Skip to main content
The Web    CNN.com      Powered by
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
SERVICES
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
SEARCH
Web CNN.com
powered by Yahoo!
World

Georgia swears in new president

blessing
Saakashvili is blessed by the leader of the Georgian Orthodox Church.

Story Tools

more video VIDEO
The people of Georgia hope Saakashvili will restore Georgia to its former glory.
premium content

Mikhail Saakashvili claims victory.
premium content
YOUR E-MAIL ALERTS
Follow the news that matters to you. Create your own alert to be notified on topics you're interested in.

Or, visit Popular Alerts for suggestions.

TBLISI, Georgia (CNN) -- Two months after his so-called Rose Revolution swept away President Eduard Shevardnadze, Mikhail Saakashvili was sworn in as president of Georgia Sunday.

The 36-year-old Saakashvili -- elected earlier this month with more than 96 percent of the vote -- takes over the country facing enormous problems.

In an interview with CNN, Saakashvili -- a U.S.-trained lawyer -- said his first task will be putting an end to government corruption in Georgia. He is also faced with an economy in which many people exist on less than a dollar a day. Another problem is the breakaway regions of the country and two Russian military bases which Georgia wants removed as soon as possible.

U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell and Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov attended the inauguration.

In his inaugural address Sunday Saakashvili said Georgia must have Russia as a friend and ally, not an enemy. He said his country appreciates the support given it by the U.S.

Sec. Powell said the purpose of his visit to Georgia was "reassuring the president of our strong support for him and for his reform efforts."

"We have made it clear that we want to work closely with President Saakashvili and his Cabinet as they deal with the very daunting problems that Georgia is facing," Powell said.

"I think both Foreign Minister Ivanov and I being here at this inauguration will show that Russia and the United States can cooperate and areas where people might think we should be in competition, or are in competition with each other, and our message is there is no competition here, at least.

"As far as we're concerned, we're here to help the people of Georgia who are in desperate need and it is in the interests of both the United States and the Russian Federation to help the Georgian people."

Asked whether the United States has differences with the Russians over the presence of U.S. troops in Georgia, Powell downplayed any suggestion of a rift over what he called "a very modest presence."

The troops' mission -- to train and equip Georgian forces so they can root out terrorists in the Pankisi Gorge -- is likely to be completed in the next several months, and has been largely effective, he said.

"The number of terrorists believed to still be wandering around in the gorge area is much reduced from what it was before we started."

Those terrorists, he said, had been attacking Russia through Chechnya. "And so, it was a mission that we had explained to the Russians all along. It is no threat to anyone. It was a way of assisting the Georgians in dealing with a terrorist threat that was affecting Russia."

He predicted the United States would "probably maintain some continuing liaison with Georgian military and paramilitary forces in the gorge, so that we have a sense of what their needs are and what their training requirements in the future might be," but said the basic mission should be ending soon.

Powell is due to return Tuesday to the United States.

CNN's correspondent Jill Doughterty contributed to this report


Story Tools
Subscribe to Time for $1.99 cover
Top Stories
Iran poll to go to run-off
Top Stories
CNN/Money: Security alert issued for 40 million credit cards
 
 
 
 

International Edition
CNN TV CNN International Headline News Transcripts Advertise With Us About Us
SEARCH
   The Web    CNN.com     
Powered by
© 2005 Cable News Network LP, LLLP.
A Time Warner Company. All Rights Reserved.
Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines. Contact us.
external link
All external sites will open in a new browser.
CNN.com does not endorse external sites.
 Premium content icon Denotes premium content.
Add RSS headlines.