TBILISI, DFWatch – NATO countries are meeting in Chicago with aspirant countries and countries which participate in the ISAF mission in Afghanistan.
The Georgian president Mikheil Saakashvili is attending the summit, after having spent several days in the U.S. Yesterday, he attended the Young Atlanticist summit, where he held a speech which was quoted by attendants on Twitter.
I’m hardly young but very much Atlanticist, he said.
According the president’s administration, he spoke about the transformation and reforms Georgia has been through; and the fight against corruption and crime.
Saakashvili said delegations from other countries are coming to Georgia to study the Georgian reforms. He also focused on the current situation in regards to Georgia-Russia relations and the situation with the occupied territories.
“The best way to get Russian forces out is to change Russia,” he said.
The president answered one question about his main political opponent Bidzina Ivanishvili and why he is being denied Georgian citizenship. One attendant writes that he made no sense.
He was also asked about women’s rights in Georgia, and answered that this is one of the challenges for the country and promised that the ruling party will have more women candidates for parliament this time.
“I firmly believe women are better than men. That is my official statement,” Saakashvili is to have said.
The Twitter users described their impressions afterwards.
“Saakashvili sounds very reasonable for a man who was once filmed literally consuming his own tie,” one of the attendants writes. “President Saakashvili is probably the most dynamic leader that I have seen. Get this guy in NATO,” another participant wrote.
But others criticized him for some of his quotes. He said Georgia is a free country, but one participant reminded him about the fact that Freedom House listed Georgia as only ‘partly free’.
Saakashvili also said Georgia needs more reforms, but revoking the citizenship of an opposition leader is not quite good step, another one in the audience thinks.
“Joining NATO is more than a diplomatic choice. It is a choice of values and a way of life,” president said in the end.
The president also talked about the rose revolution in 2003 and the reforms conducted since then. He mentioned the of moving parliament to the city Kutaisi in the west, and said that the new building will be glass and transparent, just like the presidential palace and the interior ministry building, which is symbolic, he says as they brought light colors to country.
“Georgia is not only a country. I cannot compare it to USA – this country is an idea, but for our small region Georgia is also an idea.”
Apart from Georgia, three Balkan countries are also attending the summit as aspirant countries.