Saakashvili says he's ready to resign, mutilate himself for separatist regions
|Publisher||Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty|
|Publication Date||27 April 2012|
|Cite as||Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Saakashvili says he's ready to resign, mutilate himself for separatist regions, 27 April 2012, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4fab7163c.html [accessed 10 December 2013]|
|Disclaimer||This is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.|
April 27, 2012
By RFE/RL's Georgian Service
Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili has long been clamoring for Russia to withdraw from his country's two separatist regions.
The Georgian leader made another plea on April 26, saying he was willing to tender his resignation if Russia gives up control of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, which Moscow recognized as sovereign states after fighting a war with Georgia in 2008.
Speaking to journalists, Saakashvili reiterated accusations that the Kremlin wants to oust him from power.
On a more bizarre note, Saakashvili said he was even willing to sacrifice parts of his body that Moscow has "shown interest in" – a hint at then-President Vladimir Putin's infamous 2008 pledge to "hang Saakashvili by the balls."
"In addition, I am ready to cut off and send them those parts of my body which they have shown interest in more than once," Saakashvili said. "I am really ready to do it, and I say this without a hint of irony, as long as they pull out their forces from here and give Georgia's people – its multiethnic population – an opportunity to develop within the internationally recognized borders."
The comment, initially broadcast live on Georgian pro-government television, was removed from the interview's subsequent retransmissions.
Long-running tensions between the Kremlin and Saakashvili, centered on his efforts to join NATO and steer Georgia out of Moscow's orbit, have simmered since the end of the 2008 war.
Moscow and Tbilisi have since traded a number of angry barbs and insults.
Saakashvili's proposal to step down and mutilate himself in return for control of Georgia's breakaway regions came just hours after Russian President Dmitry Medvedev called him "a nobody, a zero" destined for "political history."
Written by Claire Bigg