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Georgia still supported as never before

By David Matsaberidze
Tuesday, September 9
Georgia has become the focus of world politics. The EU and US actively pursue their chosen course of helping Georgia, while trying to keep negotiating with Russia. EU Foreign Ministers agree to send monitors to Georgia, although the details of their deployment have yet be worked out, and demand an international inquiry into what led to the armed conflict between Russia and Georgia

President Saakashvili said on September 7 that he was more certain than ever that Georgia’s territorial integrity would be restored, as a result of the huge international support Georgia has received after war with Russia. As Saakashvili stressed, before the war the Abkhazia and South Ossetia conflicts were “forgotten” and “frozen,” now they have become a matter for the entire world.

“Despite Russia’s expectations, Georgia has not been left alone internationally. The Russians had prepared everything in advance: propaganda, cliches, media coverage, and had even bribed politicians and journalists throughout the world, but all this was thwarted,” Saakashvili stressed, adding that now the entire world says that Georgia’s territorial integrity should be protected, as this rather than a dispute between Georgia and Russia is what concerns them.

Saakashvili also spoke briefly about the “unimaginable heroism and bravely” of the Georgian people and the Georgian Army, which he said “managed to contain an overwhelming enemy force for several days.” “Over a hundred of our soldiers died,” Saakashvili said, but he added that: “The damage inflicted on the enemy is unimaginably high.”

“Various politicians’ popularity and whether they are elected or not now revolve around their views on Georgia, and this is the case in huge and very important countries,” Saakashvili stressed, adding that “both Presidential candidates in the United States say that they have two major issues: terrorism and Georgia. Georgia is the major issue of internal politics in Europe, in Britain and France and for our traditional allies in Eastern Europe.”

Saakashvili also said that in addition to the USD 1 billion aid package from the United States, “as far as I know we will also receive several billions from Europe and various international institutions, enough to keep currency strong,” Saakashvili said, adding that the financial collapse Georgia suffered in the early 90s would not be repeated due to the huge international aid.

International support for Georgia is likely to remain very high due to the level of financial and political investment that has been made in the country. As French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner stressed after the EU Foreign Ministers’ meeting in Avignon: “We have expressed our support for the deployment of an autonomous ESDP [European Security and Defence Police] mission as part of the OSCE presence in the first instance.”He concluded by repeating once again that Russia should fully honour the commitments undertaken by President Medvedev by signing six-point ceasefire accord. Estonian Foreign Minister Urmas Paet has stressed that: “It's absolutely necessary to let in international observers who can give an objective assessment of what happened and what is going on. We have all heard lots of rumors... so it's absolutely necessary that an objective international enquiry team can start work, but Russia won't let them in.”

US Vice-President Dick Cheney, is also continuing to turn the screw on Russia to help Georgia. Speaking at the Ambrosetti Forum in Italy on September 6, Cheney slammed Russia’s “brutality” and said the time to offer a NATO Membership Action Plan (MAP) to Georgia and Ukraine has come. “Russian forces crossed an internationally recognized border into a sovereign state [Georgia], fuelled and fomented an internal conflict and conducted acts of war without regard for innocent life, killing civilians and causing the displacement of tens of thousands – all this against a nation that has a democratically elected government and an orientation towards the West,” Cheney stressed. “Russia has offered no satisfactory justification for the invasion and nor could it do so,” he added, saying that recognizing South Ossetia and Abkhazia “only worsens the situation in the region.”

The Vice President concluded by quoting Georgia’s ex-President Eduard Shevardnadze, who said: “The goal of Russia is to restore the influence that it had during the Soviet period and during the Empire period.”