tv Mikheil Saakashvili Al Jazeera April 29, 2018 10:32pm-11:00pm +03
it's pretty straightforward. also been speaking out about north korea saying there is a real opportunity for a deal when u.s. president trump meets its leader kim jong un next month he specifically said pyongyang must show it's taking irreversible steps to get rid of its nuclear program and according to south korea there may be hope for this after kim pledge to dismantle a nuclear testing site in friday's historic summit with president lungi in hundreds of migrants from central america have reached the mexican border with the united states they have spent a month on the road and hoping to cross into the u.s. in order to seek asylum armenia's ruling party says it will not stop a protest leader who's led massive anti-government rallies from leading the country but only if the opposition unites behind him demonstrators have been rallying ahead of tuesday's parliamentary vote to choose a new prime minister they are demanding that protest leader nicole be chosen for
the top job on me as previous prime minister serge sarkozy and resigned a week ago after demonstrations against him. the u.s. backed syrian democratic forces say they have repelled the syrian army from taking several villages along the border with iraq meanwhile the government is saying that it's made a deal with opposition fighters to evacuate areas around southern damascus. those are the top stories i'll have another update for you in about twenty five minutes time off to talk to al-jazeera but she's next. you told me i was going to. war is the only.
lucy. from president eating his time in the midst of a war to getting dragged off a roof because saakashvili was once widely recognized as an advocate for reform and democracy. a friend of the west and enemy of russia saakashvili became president of georgia in january two thousand and four his popularity got him reelected four years later despite accusations of electoral fraud but georgia's constitution prevented him from running for a third term in two thousand and thirteen saakashvili as party was defeated at the polls and he left georgia for ukraine shortly afterwards where he supported the two thousand and fourteen revolution he gained ukrainian citizenship although it meant losing his georgian passport crane's president petro poroshenko offered to the governor of the deaths of profits but he resigned in november two thousand and sixteen accusing kardashian co of corruption
a few days later surprise for the announced plans to create a new political force in ukraine but that didn't happen the government revoked his ukrainian citizenship in july last year. stay close saakashvili was first sent to poland then to the netherlands where he now lives on the temporary asylum status meanwhile a court in georgia found him guilty of abuse of power in connection with a two thousand and six murder case. he was sentenced to three years in prison absentee here. in ukraine the prosecutor accuse successfully of having connections with a suspected criminal gang led by ukraine's former president viktor yanukovych. so where does all of this leave the man who was once hailed as a champion of democracy. i'm sami's a down in the dutch capital i've come to amsterdam to discuss with mr saakashvili his rise and fall and how he plans to continue his political career former georgian president mikheil saakashvili talks to el dizzy and.
former president of georgia a former governor of adesa ukraine thanks so much for talking to others thank you for inviting me so you're now here in the netherlands but on april the third you spoke about how you want to return to georgia when will that happen well i think the or entire region we are going to change the the present artificial situation when all garcia running the show sidelining the people sidelining democracy just making fun of the whole idea of the political process it's very artificial and there you can't return until that changes or else you would probably go by the refs except i also ball sort of change i keep i the only politician maybe well maybe in the world at least part in two different countries i have a part to work which i lead in ukraine and i hope our two which i live in georgia and then put in permanent contact with them indeed bareheaded some of the campaigns there now we came up with some initiatives so i'm not standing still i'm i'm i'm not just waiting for the moment to come i'm trying to bring
a moment closer to how how do you remove all the guards from power in places like georgia places like ukraine from here in the netherlands it just can not last it is not sustainable these guys are going to collapse it's going to be very. difficult transition nothing is going to be bumpy but you know you just cannot keep going like this happens if there is a collapse in ukraine or georgia i mean your personal ambitions do you want to return to power and if so whether because like you said you're running political parties in two countries at the same time i would not really compare myself to symbol of our but i have to remind you that in other historical for context that historic figure was glad five latin american countries now different situation not that kind of ambition but countries are similar challenges are similar like it used to be in the times of seeing on the boulevard why we need too little glue up to
that expectation but how would you respond to those who might say you're not simone believe are you lost power twice in two different countries those who say are you able to make sound political calculations for your ups of the right are not simple of our but someone who is different from what's happening in the region indeed i was i had two terms of successful presidency i finished it all and i don't criticize and look at the countries around us look at armenia look at other neighbors look at belarus look at you know just wherever you look this leaders extend their terms they find other ways not to create i was the only one who had full extent of power and first of all quit. had transpersonal transition when the constitutional term expired that's quite unique which is comes natural to another place in the world in our part of the world some people think you are stupid and crazy if you do that and second i mean you're more crazy according to this cry
