H.E. MR. MIKHEIL SAAKASHVILI, PRESIDENT OF GEORGIA
63rd Session of the United Nations General Assembly
New York, 23 September 2008
I thank you for the opportunity today to address this, the 63rd annual gathering of the General Assembly, at such a critical moment in the history of my own country and of the United Nations.
Sometimes, the most extreme tests of this institution’s towering ideals arise in small, even obscure places.
I come to you as the representative of one of those places, the country of Georgia, a land of fewer than 5 million, that last month was invaded by our neighbor.
Despite our small size, the legal, moral, political, and security implications raised by that invasion could not be larger in consequence.
Indeed, those issues cut through to the heart of the UN’s founding charter.
The principles enshrined in that charter included the inviolability of sovereign borders; the sanctity of human rights; the supremacy of international law; and the global rejection of armed aggression.
All of these principles were put to the test by the invasion, and now hang in the balance.
The invasion violated Georgia’s internationally recognized borders.
The subsequent recognition of the so-called “independence” of our two regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia challenged our territorial integrity.
The ethnic cleansing of hundreds of thousands of our people did violence to the very idea of human rights.
This General Assembly, therefore, faces a General Challenge. read full text