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Saakashvili: Ukraine is Georgia’s Strategic Partner
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 8 Feb.'10 / 14:55

President Saakashvili said after polling stations in Ukrainian presidential runoff were closed, that “the Ukrainian democracy has won.”

“Many European countries may envy the way how elections in Ukraine were held,” Saakashvili said while speaking in Shuster Live talk show on Ukraina TV late on February 7.

He also reiterated that Tbilisi and Ukraine would remain strategic partners no matter who becomes the new president in Ukraine.

Exit polls showed Viktor Yanukovych had a narrow lead over his rival, PM Yulia Tymoshenko in Sunday’s runoff. 

“Ukraine is our strategic partner, our interests fully coincide,” said Saakashvili, who was talking on a live link-up from Georgia.

“I am sure Ukraine has a potential to become a regional leader. And I am sure various forms can be found to materialize Ukraine’s regional leadership,” he said.

Commenting on controversy over Georgian would-be observers during the first round of elections, Saakashvili said that Georgia sent observers after prior consulting with Tymoshenko and Yanukovich, as well as with President Yushchenko.

“We have sent observers during the first round – and not 2,000 as it was announced, there were some 200 or 250 of them,” he said and added that Georgia called them back immediately after “differences” emerged on the matter within Ukraine and after Yanukovich called for their withdrawal.

“We are a small country and we have no resources and have no desire – and we’ve never had such – to interfere in the Ukrainian elections,” Saakashvili said. “There are lots of international observers monitoring the Ukrainian elections and in overall we will share the assessment, which they will make.”

He also said that he was sure not a single Ukrainian leader would take a step that would turn the two friendly countries into “enemies.”

“Any hint on possibility to legalize expulsion of 500,000 people from Abkhazia and occupation of 20% of Georgian territory… would be a disaster for Ukraine itself, because some voice certain territorial claims towards Ukraine too,” Saakashvili said.

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