Hopes for 2012 in President’s New Year message
By Salome Modebadze
Wednesday, January 4
“Let’s spend the next New Year in Sukhumi!” Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili wished people in his New Year message confident that the Russian empire would inevitably fall and Georgia would finally become free. In his televised address aired a few minute before the New Year President Saakashvili summarized 2011 as an important year for the country. Talking of the serious progress the country has achieved in various fields Saakashvili emphasized that the country will continue to carry out reforms in the future.
Having met the New Year at a military base in Adlia the President expressed his respect towards the soldiers protecting Georgian statehood and paid tribute to everyone who has died protecting the unity of the country and participating in peacekeeping missions in Afghanistan. “We are meeting tomorrow with the hope that we will never kneel in front of our enemies and give up our country,” said the President.
The President said that Russia hoped the country would be “levelled to the ground” after the Georgian-Russian war in August 2008, but Georgia has been named an absolute leader in terms of carrying out reforms and fighting corruption throughout the entire post-Soviet space. Welcoming the fact that Georgia is an exemplary country for others the President said, “It’s a very important response to the aggression carried out against the country.”
Praising the young and modern state apparatus among Eastern European countries, Saakashvili emphasized that everything in the country is transparent and oriented on serving people. It was in 2011 when the European Union started their first serious talks on Georgia’s prospect for becoming a fully-fledged EU member in the near future. Insertion of terms “occupant” and “ethnic cleansing” in the European legal dictionary Saakashvili called it a “geopolitical revolution” which would be followed by de-occupation of the country.
Saakashvili also emphasized the importance of starting Georgia-EU negotiations on a free trade agreement as well as a simplified visa regime with the EU. Hoping that a visa free regime would also be available in the near future, Saakashvili said we live in “the greatest epoch.” Despite the great troubles and problems people are still facing in Georgia today, the President welcomed the internal success in educational and healthcare systems, improvements in the social sector etc.
“Although Georgia has to fight with an invader with one hand and build the country with the other, Georgia has managed to launch a process of rebuilding of a scale not seen in the country for the last eight centuries,” Saakashvili said, welcoming the high number of tourists and foreigners visiting the country in 2011. Sharing his plans for 2012 the President said it’s not the governments but people who create such a “climate” in the country with the great hope that Georgia would stand entirely on its own feet. Wishing a Happy New Year especially to the poorest people living in the country Saakashvili expressed his special respect to parents who don’t stop struggling for the welfare of their children.