Georgia will respond to invasion with second "Rose revolution" - Mikheil Saakashvili
Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili promised on Tuesday a second "Rose Revolution" in his country by expanding freedoms in response to a Russian invasion he said was aimed against democracy, the Reuters reported.
Addressing the U.N. General Assembly just seven weeks after Russian troops rolled into Georgia after Tbilisi tried to seize back the pro-Moscow rebel region of South Ossetia, Saakashvili pledged to wage war not with arms but "with values."
Saakashvili, swept to power five years ago in a popular "Rose Revolution" that toppled former leader Eduard Shevardnadze, said Georgia was attacked "because it is a successful democracy in our part of the world."
"Our response today is to make our democracy even more robust," said Saakashvili, who was criticized in the West for sending in police to break up opposition protests last year and cracking down on opposition media.
He said he would:
-- grant greater independence to parliament and the judiciary
-- increase funding for opposition parties and ensure they had greater access to the airwaves
-- strengthen the rule of law by introducing enhanced due process, trials by jury and lifetime judicial appointments
-- expand protection of private property.
"This amounts to nothing less than a 'Second Rose Revolution'," Saakashvili said.
He called on U.N. members to agree not to recognise South Ossetia and Georgia's other breakaway region of Abkhazia, ensure that all parties complied with a current cease-fire, and create a "meaningful U.N. conflict resolution process" to peacefully reunify Georgia.