Georgia’s Tough Stand on Smuggling Has Paid Off – President


Imedi TV, Tbilisi
23 Oct 04

(Presenter) Today (Georgian President) Mikheil Saakashvili and
(Armenian President) Robert Kocharyan attended various events of the
Tbilisoba festival in the Shardeni Street (in Tbilisi). There were
some unexpected changes in the programme as well. Saakashvili and his
Armenian counterpart went to Riqe (public place) and took a ride on a
bus presented to Tbilisi by The Netherlands. (Passage omitted) Later
in the day, the two presidents left Tbilisi for (the resort town of)

Today Mikheil Saakashvili once again commented on the importance of
the reopening of the (Verkhniy) Lars checkpoint (on the
Georgian-Russian border). (Passage omitted)

(Saakashvili) It seems that very many people hoped that, as a result
of the Lars checkpoint closure, we would be forced to reopen the
smuggling route from the direction of (the South Ossetian capital)
Tskhinvali. A lot of people counted on it. However, since we have
managed to endure this for two months – we clenched our teeth but did
not let that gang resume smuggling – these people realized, I think,
that Georgia would never give in to the pressure. Our boys did not die
in vain in Tskhinvali (this summer), they did not die in order for
some filthy scoundrels to renew carrying contraband from there. We
would lie down on the ground (as a sign of protest) rather than let
the smuggling resume. This is very important. Therefore, I think that
the closure of the Lars checkpoint no longer made sense because of our
principled position.

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