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.

                          ____________________