The state is strong and it will protect peace and society, President Saakashvili said on March 28, adding that now it was the time for a dialogue, instead of “radicalism.”
“We have built the statehood in recent years; we have created the strong state, which has strong state institutions and now there is no time for destruction, now it is time to maintain what has already been built and the time for building new; now there is no time for radicalism, now is the time for a dialogue; now there is no time for chaos and wrangling, now is time for unity,” he said in televised remarks made in the town of Abasha of Samegrelo region.
“No one should have any illusion that the state is weakened even a bit; that’s not the case and the society should not worry about it; we will protect the society; we will protect peace in Georgia; we will defend our development and we will maintain and develop the country’s economy against the background of the global crisis,” he added.
In his remarks the President has also mentioned video tapes released by the Interior Ministry and aired repeatedly by the Georgian television stations involving alleged arms dealings of Nino Burjanadze’s party activists, by suggesting that such footage was scaring off investors.
“Of course even talks on and airing of these tapes by television stations result in lose of jobs. But in the end Georgia will manage to withstand this crisis; the Georgian state institutions are strong and Georgia will further progress; I am absolutely sure of this,” Saakashvili said.
In his remarks he also made a reference to a meeting that took place in Kiev between former parliamentary chairperson Nino Burjanadze’s husband, Badri Bitsadze (a former head of Georgia’s border police), and Shalva Breus, a printing magnate in Russia, who is native of Batumi, Georgia. The Georgian television stations immediately picked up the news first posted on the Ukrainian website grom.in.ua according to which the meeting was also attended by Teymuraz Momtaji, who is described by these reports as a close associate of a criminal authority Shakro Kalashvo, now jailed in Spain. The implication of these reports was that Russia might be behind the street protest rallies, which the Georgian opposition plans to launch from April 9. Bitsadze confirmed that the meeting took place, but denied that Georgia’s internal politics was discussed.
Saakashvili said that Georgia now needed unity, “because now Georgia’s enemy does not sleep; contrary to it [the enemy] is ambushed right here, which sends to us Kalashovs and Mamtajis.”
He also said “revenchists will fail to change anything in Georgia, because today it is completely different epoch in Georgia; it is not 1991” – armed coup toppled late President Zviad Gamsakhurdia in January, 1992, two weeks after fighting in Tbilisi.