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Baltic leaders rally in Tbilisi

  • 2008-08-13
  • In cooperation with BNS

Photo: Tija Iles Supporters lay flowers at Georgian embassy

TBILISI- Latvian Prime Minister IvarsGodmanis alongside presidents of Poland, Ukraine, Estonia, and Lithuania arrived in Georgiaand took part in the mass rally in Tbilisi, to showsolidarity with Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili in Georgia'sconflict with Russia.

"You have the right to freedom and independence. We are here todemonstrate our solidarity ... freedom is worth fighting for," saidUkrainian President Viktor Yushchenko on Georgian television.

Yushchenko appeared on stage with Poland'sPresident Lech Kaczynski and his colleagues from Estonia,Toomas Hendrik Ilves, and Lithuania,Valdas Adamkus, as well as Latvia'sPrime Minister Godmanis, addressing thousands of people who gathered for therally.

Georgian President Saakashvili was first to address the rally. "This isthe new Europe. Georgiais a European country which will defend its integrity," he said.

He thanked the Lithuanianpresident for everything Lithuania has done for Georgiaand for the mission of LithuanianForeign Minister Petras Vaitekunas. ""I would like to thank you,President Adamkus, for your minister and for his coming here during thedifficult times and the actions that he took," said Saakashvili, addingthat the Lithuanian diplomacychief stood with the Georgian nation during its most difficult time.

Vaitekunas and representatives of other European countries went to Georgiaat weekend to discuss negotiations about the peace plan.

Godmanis, Yushchenko, Kaczynski, Ilves and Adamkus joined hands and heldthem aloft to cheers from the crowd of tens of thousands which was awash withthe Georgian national colours of red and white as well as flags of the US, theEuropean Union (EU), France, Estonia,Lithuania and Ukraine.

"This country [Russia]seeks to restore its dominance, but the time of dominance is over," PolishPresident Kaczynski told the crowd, which chanted "Poland,Poland!"as he took the microphone.

"You are not alone, we are standing with you ... Let's stand togetherunited and victory will be on our side," said Lithuania'sAdamkus.

Estonia'sIlves said: "Everyone who believes in freedom and democracy is sayingtoday 'I am Georgian'. We are here to demonstrate our solidarity." He said"I am Georgian" in Georgian.

Godmanis said in an interview with Latvian commercial television LNT onTuesday morning that nobody is thinking of possible threat to the state leadersin Georgia, andthe duties have to be fulfilled despite that.