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Saakashvili: "We could have avoided the war"

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Thursday, April 18
Mikheil Saakashvili spoke on the Rustavi 2 TV program Pozitsia on April 16. Topics of the interview were the August War in 2008, the upcoming UNM street rally and the UNM's future. Saakashvili also touched upon his future plans.

“Georgia could [have] avoided the August War, if wanted to lose our statehood,” Saakashvili stated. According to the president, Russia had elaborated a plan against Georgia long before the invasion and the war situation was practically unavoidable. Saakashvili emphasized that the US Secretary of State at that time, Condoleezza Rice, warned him not to be provoked by Russian actions.

Saakashvili also stated that the Eastern Partnership was created with the goal of protecting Georgia from Russia.

Saakashvili said that he is ready to answer questions regarding the war if a parliamentary commission is created regarding the August 2008 events.

“I will go to the parliament and answer the questions. This procedure is not followed with legal outcomes or any changes in non-recognition policy,” Saakashvili said, adding that the current Georgian government continuously speaks about past events when it is better to think about the future.

“To be sure, the Georgian-Russian war is still not over. We neither won the war nor lost it. However, currently there is a chance for the Russians to defeat us… Russia does not invest money in the occupied regions, as it knows that it has no chance to legitimate them, until the castle is broken from inside…” Saakashvili stated.

He also highlighted that the new Prime Minister, Bidzina Ivanishvili, did not give much importance to the non-recognition policy. “This might be due to his lack of experience in politics.” However, according to Saakashvili, he wrote a letter to Ivanishvili two weeks ago and explained the issue in detail.

Saakashvili denied the disintegration of the United National Movement (UNM) and did not confirm the rumors that the general secretary of the UNM, Vano Merabishvili, would be named as a presidential candidate of the party during the April 19 street rally.

Saakashvili’s statements were positively assessed by the parliamentary minority, according to which, the proposed investigation into the war is an anti-state decision and aims at naming Saakashvili as a war initiator, which is in Russia's interest.

The parliamentary majority highlighted that the aim of the investigation is studying the possible violations within the war and not looking for who the initiators of the war were. According to them, the speech revealed that Saakashvili has much information concerning the war events and he should collaborate with the investigation.

Head of the Elections and Political Technologies Research Centre, Kakha Kakhishvili, states that the war should be investigated.

“It should be investigated whether there was deliberate bait on Russian provocation, or carrying out the actions from the previous Georgian leadership that were profitable for Russian and not for Georgian interests,” Kakhishvili said, adding that the president’s questioning is a legal procedure and in the case that some criminal actions are revealed against Saakashvili, he should answer for this as well.