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Saakashvili: Russia 'Reacts with Panic' to Arab Uprisings
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 5 Feb.'12 / 16:28

Speaking at the Munich Security Conference on February 5, where he arrived after the U.S. visit, President Saakashvili said he “was not surprised” by Russia’s veto of the UN Security Council resolution on Syria as it was “a very logical follow up” of Moscow’s position in respect of other uprisings in the Arab world.

Saakashvili said that “two radically different attitudes emerged” in respect of recent developments in the Arab world, “embodied by two specific regional powers” – Russia, which, he said, “desperately tries to halt the progress of history” and Turkey, which “decided to embrace the evolutions of the world” and to be the “active supporter of change.”

“The Russian Federation reacted with panic and outrage to freedom movements in the Middle East and tried everything to prevent any international support to uprisings,” Saakashvili said.
 
“There is no future for global powers playing against the will of people outside their borders. What is happening in the streets of Moscow is not accidental, because it is very clear: you can not sell to your people the idea that ‘you know the great idea is not your dignity, human rights, freedom of speech, future of your children, but the great idea is restoration of something that can not be restored’,” he said.

President Saakashvili made his 8-minute intervention at the conference in Munich during a panel discussion on Arab Spring; speakers on the panel were Tunisian PM; foreign ministers of Egypt, Turkey and Qatar, as well as U.S. Senator Joseph Lieberman. Moderator of the panel, publisher of Die Zeit newspaper Josef Joffe, introduced Saakashvili, who was not among the panelists, as a “surprise” speaker of that panel.

A day earlier, Russia’s Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov, addressed the Munich Security Conference, and, among other issues, also spoke of Moscow’s proposed new European Security Treaty. In this context he mentioned Georgia’s conflicts, saying that internationally guaranteed non-use of force commitments by Tbilisi, Sokhumi and Tskhinvali should be one of the elements of the new European security pact. Lavrov did not go into details, but Moscow’s declared position is that Russia, along with EU and the U.S., should be a guarantor of such non-use of force treaty, as it does not consider itself as a party into the conflict; Tbilisi, which has already made an unilateral non-use of force declaration, insists on Moscow to reciprocate with similar non-use of force pledge.

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