tears because you know i left without any riches about any stealing anything and that's also unfortunately very unusual in our part of the world and in ukraine i left from the governorship when i felt that when we're no longer in business of reforming the country rather we were staying there would be just trying to whitewash something that cannot be justified by how well corruption and oligarchic rule in your second term as georgian president the world criticisms of your tactics accusations that you tried to suppress opposition protest that you had acted in a heavy handed way do you think any of those criticisms are accusations now in hindsight justified that you would have done things look georgia was a failed country you cannot make from a failed country just the frou scandinavian methods over night something looking like this with enraged georgia has under my watch georgia's economy has
quadrupled the you know georgia went from hundred twenty seventh place of the doing business index of the world bank to being the ninth place the best place in the world to do business that is to say we are educated corruption we became the safest country in europe and one of the safest in the world from being one of the criminal countries to think you fight criminal you know totally criminalized country making turns form it into the safest country in europe just not doing anything and just think for instance we to the criminals and then virtually no talk about my rule of law you should abide by the hairdryer of law that's rule of law but rule of law applied zero tolerance towards crime and that's that's hearts it's the opposition. opposition ultimately. won the elections and we hand it over to power we will georgia still has. media it always enjoyed on them on my rule and don't forget some of the propaganda against us there of course there were shortcomings but it also
was imposed by a very strong presence of russian propaganda that absolutely hated me that now we know that paul munna ford was hired by their pascal in two thousand and five to write articles against us specifically on democracy and or so-called absence of democracy starting from two thousand and five so we were running against a propaganda machine now we're not perfect and of course we had our mistakes but when you have the nastiest machine specifically focused on killing the idea of george's success case not to give this soft power to the small nation that would transform the entire region then you should always understand why some of the treaties were what if the maffia the oligarchs are still in power in georgia in ukraine and especially in georgia where you served his two terms as president why should voters believe you now when you say support my party or make sure this time
will unseat the oligarchs and the mafia my reform survives my presidency i think the biggest task for the reformers is that when you quit whether these figures sustainable most of it is still there so from that standpoint of public services you know absence of corruption safety i left a good legacy a legacy still intact from that standpoint you know we we come back basically we come back. we do all the experience of successes know whether you know people in georgia have trysts have seen what the success looks like that's the difference when you create in ukraine no government since independence has demonstrated any success whatsoever and wonder if we can go back in time a little bit and talk about some of the highlights i guess. this year two thousand and eighteen is the tenth anniversary of the war between georgia and russia do you reflect back on it at all and say maybe i made a mistake in starting that war with russia well i didn't start war with russia in
first place well that was the era for the two thousand and nine low they wrong look absence of if somebody interpret that report they're like this this is flat wrong look this is a quote from the report found that you'd start to go because of quote a penchant for acting in the heat of the moment look there is only one choice when your country gets attacked by hundred times bigger neighbor or to surrender or to fight and we chose not to surrender so hang on then the e.u. was wrong when they said again quoting that report of september the thirtieth there was no ongoing armed attack by russia before the start of the georgian i know your report says russian troops were already inside our territory and if you don't call these arms that happened what the hell is the armed attack ok you know there was no armed attack in crimea after that russia just came in i think they're referring to maybe the presence of russia that is how to sell everyone you know but they were saying they were not an aggression arm of a genocide a territory just exactly the same way they were in crimea except that ukraine chose
not to react and not to fight and georgia chose to fight so they were so high on the atari basically the the west was playing politics with your situation when they said again in the quote of the report georgian claims of a large scale presence of russian armed forces in south and said here prior to the georgian offensive could not be substantial look the problem with a pretending like there always can be such an egyptian state everything the only thing that they were turning a blind eye on than because they thought this situation will not continue now we have situation when every time they have three of the problem is the lack of leadership you know great leaders like europe had for instance like when mr was their teacher was there you know from martyrs was their livers was there is gone we have just tacticians in europe we have record leadership in europe no. nobody wants to assume responsibility as a result put in was playing them at all it's not putting about putting being so strong it's about this kind of leaders being so weak you know there's still you are
there is no leadership in europe of today it's so bleak and it's you know we see you know having ajman semyon gauge now fortunately at least to resume reacted and she mobilized everybody else to react but back in two thousand and eight that was exactly the opposite back in two thousand and eight they would just they didn't want to hear anything about upcoming frets and you know now who is will who is crazy and who wasn't i think they were crazy when they didn't listen to me and then when they fought i was crazy and you know and the russians were playing into that look at this crazy surely you know history saying all this stupid claims and who made stupid claims now everything i worried about happened and i hate to because sandra but if you're appears continue to be as weak as this we are not going to war in europe because russian that right now even i was at the munich security conference this time generals the same generals that were downplaying the russians being intervals eight are saying well russia really become dangerous that's forward
