Georgia on my Mind
Georgia on my Mind
President of Georgia
to the Council of Europe.
Source: Council of Europe. Photos
It's my honor
and privilege to address this distinguished audience.
many friends in the hall and wish to thank them for their tremendous support to
Georgia over the years. Please know that your support was not wasted as today is
the beginning of a new era for Georgia an era of reform, stability and
strengthened partnerships with our friends around the world in particular our
friends in Europe.
not by accident that my first trip abroad as President of Georgia is to the
heart of Europe.
During the month of November 2003, the Georgian nation rose up in defense of the
fundamental right to live in a free and democratic nation where the people hold
the exclusive right to choose their own leaders and destiny.
peaceful Rose Revolution was not inspired by Georgia's economic or political
stagnation nor was it incited by rampant corruption.
Rather, the Rose Revolution was a direct manifestation of the European values of
that form the basis for Georgia's identity and culture. Values that are
widespread and shared by all Georgians
anything, the non-violent Rose Revolution served as a message to the world -
that all Georgians aspire to build and live in a democratic, independent and
stable state, where human rights are respected, protected and revered.
Furthermore, we Georgians showed the courage, tenacity and commitment, necessary
to defend those fundamental values, in a civilized manner, when they were under
believe that Georgia's revolution can provide a model and message for the entire
region providing a concrete example how nations of the former Soviet Union can
successfully bring about peaceful and democratic change.
Success in Georgia means success for the entire region however if Georgia fails
we must all understand that it will spell failure for the entire region.
that reason alone we must seize the moment today in order to change the fate of
an entire region tomorrow.
Today, I am enormously proud of my nation a nation that has given me an
overwhelming mandate to return Georgia to its rightful destiny as a responsible
member of the European community of democratic nations.
returning from Davos last week I was struck by the power of globalization and
the speed with which information is transmitted around the world - with the
capability to influence events and outcomes like never before.
Indeed, not only was our Rose Revolution broadcast worldwide in real time, but
perhaps our revolution might not have succeeded had it not been for the mobile
that respect, the Davos experience provides a truly global look with a global
Reflecting for a moment on these issues I believe that small nations like
Georgia can truly benefit from globalization giving us special chances that
might not otherwise be open to us.
yet, globalization is a thorny issue that can create challenges to our cultural
identity. It is a phenomenon that we must take into consideration.
think we need to develop the capacity to, "watch globally but work with local
ideas" in order to take what is best from our interconnected world without
losing sight of local needs and realities. We must not lose sight of our
identity - because, "the first human right is identity".
Taking identity as a point of departure, it is clear to me and all Georgians
that our identity is fundamentally European.
Today, Georgia is finally on the road home once again integrating itself into
the Europe with which it shares common values and a common history.
Indeed, just three days ago at my inauguration after raising the new Georgian
flag, we raised the flag of the EU and played its anthem. This was no PR stunt
but rather an expression of what all Georgians understand to be true that
Georgia and Europe share a common identity.
strengthen that connection however, Europe needs to do more to ensure the
prosperity and stability of future generations.
just as Georgia can play a key role as net contributor to European prosperity
and stability so too can it be a source of instability if left outside.
vision for Georgia focuses on how Georgia can contribute to Europe as a partner,
as an ally and as a Member.
single ambition today is nothing less than becoming a full Member of the
opinion, our Rose Revolution showed not only who Georgians are but that we were
willing to take the first brave step. Today I am asking that we take the next
step together recognizing Georgia's membership in wider Europe.
my leadership - the Georgian nation will be transformed - transformed into a
nation known for its:
Investments in people thru education:
Become competitive worldwide,
Funding Georgia's future,
Participant and benefactor of globalization.
Celebration of its unique culture:
are European and have a special place in Europe.
Strengthening of its democracy which is a model at home and in the region:
to all Georgians celebrating its multi-ethnic heritage (tolerance).
Home to an efficient and responsive government
all Georgian voices are heard and represented
Protection of human rights and freedoms.Where Georgia is a stable contributor to
the international community.
united nation that capitalizes on all the benefits of its geo-strategic location
Restarting regional economic development,
Net-contributor to European security,
have already made the point that Georgians are Europeans - with a fundamental
set of values, culture, behavior and system of governance that place them firmly
within the European family.
also clear that our unequivocal priority for the coming months and years is to
further our formal integration into European structures to reunite Georgia with
Europe after so many years of artificial separation.
the same time, Georgia cherishes its long-term partnership with the United
States. A partnership that my Administration will work to deepen and strengthen.
it comes to our relations with the Russian Federation we must recall that in the
past Russia played a negative role in our neighborhood. Unfortunately, their
interpretation of peace keeping meant keeping one piece here and one piece
strategy continues today in the form of Russia's reluctance to abide by
international agreements to remove their military bases.
wish to once again declare my profound commitment to rebuilding relations with
Russia - relations that can only work if Russia is truly committed to playing a
peaceful and constructive role.
days I extended my hand to Russia as an expression of my desire to build new
relations between our countries, with positive outcomes for Georgia and Russia
that take into consideration our legitimate economic and security interests.
my sincere hope that next month when I travel to Moscow, Mr. Putin will accept
with our powerful mandate comes a dizzying array of challenges and
responsibilities that we must address and overcome in order to rebuild Georgia.
facing these challenges, I am the first to recognize that we will not be able to
change Georgia overnight.
is important however is that we maintain the pace of change that way our people
will see and understand just how serious we are.
among these challenges is:
The elimination of corruption:
date we have already shown our will to crack down and we will move forward with
resolve. Visible and institutional manifestations of corruption will be
is equal application of the law for all citizens and the freeing up of human
capital and human potential.
The creation of economic opportunity
Simplification and harmonization
elimination of harassment on roads and borders, the welcoming of foreign
incentives for all citizens.
The establishment of lasting stability at home through the peaceful resolution
of conflicts that have for too long divided our nation (Abkhazia and South
The elimination of poverty and the strengthening of our health care network
(provision of basic guarantees).
The reform of governmental structures (including real local self government) and
practices (professionalization of civil service).
The establishment of a strong and professional army.
Succession is one of the biggest, and potentially most dangerous challenges
facing a nation in transition.
Georgia proved that it could maintain law and order during it's critical
transition by conducting elections that were recognized internationally as free
achievement showed the strength of the State, the wisdom of its leaders, and the
character of its people.
particularly proud of my new government, who bring new energy and commitment to
commitment is an inspiration to me making me confident that we will not fail.
In a few months we will hold Parliamentary elections and I look forward to once
again sending a message to the world that this government and this Georgia is
serious about is commitment to democracy.
days ago at my inauguration I dedicated my Presidency to the Georgian people to
all those who have suffered and even given their lives to preserve our freedom
to the children of Georgia whose future we must rebuild and to the
reestablishment of complete and total territorial integrity throughout Georgia.
stand before you today, presenting a firm and unwavering commitment to lead
Georgia back to the European fold to stand once again, side by side with our
European brothers and sisters so that together we can build a more stable and
working together, I am confident that our partnership will not only deepen, but
that it will succeed.