Sarkozy on August 2008 War: Saakashvili Did Everything to Escalate Situation

"The situation was absolutely unacceptable, but I must be honest and admit that Georgian President Saakashvili did everything prior to escalate the situation," former French President Nicolas Sarkozy wrote in relation to the August 2008 War between Russia and Georgia in his memoirs translated and published by Radio Liberty.

During the August War, Sarkozy personally held talks with Russian President Putin. He negotiated a ceasefire agreement on 12 August.

In his words, Saakashvili wanted to play on the nationalist sentiments of his compatriots and eventually "woke up the Russian bear."

"It must be said that South Ossetia and Abkhazia are as important to Georgia as Alsace-Lorraine to us. That is why it was a very delicate topic. Saakashvili wanted to play on the nationalist sentiments of his compatriots and eventually woke up a Russian bear. My opinion about him is mixed. He was a man with a clear vision of the future. By the way, he is one of those polyglots who left an indelible impression on me. But he was doubly mistaken.

"First of all, he was bitterly mistaken when he imagined that the Americans would be involved in a war for him. In addition, he has heard this promise from many American officials. If he had thought well, he would have realized that these were empty words... Two such mistakes are too many.

The former French President also recalls details of meeting with Saakashvili and the presidents of other countries supporting Georgia during the negotiations. 

"I was given a sincere and emotional welcome in Saakashvili's office. The presidents of Lithuania, Poland and Ukraine were there to express their support. In one of the corners, I saw two men standing separately. They did not seem to be Georgians. I asked who they were and what they were doing there. I was told that these two people were Saakashvili's American advisers. I demanded that they leave the room. I wanted to talk to Georgian leaders face to face, without foreign witnesses," Sarkozy wrote.

The Russo-Georgian War was a war between GeorgiaRussia and the Russian-backed self-proclaimed republics of South Ossetia and Abkhazia. The war took place in August 2008 following a period of worsening relations between Russia and Georgia. It was regarded as the first European war of the 21st century. As a result, 20% of Georgian territory remains invaded.

By Ana Dumbadze 

Source: Radio Liberty 

Image: Shutterstock 

05 August 2020 15:01