in two thousand and thirteen you decided to go to ukraine you accepted this ukrainian passport yes a move which you knew would mean you lose your georgian citizenship i'm wondering why if as you said in april the third of two thousand and eighteen that you were committed to quote not leaving the georgian people in despair and you want to end the rule of the because georgia's fate was also decided by what happens in ukraine i went to the region over there so which is extremely important strategic region do you think you could change georgia though by being the governor viewed some of this or that i would have fall. for this i would have fallen soldier would have been finished off because or the s.s. on the plexi fallen from whom the time rush resident it was when i went there it was on the brink of being fall into the fold of the russians it was obvious it's a very. it's a region with a very strong separatist presence with where the weak arm and power but that's moment very precarious security situation to the point where nobody really wanted to get to go into that business of becoming so that said governor well i i well i
wanted to go there after several high profile ukrainians declined that office and because they fought for that so to fall why does president petro poroshenko ask you do you think and give you citizenship was it down to a personal relationship with no i think because russian called before running for ukraine president he said that his role model for reforms who are two countries singapore and georgia under my rule and he he thought that by bringing me into ukraine he would. bolster his reformers credentials in the eyes of the west and in the eyes of the frame public now what he did is what went wrong because he was not serious about their force because ultimately he had to make a choice whether to get into the cranes historic textbooks or to become higher to be able higher on the list of forbes billionaires list he decided to get into billionaires list rather than the tax the textbooks i'm wondering how you personally feel though now looking or at the time actually because this is the man
who brought you to your brain he'd given you citizenship made you a governor and then you say felt at some point that he wasn't living up to the reformist ideals did you feel conflicted any point in turning against the man who yes i think it took from him quite some time to make that decision it is a hard decision to make not because of personal loyalty but to just admitting that you know our expectations were high and with we just failed to basically they failed to materialize it's hard to imagine it's hard to live through it because you know the it's not i never create i don't believe in personal loyalties of that sort in the you know i never brought my family members or my classmates or anybody for that. as in ukraine or georgia to to power that was never my goal the io i believe in mirror talk receiver believe in recruiting new people and sure sure i never had my client for she could try to in a way
a person can maybe saw me as part of his clan and obviously that was a big be misreading of what i stand for and that certain moment when he told miller just like go and fundraise that was he scored with the ukrainian local businesses fundraise that's a sake at bribes how would you respond to those as you know there are allegations against you thing you've mentioned some of them involved in criminal activities in ukraine the charges against you in georgia for me spending public money ordering the break up of protests ordering the beating up of an opposition lawmaker even a conviction for you relating to a merger clark there any truth to any of those allegations look first of all freedom house. just published a report saying that this is a pure political but that and that's what it it's even george in the government that basically hired ten best retired western investigators to look for my offshore accounts properties vilas whatever couldn't find anything and came up with the
ridiculous charges that every penny i spent as a president on presidential on for former presidential functions were money spent when george's economy quadrupled and the basically or you know my former defense minister whom i fired for corruption testified that i ordered him to beat up somewhat because the and the guy said beforehand i'll just give any testimony guess i can't really because i hate him and that's the only witness so that's why election we're going to satiate are not taking the series that's why i'm really moving their own the world let's get forward to december two thousand and seventeen when we had those very dramatic pictures of you on the rooftop of your kiev home. it's not often that you have an ex-president standing on a rooftop threatening to jump take us through the minutes in the hours that led up to that moment something like six in the morning hundred something. heavily armed security troops broke into my apartment and obviously they could have arrested me
anywhere else i'm over there out without guards you know just to walk into public affairs and just arrest me or why do you think they're trying to me well that's what you're intimidation to show everybody who supported us that if they could go in after me they could go out to everyone so and then when they did it i needed to in time and you went where you really going to jump from no one is an absolute in those i'm not suicidal i've never been suicidal that what happened is that. i was i told them it was a threat no what they told them if they approach me would bowl full because it was basically a slippery roof with but by the way i went there because they generally telephone. and we need we need time to mobilize and so i went to the roof where i could from which i could text my messages. i text my message to our supporters thousands of people mobilized but it took them time to get there and in the end they freed me
