Georgian PM Irakli Garibashvili said independent Abkhazia and South Ossetia is “utopia”, which will “never happen”, and in what he called was his “brotherly and friendly proposal”, the PM offered the two breakaway regions to have “autonomous” republics within the united Georgian state.
He spoke about issues related to the breakaway regions for about six minutes during his hour-long live televised speech at the event aimed at reporting to the public, what the authorities say, are achievements made over the past two years under the Georgian Dream ruling coalition’s government.
Speaking to an audience, which among others also included GD lawmakers, government members and representatives of various professions – teachers, soldiers, policemen, doctors and others, PM Garibashvili said that despite of multiple challenges the authorities “have achieved significant progress in all the sectors in past two years.”
He said that the government inherited “grave legacy” from its predecessors and had to launch “fundamental” reforms in all the directions in order to make policies human-oriented.
When speaking about “grave legacy” in the start of his speech, Garibashvili also mentioned “occupation” of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.
The opposition United National Movement (UNM), a former ruling party, is planning a protest rally in Tbilisi center on November 15 as it accuses the government of “doing nothing” to counter Moscow’s attempts to “annex” Abkhazia, which Moscow recognized as independent state after the August, 2008 war with Georgia.
“This is what we have inherited from the [United] National Movement,” Garibashvili said. “Today we yield the results of hate speech, their [previous authorities’] and [ex-president Mikheil] Saakashvili’s reckless steps, unbalanced and anti-state policy. The fact that 20 percent of Georgian territories are now occupied by Russia and barb wires are installed on the Georgian territories is a result of this policy.”
“This is the major challenge which our government is facing. With our sound mind, analysis of the past, as well as with restraint, constructive, predictable, but principled, approach we should step-by-step come closer to our main dream, to the dream of each citizen to live in united, strong Georgia. We should achieve restoration of confidence – that’s the demanded of the 21st century policy and the road, which I call, the golden mean of Georgia – it is balanced policy, on the one hand, and, on the other hand, developed, successful, strong economy, strong agriculture, which will be attractive for our [Abkhaz and Ossetian] brothers as well,” the PM said.
Garibashvili spoke again about Abkhazia and South Ossetia later during his speech and said: “We are all children of one land – this is our territory, our homeland, our Georgia.”
“We share the same pain and we should continue moving to the future together,” Garibashvili said.
He then congratulated “Abkhaz brothers” on the Day of the Abkhaz language, which is marked in the breakaway region on October 27.
“I am sure that only together with us, only with Georgia with its European perspective, our Abkhaz brothers will be able to maintain their Abkhaz language and culture. This is very important. I want to explain our vision once again – we really want to live with our Abkhaz and South Ossetian brothers in united, strong Georgia. I want them to realize once again, to think about their children, future generation, how they see their perspective, how do they imagine their life, development, progress without Georgia. It is very difficult when you decide to create so called independent state on the territory of others. It won’t happen my friends; this will never happen. This is unachievable, utopian plan.”
“We and our future generations will never tolerate it, because this is our soil; this is our territory, which our ancestors kept for us with their own blood. You cannot be happy without us and we cannot be happy without you. We really want confidence to be restored between us. We passed through a very difficult past together; there were grave mistakes, but now we live in the 21st century and we offer you to live in united, strong Georgia. I believe that you may still have a problem with trusting [Tbilisi], but look at our policy, look at our approach, look at our rhetoric and our deeds,” he said.
“We, Georgia, actually have a huge perspective of progress, but we do not want to develop without you. So, once again, I want to call on you, our Abkhaz and South Ossetian brothers, to analyze and think over it that it is the territory of united Georgia; you had been an autonomous republic and we offer the same - to have autonomy, but within united, strong, independent Georgia and to live in peace. This is my brotherly and friendly proposal,” the Georgian PM said.