Georgian President Salome Zurabishvili has released a statement in connection with the 11th anniversary of the August War.
“11 years have passed since the Russia-Georgian war.
The 2008 war remains an open wound for Georgian society. It is an open wound for parents who have lost children and for children who were left without fathers as a result of this war.
As Commander in Chief, as a mother and one of the ordinary citizens of this country, I bow before the memory of our heroes.
The war is an open wound for those whose homes, lands, ancestral tombs, shrines have left on the occupied territory. Despite this pain and daily abuse, they continue to live heroically along the dividing line. It is our duty, and mine, to stand by them, and to take care of their safety.
Our response to the occupation is simple – no to tolerance!
We will tolerate neither violation of the rights of Georgians in Gali and Akhalgori, nor the oppression of our Ossetian and Abkhaz citizens, nor override of their language and identity.
Our response to the occupation is also political and economic sustainability, the continuation of the development path. War and occupation could not make us change our path … it is our greatest strength!
Not tolerating means not losing hope and purpose.
I believe we will be able to end the occupation and establish a new relationship as successful as we managed to withdraw Russian military bases from Georgia peacefully in 2005. The example of Germany shows that nothing is permanent and victory over hopelessness is always possible.
We must be able to mobilize our partners in order to make conflict resolution their priority as well as ours. I will voice this ambition in the near future from the highest UN tribune.
We must believe that the time will come and Russia will be convinced that war, occupation and the neglecting the state borders must be a thing of the past. In today’s world where global threats and challenges face us all, stability is essential! Not just for us as a small country, but for any country if it wants to develop and care for its own people’s well-being.
I have a great responsibility: not to let provocations posing threat to Georgia’s statehood. At the same time, it is necessary to increase the defense capability of our army so that the tragedy of the war will never be repeated, in order the protected civilians to move forward and the protected area to provide a basis for sustainable development. Our power is not directed against anyone or does not threaten anyone. On the contrary, our peaceful policy is firm and irreversible.
Our unity is the most powerful tool for resolving existing conflicts peacefully. So I am and will be the main fighter for achieving public consent.
It is impossible to reconcile the Abkhazian and Ossetian societies, affected by war, without the consent among Georgian society. And this is the only way to finally unite the country.
We must all overcome the traces of war in our consciousness. The lessons of the past should be the basis for being more powerful. Let’s be focused on the future.
All decent nations and societies are united on the issue of war. The issue of war should not be the basis of yet another polarization and division of society.
To do so, it is necessary to overcome hatred, raise the level of culture and state consciousness.
The unity is an only precondition for the future of the state and its ultimate unification”, – the President said.