- ‘Our foreign policy intensified’;
- ‘French FM to visit Georgia in mid-July’;
- ‘Ready for talks with Russia’;
- ‘Russian leadership elected in violation of int’l norms’;
- ‘Launch of Association Agreement talks with EU in July historic’
On June 29 President Saakashvili again spoke on importance of describing Abkhazia and South Ossetia as “occupied regions” by the White House, saying that it creates “absolutely new reality” in connection with those regions.
Speaking at an extended session of the National Security Council in presence of some opposition politicians, Saakashvili said that Tbilisi would continue its drive to achieve adoption of this term in reference to Abkhazia and South Ossetia by individual EU-member states, as well as by EU itself.
“You are well aware that the term ‘occupation’ has been used very rarely in the course of 20th century... This term means that occupation will end sooner or later. It means giving a temporary status to presence of [occupying force] on those territories; it means that those people [Russian forces] are there illegally; it means that property transactions are illegal… For example, I want tell some imprudent Russians: you are illegally buying houses [in Abkhazia] in illegally occupied territory of Georgia, as it is recognized by the international community and Russian forces there are occupants,” Saakashvili said.
“The Russian people, which itself experienced Nazi occupation during the World War II, because of its leadership’s short-sighted and reckless policy now has to live in the country, which is occupant,” Saakashvili said.
He also said that despite Moscow’s statements that they would not negotiate with Georgia’s current leadership, Tbilisi was “fully ready to hold comprehensive talks with Russia without any pre-conditions on normalization of relations.”
“This normalization means [talks] on return of 500,000 displaced persons back to their homes and restoration of their property rights, as well as on other issues related with bilateral relations, including political, economic, diplomatic and humanitarian aspects,” Saakashvili said.
“We have no interest in having confrontation with Russia; we are ready to talk with the Russian leadership, which unlike the Georgian one is elected through violation of all the international norms and that’s observed by international organizations; despite of that it is the Russian leadership and we recognize it as partner in negotiations and we want to have talks with them providing that Georgia should be recognized as united, sovereign, independent state,” Saakashvili said.
In his live televised opening remarks at the National Security Council, Saakashvili also said that Georgia’s foreign policy has intensified significantly recently.
“After some time of calmness, there have been series of foreign visits. We have recently hosted Austrian Foreign Minister, the Poland’s Foreign Minister will visit Georgia and then the U.S. Secretary of State will visit Georgia. On July 14, French Foreign Minister [Bernard Kouchner] will be celebrating the French national day here in Tbilisi together with us – at least according to the information that was available yesterday - and on July 15 we are formally launching negotiations with EU on Association Agreement. A high-level EU delegation will be visiting Georgia; this is a historic moment – without any exaggeration – for launch of Georgia’s European integration. We expect opening of talks with EU on comprehensive free trade agreement in early autumn. We have already signed visa facilitation with EU… and we hope that along with Association Agreement we also start moving towards visa-free regime [with EU]… It is Georgia among EU Eastern Partnership countries, which has most of the chances to meet EU visa-free criteria in the nearest future,” Saakashvili said.