GEORGIAN PRESIDENT ADDRESSES CROWD IN UKRAINE
'orange revolution' changed Europe
TV 5 Kanal, Kiev, Ukraine, in Ukrainian, Fri 31 Dec 04
BBC Monitoring Service, UK, in English, Friday, Dec 31, 2004
KIEV - Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili has delivered an emotional speech before a huge crowd of supporters of Ukrainian opposition leader Viktor Yushchenko in the main square in central Kiev. Saakashvili, who spoke in Ukrainian, said Europe's destiny was decided in that square and that the "orange revolution" changed Europe.
He said he "felt like a Kievite" again during the opposition protests in Ukraine. Saakashvili congratulated Ukrainians on their victory and their "new president" and wished them a happy New Year. His speech was immediately followed by Yushchenko's New Year address from the same
The following is the text of the speech by Saakashvili aired live by Ukrainian television TV 5 Kanal on 31 December:
[Saakashvili] Dear friends. Brothers and sisters. I greet you all. You do not fully realize yourselves what this square means to the world. We held our breath watching you. We admired your courage. The future destiny of Europe was being decided in this square.
Good overcame evil in this square. You had us relive the moments of joy that we sensed during our own, Georgian, revolution. We, Georgians, were very proud to see our national flags in this square. I want you to know that we will always be on your side.
These days I have felt like a Kievite again, but - [shouts of approval] As a president and official, I had no opportunity to come, but I was on Khreshchatyk [street in central Kiev] in my heart. I was with you. [shouts
But each freedom-loving person was a Kievite at that time, at the time of the orange revolution, which has changed Europe. On behalf of a fraternal people, my wife and I wish to greet you on the New Year. We wish to congratulate you on your victory, a great victory, a new president. My greetings to all of you.
Happy New Year to you all, all inhabitants of Ukraine, on behalf of fraternal Georgia. I greet you all once again. You have a wonderful, amazing president, a friend of mine, a great friend of mine and a truly great political figure. [shouts] Greetings. [Action Ukraine Monitoring]