Saakashvili’s Annual Address [civil.ge]

Saakashvili’s Annual Address

Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 16 Sep.’08 / 20:59

http://civil.ge/eng/article.php?id=19525

Today my speech should have been my report on how we were implementing our program of Georgia without Poverty;

I wanted to speak about increased pensions and other social projects; about new projects in agriculture, as they were part of our [pre-election] promises;

But instead of that, now I am standing here as the president whose country was attacked by a huge aggressor, which tried to totally destroy Georgia;

At the same time I am the president of the nation that was not broken and which continues its struggle to achieve its goals;

We have been warning the world about this threat… about the maniacal desire of Russia to invade Georgia;

We have been doing everything to protect peace, which is the most important thing for us;

We have been offering peace plans to the separatists for the sake of peace;

We have done everything to prevent war;

But we have not done and will not do one thing – surrender to the enemy; the enemy will never see our backs;

The Georgian nation is a hero;

I want to stress the very important role of our Church;

I thank my people and promise my people that each and every day of my term in office will be in your service;

For the first time in our history the entire civilized world stood beside us;

This confirms that we have made the right choice in picking our allies;

I want to welcome NATO, which stood beside us; we understand that there is a long way towards NATO, but we clearly see this road and we will travel this road;

We always stood beside the United States because we have common values and the United States stood beside us when we needed it most;

By protecting our security we will protect the energy security of Europe;

This is a decisive moment and there is a long way ahead before final victory;

Do not believe those who say that we have won; but do not believe either those who tell you that we have been defeated;

Putin, who planned all this, knows that Russia has not won; Putin wanted to destroy Georgia’s democracy and Putin wants total control over Central Asian energy resources;

But Georgia will not be defeated;

Not a single dictator will be able redraw European borders;

The threat still exists and the enemy still stands in the middle of Georgia;

Our goal now is to take care of the victims and to rebuild the country;

Not a single person should be left without housing;

I assume responsibility for everything that happened before the war and for everything that is needed for the country’s reconstruction;

We now need peace and stability; we did not want this war;

We should now become united – as we did during the war – to rebuild the country;

In the next 18 months we should be in a situation better than before the war;

We at least managed to find a common language with the opposition on the major issues – unity of the country and continuation of democratic reforms;

The Anti-Crisis Council [with the involvement of some opposition parties] should have some executive powers;

In respect of another, small part of the opposition, I want to say:  do not forget that as never before Georgia needs our unity and our cooperation; I am as never before ready for cooperation;

Of course there are questions that need to be answered; I support the parliamentary group and parliamentary debates on these matters [what led to the war]; we are interested in answering all the questions;

Georgia’s response to Russia’s aggression will be more democracy, more freedom and more progress;

I want to announce a new set of democratic reforms, involving a stronger parliament, judiciary, more free media;

A constitutional amendment according to which the newly elected parliament will be able to pass a confidence vote in the new cabinet;

Increased funding for political parties;

The proposal will also involve cutting the president’s powers to dissolve Parliament and the details of this proposal will be worked out together with Parliament;

Debates should take place permanently on the public TV and we should create conditions for that;

We need a new wave of judicial reform aimed at a more independent and free judicial system; 

Judges will be appointed for life;

Creating strong guarantees for private property;

I am standing here because our nation is unbreakable;

We will definitely win, but the important thing is to maintain strong confidence;

The most important thing is to always remember that our strength is in our unity.

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