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Margvelashvili Slams Presidential Candidate for Accusing Georgia Starting August War

By Tea Mariamidze
Thursday, September 13
President of Georgia, Giorgi Margvelashvili criticizes independent presidential candidate Salome Zourabichvili, who has many times claimed that Georgia started August 2008 war with Russia.

Margvelashvili, whose term ends on October 28 when Georgia has the presidential elections, says that the next president should always advocate Georgia and say that it was the Russian Federation which entered Georgia in 2008 and occupied it.

According to the president, he respects the next president, and it does not matter who it will be.

“I respect the institute for which I have been fighting for five years…The next president will have to advocate Georgia and say in every country that Russia attacked Georgia. This should not be justified. Anyone, who can justify it, stands on the dark side of history. It is the Russian side, ", President Margvelashvili said.

In her interview with TV Priveli, Zourabishvili stated that ex-president Mikheil Saakashvili is to be blamed for starting August war with Russia.

"We have bombed our population. No president has the right to do it. How can we say the next day that we want the integrity of this country? I wish the integrity of this country, and I want that no president of this country bombed its territory and citizens,” she stressed.

Zurabishvili explained that she thinks Russia is the enemy of Georgia and it started all previous wars against the country but not the one in 2008.

"The fact is that Russia is an occupant of Georgia, Russia is an aggressor of Georgia, who started the war in 1801 and every time after that…But in 2008, Russia provoked Georgia, and when you are a president, you should not act on such provocation. When I become the president, I will protect the sovereignty of Georgia,” the politician stated.

This is not the first time Zourabichvili accuses Georgia of starting the war. On August 8, 2018, ten years after the Russian aggression in Georgia, she said at the Mukhatgverdi Brothers cemetery that the military operation was started when Georgia had absolutely no advantages when it was warned by all of its partners not to pursue military steps as it would not be assisted by its allies.

Zourabichvili,66, is supported by the ruling Georgian Dream (GD) team in the presidential elections.

An independent candidate was born in Paris into a family of Georgian political emigrants. The first time Zourabichvili visited Georgia was in 1986 during a break from her job at the French Embassy in Washington.

Mikheil Saakashvili, the 3rd president of Georgia, nominated her as foreign minister in his new government and Zourabichvili was the first female to be appointed to this post in Georgia on 18 March 2004, but former PM Zurab Nogaideli fired her in October 2005 after a series of disputes with parliament members.

Shortly before her dismissal was announced, Zourabichvili resigned from the French foreign service and announced that she would remain in Georgia to go into politics. In November 2005, she set up the organization Salome Zourabichvili’s Movement. In January 2006 she announced the establishment of a new political party Georgia's Way.

On 12 November 2010, Zourabichvili announced her withdrawal from the leadership of Georgia's Way and continued her career abroad, as a coordinator of UN panel of experts on Iran.

In the 2016 parliamentary elections in Georgia, now under the Georgian Dream leadership, Zourabichvili participated as Tbilisi Mtatsminda District majoritarian candidate and won the race and took her seat in the legislative body.