Georgian President: I would be last one to want to use violence
Azerbaijan, Baku, June 2 / Trend E. Tariverdiyeva /
"I think Georgia is one of the oldest Christian nations, it always had wanted to be Western, but it had always been in geographic alienation from the West," Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili said in an interview EURONEWS. "And the lucky occasion is that the country has survived as Georgia, and now maybe it's another chance to get back to our historic roots, or to get back to Europe."
"We have groups that don't run for Parliament and don't run for elected offices," the president said. "They have full access to television. They say they want to overturn government. But the good news is that they are not that numerous".
"The European Union ambassador clearly said here that the government's actions were legitimate, and even if some people might claim - as he said - that there was excessive use of force, it's very hard to verify," the president said, commenting on the last opposition meeting on May 26. "And certainly I would be the last one to want to use violence."
Two people died, several injured during the clashes between opposition and law enforcement agencies of Georgia on May 26 night.
"There was this generational change in Georgia," the president said. "We had to find new approaches, we had to implement very brave reforms."
"We fired 90 percent of bureaucracy after the Rose Revolution, we fired the entire police force in Georgia," the president said. "People get used to better situations: we have right now a crime rate five times less than we used to have, we are the second safest country in Europe, we are one of the three least corrupt countries in Europe."
"And the point here is, we have to find a middle way," the president said. "We need a Russia that is more open-minded, more liberal, more open towards modernity, and then with this kind of Russia we can find a common language."
"We are not suicidal, we don't want to confront Russia, we've already seen the bad fruits of that," the president added.
"On the other hand, we want to stay free and we want to be on our own, and we don't want to be back in an old Russian imperial fold - which basically is a fiction but which is still in the minds of some politicians out there," the president said.
"Our push towards the west is not based on geopolitical priorities, it's based on our own internal values," the president said. "Ultimately Russia should leave our territory with all their troops and bases here, and allow us to be ourselves. And then they will find good friends in Georgia."