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Exclusive: Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili on 'Your World'

This is a rush transcript from "Your World With Neil Cavuto," September 24, 2009. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: Some kudos from Hugo:

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HUGO CHAVEZ, VENEZUELAN PRESIDENT (through translator): It doesn't smell of sulfur here anymore.

(LAUGHTER)

(APPLAUSE)

CHAVEZ: It doesn't smell of sulfur. It's gone. No, it smells of something else. It smells of hope.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CAVUTO: All right, now Venezuela President Hugo Chavez is singing President Obama's praises at the United Nations — Venezuela today, Libya yesterday; two rogue states, two endorsements.

With friends like that, who needs enemies?

My next guest knows a thing or two about dealing with tough guys, especially guy who want him dead. He dodged bombs when his country was at war with Russia last year. Remember that? Mikheil Saakashvili is the president of Georgia. He's going to be addressing the United Nations tonight.

He has all his security team in here in the studio with us, so not a single tough question will be asked.

(CROSSTALK)

CAVUTO: Mr. President, very good to have you.

MIKHEIL SAAKASHVILI, PRESIDENT OF GEORGIA: I mean, I'm not Hugo Chavez, definitely.

CAVUTO: No.

(CROSSTALK)

SAAKASHVILI: You can ask any question you want.

CAVUTO: There's no sulfur here.

SAAKASHVILI: In this studio, lots of sulfur, from his point of view.

(LAUGHTER)

CAVUTO: Let me ask you. This is my first chance to talk to you with more time gone by since the dustup with Vladimir Putin, a man who has said some pretty crass about you, not the least of which that he wants you dead. That is pretty scary stuff.

SAAKASHVILI: No, I don't think so, because I think that that is usual.

I mean, from what Georgia represents, from the point of view of Vladimir Putin, is something that cannot exist. This is the country that managed to defy him. He had — he invaded us with the same number of troops as the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan. He wanted us gone as a country. And he wanted me dead.

And, I mean, he wanted certain parts of my body as well, as he proclaimed publicly. Well, when I heard about that and I heard about...

CAVUTO: Yes, that was very painful when I heard that particular image.

SAAKASHVILI: No, but, I mean, Nicolas Sarkozy, president of France, like, you should really get to notorious to the point when Nicolas Sarkozy speaks about parts of your body, I mean, basically Putin telling him about that.

CAVUTO: Yes.

SAAKASHVILI: And when I heard about them, I said, well, they will not have enough ropes for that. And I still insist on that, because one year since their invasion, Georgia not own only survived, but we are, like, in World Bank business ratings, it's like the top places to make business, we are number 11 in the world, just little bit behind the United States and ahead of Finland, Germany, Japan. And Russia, if you are interested, is like 105th. In terms of corruption, Russia is next to Nigeria. We are next to — and Nigeria and Venezuela, by the way, especially Venezuela...

(CROSSTALK)

CAVUTO: You know, Mr. President, do you ever...

SAAKASHVILI: And we are next to Denmark and Netherlands. And it is quite something.

CAVUTO: But — it is something, but I always — when you tempt the tiger, the tiger can either attack or just — just pace, just wait.

Do you sense, as many in the foreign policy community say, that — that he's just, sitting us out, just waiting?

SAAKASHVILI: Absolutely.

I mean, people tell me, please don't give them pretext. And that's — I argue with my friends, these kind of guys don't need pretext. They need the situation. They need to feel that, you know, the United States, free world, that — diverted somewhere else. They have lots of other allies, other bad guys, you know, like Hugo Chavez.

You know, he — last year, Putin invaded Georgia, occupied two of our regions, wanted to take the whole of the country, couldn't make it, took the regions. We have half-a-million refugees. That is to say, one-tenth of our population. It's like exactly same thing what Nazi Germany did with Czechoslovakia and Sudetenland.

And, you know, the only country that really fully recognized it in the world, guess who? Hugo Chavez. And that shows you something. I mean, I don't even think Hugo Chavez knows where Caucasus is. I don't know to which school did he went, but...

(CROSSTALK)

CAVUTO: But what do you think of the fact that our president is — is — has more friendly relations with Vladimir Putin, was saying some very flattering things about people who used to not say very flattering things about us, and that there might be talk of a deal between Vladimir Putin and our president to slap sanctions on Iran, and that maybe you're, you know, collateral damage here?

