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The mission has gone but we won, says Saakashvili

By Etuna Tsotniashvili
Thursday, June 18
Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili has described the UN Security Council’s rejection of the resolution on extending the UN observer mission’s mandate in Georgia as “our diplomatic victory.”

“There is not even one gram of a chance that Georgia will consent to the legalisation of the occupation of Georgia’s territories under our present Government and diplomacy; unfortunately, apparently they [the Russians] hope they will find someone else in Georgia, who will agree to this,” Saakashvili said on June 16, adding that Russia’s goal is to destroy the Georgian state.

According to the President Russia was prepared to pay any price to persuade the Security Council members to give up Georgia but in vain, as there was not even a sight hesitation from the Security Council members. Saakashvili also highlighted that this day was a serious test of the commitment not to recognise the occupation of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

“I think that the international community, together with us, has clearly expressed its position and given a precise answer on this major question, Georgia’s territorial integrity,” Saakashvili said, adding that “Here, on our territory, we are left face-to-face with the aggressor… At this point we have to deal not with the separatist Governments, but with the aggressor and occupier… We should continue our struggle. I think, that yesterday we received serious international legal support for our struggle… We have a long road ahead but we should travel this road to complete the de-occupation and liberation of Georgia,” the President declared. .

After the UN Security Council session President Saakashvili talked to Georgia’s Permanent Representative to the UN, Kakha Lomaia, in New York and listened to his report on the debate. Saakashvili stated that he had seen the “energetic, patriotic and intellectual work of the Ambassador.”

On June 11 the President had strongly criticised UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s report of the last month, in which Abkhazia was not described as part of Georgia. He stated he was very disappointed by the UN Secretary General’s report, which was practically submission to Russian blackmail.

Mikheil Saakashvili noted that Georgia’s aim was to maintain the international missions, but if Russia wanted Georgia to compromise on territorial integrity to maintain the mission, this would not happen. He said that Georgia had held intensive consultations with permanent members of the UN Security Council and he doesn’t remember such support since 1993. Georgia was actively involved in the preparation of the resolution debated at the session.

Russia blocked UN Mission in Georgia at the UN Security Council session on June 15. Russia was the only country which vetoed the proposed resolution. The Kremlin is against the terms of the existing UN mandate, which provides a single mission for both Georgia and its breakaway region of Abkhazia.