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Saakashvili Speaks on Ganmukhuri Incident at NSC

President Saakashvili has convened an emergency session of the National Security Council (NSC) following the incident in Ganmukhuri.

Saakashvili stopped short of instructing the government to launch procedures on withdrawal of Russian peacekeeping troops from the Georgia?s conflict zones; he, however, recalled a resolution passed by the Parliament last July calling on the government to launch relevant procedures in order to suspend the Russian-led peacekeeping operations.

Below is part of Saakashvili speech aired live by the television stations at the NSC session:

“We were informed while visiting a newly built factory in Tbilisi that a police post located on the territory of the patriotic camp in Ganmukhuri was attacked by a large unit of the so called Russian peacekeepers, consisting of about 100 or 150 servicemen.

The Ganmukhuri camp is a very principled and important place for me. You know, that we had a very principled conversation with the UN Secretary General in New York about the report concerning this camp. We protected this camp with our teeth and it is good that the international community finally shared our position. We do not intend to relocate this camp.

Therefore, I decided to arrive in Ganmukhuri [after learning about the incident there]. It was the issue of my personal dignity to defend this camp and stand together with those people, who were defending it.

What we saw there was above our expectations. I am extremely alarmed.  What happened there was absolutely unacceptable. Without having any reason, a large unit of Russian peacekeepers, with the involvement of military hardware, attacked police unit, which was protecting public order there ? and they [police] brilliantly perform their functions, as no robberies take place there any more. Our policemen behaved in a very dignified manner. It is obvious from TV footages. It was a really criminal attack; these people [Georgian policemen] were disarmed and brutally beaten up.

In this particular case, it was an obvious criminal offence shot by video cameras? We will show to the world the footage of this criminal act committed by the so called peacekeepers. I want to especially stress a heroic behavior of Ema Gogokhia, journalist from the Rustavi 2 television. I can say without exaggeration that it was a heroic behavior. She managed to protect this footage and hand it over at the expense of her own blood, because two [Russian peacekeepers] were struggling with her [trying to seize the video tape]. 

So, there is only one conclusion: we will not relocate this camp and nobody should have any hopes for that. This is a peaceful camp. Next year this camp will increase, at least, twice, and maybe even more and much more people will have a rest there. We will reinforce security measures in this area. And finally, at our request the UN Security Council has started reviewing the peacekeeping process [no decision is yet made by the UN Security Council to review peacekeeping process in Abkhazia], including the peacekeepers? mandate. We should take a final decision in all these directions together ? I mean Parliament?s resolutions, diplomatic process, consultations with our friends. I think, we will make a proper decision and take important steps based on the interests of Georgia and peace.

I said today that Gen. Chaban is announced as an undesirable person in Georgia. He should leave the territory of Georgia. Currently, he is in Sokhumi that is Georgia, so he should leave the Georgian territory. We will continue consistent actions aimed at returning of internally displaced persons to Abkhazia, restoring of peace and defending of Georgia?s territorial integrity? And I want to tell internally displaced person that time will come soon when we return back to Abkhazia and there is no force ? neither in the world nor in our neighborhood ? capable to deter our drive.”


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