Georgian opposition dissatisfied with Saakashvili’s speech
15 Mar, 2007 20:35
Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili has delivered his annual speech to the country's parliament. The opposition wasn't allowed to voice its opinion, while many deputies were deeply dissatisfied with the presidential address.
With Georgia’s Catholicos-Patriarch Ilia II, the Georgian Cabinet, International organisations and foreign ambassadors invited as honourable guests, Mikhail Saakashvili outlined the country's achievements in the past year focusing on reforms to Georgia’s economy, education system, army, judiciary, police and foreign policy.‘During one year this country has experienced obstacles and difficulties which could have caused the total economic and political collapse of even strong, big countries but Georgia managed to survive,’ he said.The president was also hopeful that one day Georgia will find a common language with its Abkhazian and South Ossetian breakaway regions, both of which have been in conflict with Georgia for decades.‘We are reaching out to our Abkhazian and Ossetian people, we are offering a wide autonomy and economical social reforms. Georgian-Abkhazian and Georgian-Ossetian conflicts do not exist. Neither do Ossetian and Abkhazian sides. All of this is the sick imagination of imperial technologies. Georgia is a sovereign state and it’s indissoluble,’ Mikhail Saakashvili claimed.He also added that he is proud to send his troops to fight in Iraq alongside Americans. The Georgian leader left the session immediately after his long speech, disappointing opposition members who wanted to debate issues arising from it.‘He told us a terrible lie, especially what he said about jobs created. They are talking about people being trained again for new jobs but in reality we have 2 MLN people jobless,’ Levan Berdzhenishvili, member of Georgian Parliament stated.‘He did not specify what it is, if it is not the Georgia and Ossetia and Abkhazia conflict. He is not clear in his decisions and in what he wants to say. That is obvious,’ David Zurabishvili, a parliament member, said. Nevertheless, the majority party is confident that Georgia has chosen the right direction. Giorgi Baramidze, the State Minister for Euro-Atlantic Integration, outlined that even though a lot has been done, it doesn’t mean that Georgian people have nothing to worry about. ‘We have quite extensive goals to make our country by peaceful means united and continue our strong economic growth and meet our people’s expectations,’ he added.Further discussions on the President’s annual speech are likely to continue in Parliament.