President Saakashvili said the European Parliament’s resolution on Georgia, which is calling on key EU institutions to recognize Abkhazia and South Ossetia as “occupied territories”, “is a historic” document, which “creates legal basis for irreversible unification of Georgia.”
“This resolution is important and decisive in our struggle for Georgia’s eventual liberation, de-occupation and European future from several points of view. First, what is the most important in this resolution is that it clearly reflects that Russia carries out illegal military occupation of Georgia’s regions,” Saakashvili said.
Saakashvili was speaking during a televised address to the nation made several hours after the resolution was passed on November 17,
He said that the Abkhazia and South Ossetia were referred to as “occupied territories” in resolutions of Parliamentary Assembly of Council of Europe, as well as by the U.S. Senate, “but it is for the first time when Europe’s and the world’s most authoritative, elective body legitimized the fact that Russia’s military presence is illegal military occupation.”
“No matter how things will develop, after this resolution Europe – our major space for existence – will never recognize Russia’s occupation as a legitimate act. After this [resolution] Europe will never recognize independence of Georgia’s regions... That is unimaginable blow for insidious plans, which they [referring to the Russian leadership] had,” Saakashvili said.
The second issue on which Saakashvili emphasized was the part of the resolution which says that “ethnic cleansing and forcible demographic changes have taken place in the areas under the effective control of the occupying force.”
He said that although in the OSCE documents ethnic cleansing in Abkhazia was “indirectly mentioned”, never before an explicit statement was made that “crime of ethnic cleansing was carried out in Georgia”.
“Never before the perpetrator of this ethnic cleansing has been specifically named. With this document [European Parliament’s resolution] the truth has eventually prevailed after so many years,” Saakashvili said.
OSCE’s 1999 Istanbul summit declaration reads: “We reiterate our strong condemnation as formulated in the [OSCE 1994] Budapest and [OSCE 1996] Lisbon Summit Documents, of the ‘ethnic cleansing’ resulting in mass destruction and forcible expulsion of predominantly Georgian population in Abkhazia, Georgia, and of the violent acts in May 1998 in the Gali region.”
Saakashvili also said that the part of the European Parliament’s resolution - “ethnic cleansing and forcible demographic changes have taken place in the areas under the effective control of the occupying force” – amounted “to accusing the Russian occupying power of committing crimes against humanity.”
“After the Balkans no one in Europe has been accused of committing this crime… After many years, for the first time, occupying force of the Georgian regions is accused of committing this crime,” Saakashvili said.
“I know one thing – historically occupation was always ending with de-occupation and war criminals have always been punished recently,” he said. “The most unambiguous foundation for that was put in place today. I am sure the moment when everything will end justly is not far.”
He also stressed on the importance of the part of the resolution, which calls on the key EU institutions “to recognise Georgia as a European state” and to base ongoing negotiations on Association Agreement with Georgia on a European perspective. Saakashvili said it was the first time when the European Parliament recognized Georgia’s perspective to become EU member. He said it happened because the European Parliament described Georgia, as he put it, “as the best reformer country among the Eastern Partnership” states. The European Parliament’s resolution says: “Georgia is one of the best-performing partners of the Eastern Partnership in adopting reforms, although problems still persist as regards their implementation.”
Saakashvili also emphasized on the part of the resolution which expresses “concern” over the terrorist attacks in Georgia – reference to series of blasts in Georgia which Tbilisi said were masterminded by a Russian military officer based in Abkhazia.
Saakashvili also said that with this resolution “a very important stage has been crowned on which we have been working since the war” with Russia in August, 2008.
“After the Stalin era, Russia has invaded a neighboring country for the first time, but failed to fully occupy this country and overthrow its government,” Saakashvili said.
“This is unimaginable geopolitical knock over from the Russia’s perspective. With its unity, firmness and willingness to resist, the Georgian people have actually made a miracle,” he said, adding that “huge courage of our people triggers admiration of the European people” causing their support towards the small nation.