to understand that democracy has been established in Georgia. Today our state is much stronger than it was three years ago and much stronger than anyone can imagine,” the PM said.
“All the agencies, security service and the police, are working round-the-clock to protect security, peace and stability of each and every citizen,” he said.
“We fully control the situation,” Garibashvili said, adding that he had a meeting with Interior Minister Giorgi Mgebrishvili and the head of the State Security Service Vakhtang Gomelauri.
“I want to appeal to everyone, to our population to keep calm. We should try to stand above that and despite of differences in political views we should all stand together; we should not allow any unrest,” Garibashvili said.
“The state will not allow it happen. I promise you that our law enforcement agencies will investigate this issue to the end – they will neutralize and eradicate any possible provocation, anything that will be directed against our state, and they will take all the necessary measures to protect the security and peace of our country and our people,” he said.
“I can understand outrage – it is difficult for me too to make a statement about it without emotions, but today we all need restraint,” he said.
“I want to call to all the parties – both within Georgia and abroad – to refrain from politicizing this process and exerting pressure on the judiciary,” he said, referring to ongoing court battle over Rustavi 2 TV ownership dispute, which on Friday was adjourned until Monday upon the request of Rustavi 2 TV lawyers.
“Today the judiciary is independent and free. Therefore, I call on everyone to let the system work, let the court and the judge make an independent and objective decision on any issue,” the PM said.
“I want to reaffirm our government’s unconditional supports for freedom of media in our country; Georgia has and will have free media no matter how Rustavi 2 TV court case ends.”
“I want to tell categorically those people, who plan to participate in a possible plot as [shown] in [wiretapped] recordings, to think carefully and not to become unwittingly a blind weapon in somebody’s dirty plans.”
“The state and personally I declare that we assume the responsibility for and guarantee that security of each and every citizen, each journalist and of any other person will be protected.”
“I also appeal to journalists and everyone else to think carefully in order not to let anyone use you for implementation of narrow political interests and not to become unwittingly the participants of this provocation, this possible conspiracy,” the PM said.
“I promise those, who try to split the society, who are trying or planning any kind of provocation against our state, that they will be punished in the strictest way.”
“We should build the state, where political leaders will never be able to confront Georgian citizens and none of them will be able to plot provocations. If such thing happens all of them will be exposed and punished in the strictest way.”
“And finally, I want to remind everyone about our civil duties and responsibilities – we all have one homeland and we should live together regardless of our different political views. Therefore, let’s stand above these provocations, this hatred and create peaceful future together,” the PM said.