from police cars were you surprised when people opened a police van and managed to find i wasn't because people knew the whole arrest was unjust later the local judge went against the system and she ruled and she suffered that she was reprimanded after that for that that it was pure kidnapping we've managed to upset a lot of authorities in georgia ukraine's lied to me at putin do you ever think that your personal safety might be an issue look like they were put in promise to hang me by a softer parts of my body. as we know this guy always when i last met him he told me your best friends give you lots of nice promises they never deliver i don't promise you anything nice but remember i always deliver i remember these words coupled with his friend to kill me but on the other sunlight a man who you have to you directly absolutely and then he said publicly when it was this that was there february of two thousand and eight hour last meeting with him and actually. and that was this is a guy who likes to do the labor of what do you understand from that did you feel
like you're being i thought that and we know that according to when we came out. i was less worried about personal threats towards me i thought i told my people this is his menacing us with war and war happened a few months later and though i told the western flood you are putting medicines with war and he says well you know he just menaces now the same people that say he's just manatee he's just you know it that's his way of cajoling words have to you know have to resign themselves to the realities that i was right and they were wrong about warning about putin put in always create new red lines cross' them and then create new ones now having said that it's not about me it's that doesn't make you a personal target as you said for not letting me through to absolute saying holding to an advisor to the french president two thousand and eighteen. he will hang you by the janet taylor yet and i think that he was and then i when i was asked by a car a journalist what i've heard about it i thought i joke that you know that he he's
not tall enough to get to me but but that's obviously not a nice thing to joke about when you hear of cases like sergei script in the u.k. does that not make you stop and think look i i ride around cinnamon a bike i don't have any particular i was asked by dutch police were there i needed special protection and i told them no decline that look i believe that whatever happens you know we made my impact on the history of this region for sure nobody can dispute that putin wants to physically get me i don't think any bodyguards can protect it anyway you know every time i would board presidential plane in georgia after twelve eight every time we would be on the like target list of russian air defense system and the switch on our system so when it happened first time. you know i my father had of my bodyguard said what are we doing are we
just try because i know we. succumb to their frat they're going to paralyze us we fly even if we just we're one button push a push away from going down and they never push the button so you know i'm still around you thought it could have been a real possibility absolutely because putin you know look at what's happened to present a polland whatever you say but many people including myself believe that it's connected with his support of georgia to win the war with him coming to the police in two thousand a august of two thousand and eight so it catchin ski or any post really. died because of that you can imagine that he came to support me and of course the russians no doubt would deny that and wondering how do you respond to the allegation that would come from the other side that says you are simply a tool of change on the part of the west look i think that's overblown i think what we have two different forces here we have. on the one hand
we have russia that export chaos in the entire region you know i'm sure that they were first of all they generated scholars in our possession are part of the world they generated chaos in syria because they want syria refugees to go to europe and that's double as europe put in is calculated this very shrewdly at did you ever receive support as they say from. all the other hand i don't know non-governmental organization on the one hand we have russia that has a very clear policy of exporting chaos and implementing on the other hand we have rather chaotic policy on the part of the west so russia is exporting chaos and western very very uncultured to glee and very diligently and the west is responding in a very chaotic way do you think any of these friends in the west today support you making a political comeback. or not that's i've been i've been asking for instruction for anybody i've been uncomfortable for many people precisely for the
reasons that i'm not look for instance like obama administration wanted me to agree to agree to rushed to membership and we've been refusing for almost two years president obama called me sent me a letter my friend hillary pushed very hard i said wait a minute you are a big country you solve their issues where a small country you have small the issues but until they are salt even if the president of the united states keeps me calling every day i'm not going to do it because that's legitimate that these are legitimate claims and in the end you know what has happened. they had russians had to give in and so from that standpoint i have not been comfortable even for the france now i wouldn't equate those two from my wear loose my wear loose with here where you know where whatever. the western world peace exists but on the other hand you know we'll i would always
stand up for my national interests and that's it's i'm not just easy person to be around with even for big players you know once henry kissinger told. sarah paling second surely it's like a very. uncomfortable player coming to poker player coming to big players table all the time without cards in his pocket well that's his wish and it's not about games it's no they're both carts it's about your heart where it lies and it lays lies with justice and with my own national interest in this case two nations interest ukraine in georgia georgia and ukraine thank you very much thank you you time seconds really talking to i think there's so much i .
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