Saakashvili: We Can Prove Georgia did not Start War
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 9 Sep.’08 / 05:02
President Saakashvili has claimed Tbilisi possesses “solid” evidence proving that Georgia did not start war, as well as rebutting allegations that Georgia fell into a Russian trap.
Speaking at a news conference after talks with his French counterpart, Nicolas Sarkozy, after midnight on September 9, Saakashvili said he had handed over to President Sarkozy; President of European Commission Jose Manuel Barroso and EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana in Tbilisi “a very strong proof” of that.
“I know people have been asking questions: who started the hostilities?” he said. “Everybody knows now that genocide was fake; there was no genocide [a reference to the Russian allegations that Georgia committed genocide of the South Ossetian population].”
“I gave to President Sarkozy, to President Barroso and to Javier Solana, I think, very strong proof that Georgians responded to the large-scale Russian invasion that took place before the hostilities emerged,” he added without going into details about this evidence.
“We can prove this; it is a very solid proof and you have ability to appreciate it,” he continued. “From this moment on I do not think there will be any speculation any more whether Georgia started it or Georgia went into the trap; we did not go into the trap; we did not started it. They [Russia] started; they’ve invaded us in a classical way like the invasions happened in the 19th century, in the 20th century and unfortunately it happened again in the 21st century.”
He also said that Georgia was ready for any international investigation of what led to the war.
“Any international commission to investigate it would be welcomed,” he told journalist in a separate remarks after the news conference with Sarkozy. “We are for serious international investigation… I’ve heard [the German] Foreign Minister [Frank-Walter] Steinmeier speaking about it; I was the first one to say that; we want maximum transparency; we are for transparency.”