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PM Ivanishvili's Speech on Fifth Anniversary of August War
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 8 Aug.'13 / 19:57

The Georgian PM delivered the speech at an oath-taking ceremony of 760 newly enlisted soldiers in the town of Gori on August 8, 2013.

Soldiers, the oath of enlistment implies swearing loyalty, protecting law and order, and assuming responsibility before one's homeland. By making this oath, you have become full members of the armed forces, and from this day on you are assigned the greatest mission of protecting Georgia's independence. I congratulate you on this day!

There is no greater honor than to serve one's country as a soldier. You have an interesting path ahead of you. I am convinced that on this path you will obtain knowledge and experience so needed by Georgia. The slogan of our armed forces is "Homeland, Honor, Faithfulness." And I believe that today our homeland acquired honorable and faithful defenders in you.

Development of the armed forces is of utmost importance to our country, Georgia's statehood, and the future of our children.

The Georgian army does not lack support and love from the people. Our people have put their trust in our army. It is a great honor and responsibility at the same time, which each and every one of you must bear honorably.

You must continue the difficult and praiseworthy path of our ancestors. I wish each and every one of you so much needed steadfastness.

We know that you are ever-ready to sacrifice your lives for the homeland. Not only here at home, but in a foreign land, far away from Georgia, together with international peacemaking forces, our soldiers protect international security and peace at the expense of their own lives.

Our people have put their trust in your heroism and selflessness. It is your lives, however, that we need most.

We must cherish our soldiers and pay tribute to our heroes who have died for the homeland, while enabling their families to lead a dignified and honorable life. Although nothing can recompense the loss and nothing can ease the pain, it is nonetheless a duty of the state to surround them with care and sympathy.

At our request, starting 2014, the families of those fallen will receive 500 GEL compensations. In 2015, this compensation will grow to 1 000 GEL. In addition, other social benefits have been established to improve their health and social conditions.

Today's oath of enlistment falls on one of the most tragic dates in Georgia's modern history. Five years have passed since the August war. We have all experienced and taken to heart those most difficult days.

Destruction and losses, hundreds of perished victims, new occupied territories, tens of thousands of our compatriots forced to be refugees in their own country: these are the most grievous outcomes the August 8 has brought us.

Glory and honor to all soldiers and officers who fought heroically and protected their homeland at the expense of their own lives! Memory eternal to those fallen in this war, be they our Georgian or Ossetian compatriots!

I believe that we will draw the right conclusion from these tragic days in Georgian history and will set properly calculated plans for the future. I am convinced that our consistent policy will enable us to restore in full peaceful relations between the Georgians and the Ossetians, the Georgians and the Abkhazians.

We will regain our strength and succeed in forgiving. However, this is not enough. We must also succeed in admitting our own mistakes. We must correct what is still correctable. The present state of affairs cannot persist much longer.

We are ready for direct dialogue with our Abkhazian and Ossetian brothers. I am convinced we will find common language to build common relations in the future.

Georgia's democratic development and economic growth will turn around the Abkhazians and Ossetians and will convince them once and for all that Georgia is their homeland.

In august 2008, Russia carried out armed aggression against Georgia. The occupied territories were recognized by Russia as independent states. It was the heaviest blow for Georgia's statehood. Unfortunately, Georgia also has its own share of the blame for letting things the way they developed, which was confirmed by the European Union in its 2009 report.

We should not only draw clear conclusions from this tragic experience, but think about tomorrow as well. Therefore, despite everything, we have to find forms of relations with Russia. At the end of last year, we launched direct dialogue. At the initial stage, we aimed to solve concrete pragmatic issues. At the following stage, we will have to solve an even more difficult problem. Good will among our peoples gives us a hope that this process will develop positively.

Georgia's international partners commended the new format of relations with Russia as a constructive step toward mitigating tensions.

Unfortunately, we cannot find an explanation to the fact of the barbwire further into the territory of our country. This is not an adequate answer to the steps taken by our government toward normalization of relations with Russia.

And nonetheless, we remain calm and consistently implement our pragmatic policy.

As for the restoration of diplomatic relations with Russia, this issue can be included in the agenda after we achieve progress in restoring our country's territorial integrity.

We understand that these problems cannot be solved overnight. I am convinced that our strategic partners - the Unites States of America, European Union member states, and international organizations - will support us in this undertaking.

This is exactly why our every step must be well calculated, so that supporting us may become easier for our strategic partners.

We have pointed out more than once and I reiterate loudly that Georgia's western orientation and integration into the European Union and NATO represent our strategic choice that has no alternative.

I am sure that we will achieve this goal, our country will overcome difficulties; we will ensure Georgia's de-occupation and restore ties with our brothers, Abkhazians and Ossetians, and build a country that everyone will be proud to call his/her own.

Source: Georgian Government's website

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