Shevardnadze Apologizes to People of Ukraine for Georgian President
(RIA Novosti) – Former Georgian president Eduard Shevardnadze
apologized to the people of Ukraine for statements made by Mikhail
Saakashvili, the present President of the country.
concluded his open letter to the newspaper "Mtavari Gazeti"
with the following appeal: "It is a fact that we unreasonably
offended the Ukrainian people and I think we have to apologize
for that. Before other people surmise to do so I am apologizing
to the Ukrainian people and state that till the end of my life
I will retain friendship, affection and gratitude for the gratuitous
aid provided to Georgia by Ukraine. Take care of your friends."
The former president indicates that "Georgia has been enjoying
traditional and very warm relations with Ukraine." Mr. Shevardnadze
wrote that "Ukraine was the first state to recognize independence
of Georgia. It is noteworthy that the fact never improved tense
relations between Ukraine and Georgia." On March 24 at a
press conference in Tbilisi Mikhail Saakashvili made a statement
regarding attempts of the Adzharian management to recruit mercenaries
in Chechnya, Ukraine and the Georgian Pankisi gorge (where close
to the Chechen sector of the Russian-Georgian border militants
were staying amongst migrants from Chechnya) in case of aggravation
of the situation in the autonomous area. Mr. Saakashvili stated:
"At the moment there are no armed mercenaries in the territory
of Adzharia. But according to the Georgian intelligence service,
people appeared in Russia, Ukraine and in the territory of the
Pankisi gorge in Georgia engaged in recruiting mercenaries for
their subsequent use in case of an armed conflict in Adzharia."
In reply to that statement of the Georgian president, official
Kiev requested explanations from the Georgian ambassador to Ukraine.
Foreign Minister Kakha Sikharulidze stated in this respect to
RIA Novosti that "all misunderstandings related to the statement
of president Saakashvili were settled as the head of the state
did not mean the Ukrainian leadership and citizens but was talking
only about the geographical position."