Giorgi Kvirikashvili at Mukhatgverdi Military Cemetery, August 8, 2017. Photo: gov.ge
At the 2008 Russo-Georgian war commemoration on August 8, Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili and President Giorgi Margvelashvili visited the military cemetery at Mukhatgverdi in the outskirts of Tbilisi, where they paid tribute to Georgian soldiers fallen in the war.
Prime Minister Kvirikashvili, accompanied by government members, told journalists after the wreath laying ceremony that “August 8 is a tragic day in Georgia’s modern history.” “I bow my head before the heroes, who sacrificed their lives for their homeland,” he added.
“Of course, peace has no alternative and we will do our utmost to maintain it,” Kvirikashvili also noted, adding that the Government of Georgia “will spare no efforts to unite and strengthen” the country.
In his comment, PM Kvirikashvili also reached out to the Abkhaz and the South Ossetian communities, saying that the Government of Georgia is “building a united, strong, prosperous, democratic, truly European Georgia in order to make it a common home for Georgians, Abkhaz and [South] Ossetians.”
“This war was a tragedy for everyone,” the Prime Minister went on, “therefore, we need to look into each other’s eyes, tell what needs to be told to each other and reconcile, because reconciliation as well has no alternative.”
“We will live in the unified Georgia and will definitely unite the hearts of Georgians, Abkhaz and [South] Ossetians,” he concluded.
Similar messages were voiced by Reconciliation Minister Ketevan Tsikhelashvili, who said at the commemoration ceremony, that August 8 “should remind us that we should never allow the war; instead, we should eradicate confrontation through dialogue and reconciliation.”
“Nine years after occupation, kilometers of barbed wires have been installed on the territory of Georgia, creating grave problems to thousands of people on a daily basis,” Tsikhelashvili told journalists.
“Today, we should reckon these consequences and realize that the unresolved conflict does not serve the interests of either Georgians, or Abkhaz and [South] Ossetians," she also stated, adding that the country needs to do its utmost to “unify through peace, development, offering better perspectives to the society living in isolation of barbed wires in order to progress towards peace and a better future together.”
Giorgi Margvelashvili at Mukhatgverdi Military Cemetery, August 8, 2017. Photo: facebook.com/PresidentMargvelashvili
President Giorgi Margvelashvili, who visited the military cemetery after the Prime Minister, said that nine years ago “armed forces of the Russian Federation crossed into a sovereign and independent country and occupied two of its regions.”
He, however, noted that the occupation had started long before, beginning from 1990s, when “Georgian nation once again declared before the world that it has its free choice and an independent path of development.”
President Margvelashvili said that “Russia is absolutely alone in this pursuit: we, the citizens of Georgia, as well as the entire international community, do not recognize any borders, any barbed wires, any ditches, any people with Kalashnikov rifles on the Georgian soil, who create problems to free movement of Georgian citizens.”
“No Georgian will ever tolerate the occupation, no artificial barbed wires, ditches, fabricated borders will shake the integrity and inviolability of our country,” Margvelashvili also said and added that “even the strongest empires failed to shake our statehood.”
Margvelashvili also called on the Georgian society and above all those displaced from Abkhazia and Tskhinvali Region that “our territorial integrity lies in our firmness and resolve.” “Georgia is united, Georgia is firm and will remain as such and with that, we will achieve our territorial integrity and sovereignty.”
Also on August 8, Noble Partner exercise participants visited the military cemetery at Mukhatgverdi and paid tribute to fallen soldiers.