Mikheil Saakashvili, who is running for re-election in the January 5 early presidential polls, said the South Ossetian conflict would be resolved within months.
“The [secessionist] regime in Tskhinvali is like a loose tooth ready for removal and I am sure – if the January 5 [presidential elections] are held normally – this is a matter of, if not weeks, then at the very most, months. I am absolutely sure of this. I have precise information to prove it,” he said on December 4.
Saakashvili was speaking at a campaign meeting with a group of students at Tbilisi State University. As he spoke, other students staged a demonstration outside the university, claiming that the organizers of the meeting had selected “only favorable” students and had refused to allow others attend the meeting with Saakashvili.
Inside the hall, the ex-president claimed that South Ossetia had remained calm and free of violence in recent months because of Georgia’s strengthened capacity to respond to what he called "provocations." Georgia, he said, would give “a ten-fold response” to any agression.
“So this issue [South Ossetia] is really just a matter of a short period of time,” Saakashvili said. “And by the way, the Russians said several times, although inadvertently, that they were not interested in South Ossetia.”
On November 28, Saakashvili told a group of internally displaced persons from Abkhazia: “In the nearest future, I mean in the next few months, I am not saying years, we, along with the international community, will create conditions for your return to Abkhazia in safety and dignity.”