Nov 23, 2010

Mikheil Saakashvili pledged non-use of force in the process of restoring Georgia`s territorial integrity and sovereignty

STRASBOURG, FRANCE - "..The Georgian government already considers itself bound by the August 12th ceasefire agreement and has always understood that this ceasefire clearly prohibits the use of force.

But-in order to prove that Georgia is definitively committed to a peaceful resolution of its conflict with the Russian Federation-we take today the unilateral initiative to declare that Georgia will never use force to restore its territorial integrity and sovereignty, that it will only resort to peaceful means in its quest for de-occupation and reunification.

Even if the Russian Federation refuses to withdraw its occupation forces, even if its proxy militias multiply their human rights violations, Georgia will only retain the right to self-defense in the case of new attacks and invasion of the 80% of the Georgian territory that remains under control of the Georgian government.

I will address the relevant letters to the Secretary General of the United Nations, the Secretary General of the OSCE, and the leadership of the European Union, stating clearly that we commit ourselves not to use force in order to reunite our illegally divided country, neither against the occupation forces, nor against their proxies, even though the UN Charter could allow us to do so.

My pledge here, in front of you, constitutes a unilateral declaration of a state under international law.

This initiative, Ladies and gentlemen, is far from an easy one for a country that is partially occupied and that counts 500 000 IDPs and refugees.."

As I speak, these forces still occupy 20% of Georgian territory, in blatant violation of international law and of the August 12th cease-fire agreement brokered thanks to the efforts of my good friend, French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who was acting then as President of the European Union.

As I speak, Georgia still counts up to 500,000 IDP's and refugees who cannot return home because some people animated by an old imperialist mentality decided to welcome the 21st century by organizing ethnic cleansing campaigns and building a new Berlin Wall in my country.

How did we respond to these aggressions?

"..This is why we are asking that the Russian military buildup within the international borders of Georgia be qualified as an illegal occupation of a sovereign territory. Many European nations, as well as the United States, already have done so.

Equally, the brutal campaigns that have expelled hundreds of thousands of Georgian citizens from the occupied territories should be qualified as illegal acts of ethnic cleansing.

If we fail to denounce this ethnic cleansing, why would the occupiers ever even consider allowing them to return to their homes and villages?.." Saakashvili said.