In a letter sent to Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, Georgian PM Irakli Garibashvili expressed concern over remarks made in leaked wiretapped recordings by governor of Odessa region and Georgia’s former president Mikheil Saakashvili, the Georgian PM’s office said on Monday.
“The head of the Georgian government expresses his concern that Mikheil Saakashvili’s phone conversation with former secretary of Georgia’s National Security Council and general director of Rustavi 2 TV contains statements directed against current government of Georgia, as well as specific calls for anti-state and violent actions,” the Georgian PM’s office said in a statement.
“The PM stresses that such actions do not correspond friendly relations between Georgia and Ukraine. The PM also notes that such calls may pose threat to Georgia’s security and stability; he also requested the President of Ukraine to take interest in this issue,” PM’s office said.
Georgia’s Foreign Ministry summoned on October 30 Ukraine’s chargé d’affaires Georgii Nazarov to complain over remarks made by Saakashvili in the leaked recordings.
In two leaked wiretapped recordings, involving phone conversations with Tbilisi-based Rustavi 2 TV head Nika Gvaramia and one of the leaders of Georgia’s opposition UNM party Giga Bokeria, Saakashvili discusses “defending” Rustavi 2 TV through erecting barricades, calls for “going through revolutionary scenario” and speaks about the need for “physical confrontation”.
Gvaramia and Bokeria have confirmed authenticity of the recordings. In his English-language statement on his Facebook page on November 1, Saakashvili said those phone “calls have been intercepted and doctored by the Russian intelligence agency.” In his first statement made on the same day when those recordings were leaked, Saakashvili did not deny their authenticity, but that statement has been deleted from Saakashvili’s Facebook page since then.
In his November 1 statement Saakashvili responds to, as he put it, “some rather superficial comments regarding the ‘telephone conversations’ between me and my Georgian friends.”
The U.S. embassy in Tbilisi said in a statement on October 31 on leaked wiretapped recordings of Saakashvili that “it is unacceptable for anyone to advocate for violence in politics.”
“I think it is deeply immoral to take this type of ‘conversations’ as a credible source, furthermore to comment on their content,” Saakashvili said.
“Also, I would like to once again clarify my position towards the attempts by a Russian oligarch [Georgia’s ex-PM] Bidzina Ivanishvili to seize Georgia’s biggest independent TV station Rustavi 2. As a leader of the Rose Revolution I have always been against violent protests and I would never ever call for anybody to resort to violence,” writes Saakashvili.
“At the same time we shall do our utmost not to allow Ivanishvili to achieve violent take over of Rustavi 2 which will result in the long lasting damage to democracy in Georgia. Our fight shall remain peaceful at all times, but we shall organize, have united front and prevent carrying out of the Putin style crackdown on media and on existing democratic institutions,” he said.
“As a rule I don’t comment on internal politics in Georgia, but I cannot and will not stay passive when freedom of media and freedom in general are at stake. I call on the international community not to remain passive and keep up pressure on the Russian oligarch and force him to stay away from a free TV station,” said Saakashvili.