War with Russia is close and it is necessary to prepare the people of Georgia for such an eventuality, Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili warned in a newspaper interview published in France on Tuesday.
“We are very close to a war [with Russia], the population must be prepared,” he told the French-language Liberation daily newspaper.
Denouncing military aid from Russia to rebels in Georgia’s break-away region of South Ossetia, Saakashvili stressed that he had “no intention of provoking it [a war]” and called for an international conference to discuss the status of South Ossetia.
“Russia says it is opposed to this, but I think its position is evolving,” he added.
Georgia pulled troops back from the separatist pro-Moscow region last week after an unprecedented show of force that infuriated Russia and worried Washington.
South Ossetia falls within Georgian borders, but the region is inhabited mainly by ethnic Ossetians.~ Taipei Times, August 25, 2004
Mr. Saakashvili’s bluster might almost be comic (think The Mouse That Roared), were its consequences not so likely to be devastating to his country. Neither country has any real interest in a war, but Georgia has the least incentive of all. Every day, President Saakashvili demonstrates that he is not suited to lead Georgia to a peaceful resolution of its conflicts and not a worthy representative of his nation.