Bush to Emphasize on Georgia’s Democracy, European Integration, Conflicts

A stage is being installed on Freedom Square,
where George W. Bush will address the
Georgian citizens on May 10.
Click on image to view other photos

The U.S. President’s national security advisor Stephen Hadley said on May 4 that George W. Bush’s trip to Europe, including his stop in Georgia, will stress the common commitment of Europeans and Americans to “advance freedom, prosperity and tolerance in Europe and beyond.” The U.S. official has also unveiled some of the details of the schedule of Bush’s visit to Georgia on May 9-10.

“On Monday [May 9] afternoon, the President and Mrs. Bush will depart [Moscow] for Tbilisi, Georgia.  Upon arrival, they will visit Old Town Tbilisi. On Tuesday, May 10, the President and Mrs. Bush will participate in an official arrival ceremony.  Later that morning, President Bush will meet with President Saakashvili, followed by a joint press availability.  After the press availability, the President will meet with Georgian civil society leaders and then meet with Speaker of Parliament [Nino] Burjanadze.  President Bush will then offer remarks to the Georgian people in Freedom Square at the site of the Peaceful Rose Revolution.  Tuesday evening, the President and Mrs. Bush will depart Tbilisi for Washington, D.C,” Stephen Hadley said at a news briefing at the White House.

Georgia will be George Bush’s final stop during his European trip, scheduled for May 6-10, which also evolves visits to Latvia, the Netherlands and Russia. This visit to Europe will mark the 60th anniversary of the end of World War II.

In Georgia the U.S. President will honor the country’s Rose Revolution as “a landmark in the history of liberty,” Hadley said.

“The President will pay tribute to that accomplishment and commend the people of Georgia for choosing democracy, and standing up for their freedoms through nonviolent means,” he added.

Hadley said that President Bush will express U.S. support for Georgia’s desire to have closer ties to NATO and the EU and will reiterate that Georgia must address “through peaceful means the separatist conflicts that are in that country.”

The Washington Post reported on May 5 that President Bush will warn his Georgian counterpart Mikheil Saakashvili “against provocative actions in the Moscow-aligned separatist region of South Ossetia.” The Washington Post also quoted unnamed U.S. officials as saying that in a nod to Russian sensibilities, Bush will deliver private messages to the Latvians and Georgians to work with Moscow.

Western media sources have intensively covered this upcoming European trip of the U.S. President and stress that Bush will have a delicate task.

“His [Bush’s] decision to visit the Baltic States and Georgia… will be seen as provocative by Vladimir Putin, the Russian leader,” the Financial Times says.

In his address to the nation on May 3 Georgian President Saakashvili said that George W. Bush’s visit is recognition of Georgia “as a leader of democracy in the region” and described this visit as “a historic event.”

“The leader of the greatest democratic county arrives in Georgia. This confirms that the United States recognizes the democratic achievements of Georgia. The fact that the U.S. President arrives in Tbilisi proves Georgia’s special role and special mission in the region,” he said.

“However, we should not harbor the illusion that Bush’s visit will solve all the problems existing in the country. We should do everything ourselves. The U.S President arrives to support freedom, democracy and the future of this country,” Saakashvili added.


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