Supporters, who were gathered in the Tbilisi airport, gave hero’s welcome to President Saakashvili late on Sunday for his speech at the UN General Assembly.
Standing among supporters, who were chanting “Misha, Misha” and “long live the Georgian President”, Saakashvili told journalists he was “little bit surprised” by such a welcome as he had never been greeted before in the airport during his presidency.
“This address at the UN triggered lots of response from the entire post-Soviet space – it was a surprise even for me, and it means that something has seriously matured in this space; everyone is fed up with Putin’s actions – in Ukraine, Moldova, in our neighboring Armenia and Azerbaijan, as well as in the North Caucasus and in Russia as a whole,” he said.
“There has been so much response [to the UN speech] and it involved thanking Georgia, as I was representing Georgia,” Saakashvili said.
“But we have not much to be happy about, because in recent months we’ve lost control over more arable farmland than in Kurta and Tamarasheni during the hot [phase] of 2008 war,” Saakashvili said referring to two villages in breakaway South Ossetia, which Georgia lost, among many other villages, as a result of the August 2008 war with Russia.
“There is no time for rivalry now,” he said. “I am ready to sit down with the government of Georgia and use all of the resources I have, including international ones. We should talk about how to stop together with the international community such stealthy and a very dangerous annexation and very dangerous annexation of our territories!
“I will support any action by the government of Georgia aimed at stopping this annexation,” Saakashvili said. “We must act in an orderly and coordinated way. The main lesson is that our strength lies in our unity. There are many reasons to be concerned, but if we put aside revelry, hatred and other negative things we will be able to defend our positions like we were doing it for multiple times in previous years when the world stood by us and when the world knew precisely what we were doing.”
Meanwhile, earlier on Sunday a group of protesters gathered outside the parliament’s old building on Rustaveli Avenue in Tbilisi and burned effigies of President Saakashvili and UNM’s presidential candidate Davit Bakradze. Although the organizers of the rally were saying the protest was not against the current government, participants were calling on the authorities to speed up “restoration of justice” and to “punish” everyone responsible for “crimes” committed by the previous authorities.