The third president of Georgia responds to the events in Pankisi. Mikheil Saakashvili calls on the government not to use force against the population of the valley and to sit down at the negotiation table. Saakashvili claims that he supports the Pankisi population and the HPP should not be built in the valley. He also urges the population to stay calm as much as possible.
"Their demand that the HPP is not built where it is being built is completely justified, because this HPP poses a deadly threat to their living environment, their economic prospects and I want to tell the Georgian government , think twice before you use force and send a special unit. I understand why you are building these HPPs, because it is in Ivanishvili"s personal interests and Kaladze"s personal interests. But this is not the interest of Georgia. In many other places in Georgia, the HPP can not be built either because the main income of Georgia is tourism and the people themselves feel the same. This tourism has been created in recent years and now it is under a big threat. I want to tell my sisters and brothers from Pankisi, please make maximum restraint as always and with great caution and prudence. Now dialogue is necessary. The Government of Georgia should at least now show some common sense and have a dialogue with their own population and their leaders. Immediately release Malkhaz Machalikashvili because you can not stop people by using such methods. This is a very sensitive topic and you get into a very dangerous area because there are so many interests intervened here and this creates problems for our state interests. So now there is no alternative to dialogue, "Mikheil Saakashvili said.