December 9, 2003 - Issue: Vol. 149, No. 176 — Daily Edition108th Congress (2003 - 2004) - 1st Session
PLEDGING CONTINUED UNITED STATES SUPPORT FOR GEORGIA'S SOVEREIGNTY, INDEPENDENCE, TERRITORIAL INTEGRITY, AND DEMOCRATIC AND ECONOMIC REFORMS
(Extensions of Remarks - December 09, 2003)
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[Extensions of Remarks] [Page E2509] From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov] PLEDGING CONTINUED UNITED STATES SUPPORT FOR GEORGIA'S SOVEREIGNTY, INDEPENDENCE, TERRITORIAL INTEGRITY, AND DEMOCRATIC AND ECONOMIC REFORMS ______ HON. ALCEE L. HASTINGS of florida in the house of representatives Monday, December 8, 2003 Mr. HASTINGS of Florida. Mr. Speaker, Georgian President Eduard Shevardnadze resigned on November 23, 2003. Mr. Shevardnadze's resignation caps a political career during which he has won my admiration, and that of freedom-loving people everywhere, for helping, as Soviet foreign minister under Mikhail Gorbachev, end the Cold War. However, in spite of this remarkable accomplishment, during his 10 years as president, Georgians widely became disheartened with Mr. Shevardnadze for allowing corruption to infest the country, while most of its people fell into poverty and despair. These conditions fed the uprising against him, but it was triggered by the fraudulent parliamentary elections of November 2, 2003. Opposition began daily protests that attracted thousands, demanding the elections be annulled or Mr. Shevardnadze's resignation, or both. Throughout nearly 3 weeks of protests, both sides remained mindful of Georgia's interest in peace and safety, and avoided provocations. Mr. Speaker, his fall ended a political crisis astonishing for its speed and lack of violence in a blood-washed region. There was no blood. No killing. Consequently, Mr. Speaker, this resolution congratulates both Eduard Shevardnadze and the leaders of the opposition, Nino Burdzhanadze, Mikhail Saakashvili, and Zurab Zhvaniva, for their courage and patriotism in dealing with the crisis bloodlessly. Moreover, the resolution pledges support and help for the people of Georgia so as to consolidate the democratic process. Furthermore, it urges all political segments, as well as social sectors and institutions in Georgia, to strive, through dialogue, to achieve the national reconciliation for which both the Georgian people and the international community yearn. Mr. Speaker, I strongly and wholeheartedly support Georgia's new leaders, while I also urge them to pursue stability, abide by their constitution and hold democratic elections. And, I look forward to working with Interim President Nino Burdzhanadze in her effort to maintain the integrity of Georgia's democracy as she strives to ensure that this change in government follows the constitution. I urge my colleagues to support this resolution. ____________________