The Russian Foreign Ministry said on July 5 President Saakashvili’s recent remarks, that in order to have the strong army Georgian soldiers should be in combat operations in Afghanistan, indicated that the Georgian leadership was in fact interested in lasting Afghan operation longer.
Addressing graduates of Cadets Military Lyceum in Kutaisi on July 1, President Saakashvili said: “Those who want to understand why we are in Afghanistan, should understand that if we want to have the country, we should have the strong army and if we want to have the strong army we should be at active front [referring to being in combat operations in Afghanistan].”
These remarks by Saakashvili were not first of this kind. He made exactly the same remarks for number of times previously, including in September, 2011 and then again repeating them in February, 2012 when visiting Georgian troops in Afghanistan.
In a statement released on July 5, spokesman of the Russian Foreign Ministry, Alexander Lukashevich, says Saakashvili’s speech in Kutaisi implies that the longer the Afghan war lasts, the more training opportunities the Georgian army will have.
“It turns out, that Georgia participates and increases number of its soldiers in Afghanistan not at all for combating terrorism and for the purpose of supporting international security, as envisaged by the mandate of the International Security Assistance Force,” the statement reads. “Moreover, Saakashvili’s words imply that longer ‘the active combat’ lasts in Afghanistan, the better for Georgia, which will have appropriate training range for combat training of its army.”
“We are putting moral aspect of this issue aside (let the people of Georgia and Afghanistan give their assessments). We will only note that the above mentioned remarks unambiguously confirm that Tbilisi maintains militant revanchist stance, which is posing a real threat to peace and stability in Trans-Caucasus. It is no accident that the Georgian side insistently shuns away from signing binding non-use of force agreements with Abkhazia and South Ossetia.”
“We consider, that those, who praise in every possible way ‘Tbilisi’s contribution in providing security in Afghanistan’ and those, who under a seemingly well-intentioned pretext to support this cause provide quite a concrete assistance in build-up of Georgia’s military potential, should pay attention to Mr. Saakashvili’s candid (if not cynical) articulation of his genuine motives,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said.