Eduard Shevardnadze: Mikheil Saakashvili gave Russia a reason for hostilities

Eduard Shevardnadze: Mikheil Saakashvili gave Russia a reason for hostilities
# 15 November 2008 12:02 (UTC +04:00)
He said Russia is Georgia’s biggest neighbor with enormous resources.
“So the art of politics and diplomacy consists of finding a common language with Russia despite what happened. If I were President, I would maintain diplomatic relationship with them,” he added.
He implied that Mikheil Saakashvili’s administration gave Russia a reason for invasion.
“But it is vital to know who took the first step. The United States are claiming that they had advised the Georgian President not to enter Tskhinvali.
Perhaps, the occupation of Georgia would have happened anyway, but we gave Russia a reason. As far as I know, because I am not in touch with the government, Russia put out information to the Georgians that there were no Russian troops in Tskhinvali and the Roki Tunnel which connects Georgia with South Ossetia and the North Caucasus,” he underlined.
About Georgia’s NATO membership, he said the first requests to become a NATO member were made during his presidency.
“When the United-States decided to help us to build an army, they set up a training army with their own money. 19 experienced specialists came to Georgia. I was the first to tell Putin about it. I told him that despite the fact that the United-States were helping us to set up an army, I guaranteed him that there would never ever be an American military base in Georgia,” he said.
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