SAAKASHVILI: Look, first of all, I think President Obama clearly said about Vladimir Putin that he's (INAUDIBLE) in the past, and the — and I think his body language, not only things he has said in Moscow about Georgia. We're OK. We're good.

Now, this is one issue. The other issue is that...

CAVUTO: You're talking about what our president said or what Vladimir Putin said?

SAAKASHVILI: Yes, what President Obama said.

CAVUTO: So, you, you're fine with President Obama?

SAAKASHVILI: Yes.

But the point here is — and we should look at it from the point of view of the Russians. The Russians — I mean, Russia, as it is today, the Russian government, and the Russians, they all the time — this is the kind of government in Moscow that, first of all permanent needs crisis and, second permanent needs small victories, and not over Georgia.

Georgia is too small with them. When they fought with us last year, they fought with the U.S. When Hugo Chavez backed them, he thinks he backed them against the U.S., not some Georgia somewhere there.

The way he does it, the way they think it, they scored — the way they react to some of the things from here and from Washington, against all the intentions of Americans, and I mean, I think...

CAVUTO: But we're looking at stuff that happened last year, Mr. President, when you were — this is actually the attempt on you, where they were bombing, I think, and they were targeting you. Now, they say no, but they — clearly, they were.

So, you don't think something like that could happen again?

SAAKASHVILI: Look, I know people here in the U.S. And I have practiced law two blocks away from your studio here. I know this city. I know this — I think I know Americans.

And I think, with anybody in the world, we have close ties with are Americans. I know people are sick and tired of war zones, and think that Georgia is just another war zone, like Bosnia, Iraq, Afghanistan. You know, we are fed up for that.

But, in fact, we are a very, very normal country. As I said, in terms of investments, we are at par with Netherlands, with Hong Kong, with Singapore, with America, with U.K. We are a very modern-looking country. We're a country with lots of young energy, a country that has lots of good supporters like, you know, all the countries of Eastern Europe and Western Europe...

(CROSSTALK)

CAVUTO: But, with this president, Mr. President, you have as good relations as you did with President Bush?

SAAKASHVILI: Yes. Well, I have to say that we concluded strategic agreement with President Bush.

CAVUTO: Right.

SAAKASHVILI: But it got implemented under this administration.

CAVUTO: So, things are continuing? Because what raises — and I know you have expressed an openness, willingness to take some of those Gitmo detainees.

SAAKASHVILI: Absolutely.

CAVUTO: Where does that stand?

SAAKASHVILI: Absolutely. You know, whatever we can do to help America on its War on Terror, we will do.

We have our — we had our one brigade in Iraq until the end, like one full brigade, the best brigade of Georgian troops. And we don't have a numerous army, but I believed in the cause.

I strongly believe that, you know, we should help to stabilize Afghanistan. That's why we're sending more than 600 people there, mostly with the Americans. And...

CAVUTO: Yes, but what if our president doesn't commit more troops to Afghanistan? Would you commit more troops?

SAAKASHVILI: Well, you know, first of all, I hope — I mean, for — it is everybody's battle. I mean, it is not only America's battle. But I know every time Americans get vulnerable somewhere, how bad guys...

(CROSSTALK)

CAVUTO: No, no, I understand that. But if he — if the president decides, no, I'm not going to send anymore troops, what would you do?

SAAKASHVILI: Well, I'm not...

(CROSSTALK)

SAAKASHVILI: ... to comment on that.

But I spoke to General Petraeus the other day, when I basically committed to him troops. And he was highly — he really was praising Georgian troops a lot. And he was very optimistic.

I know presently all the people are optimistic. And I think this is the country which ultimately...

CAVUTO: Would you not be optimistic if the president says no to more troops?

SAAKASHVILI: Well, I think this is the country that ultimately takes right decisions. And I think that's — that also means that I think this administration will take the right decision.

CAVUTO: Which would be more troops?

SAAKASHVILI: Well, this is not up to me, again, to comment.

(LAUGHTER)

SAAKASHVILI: You know, we have...

CAVUTO: The security guard was getting antsy here. I think I may have pushed my luck. All right.

SAAKASHVILI: No, no, you know how it is.

CAVUTO: All right. All right.

SAAKASHVILI: In reality — the reality is, you know, we just had Vaclav Havel publishing letter in support of Georgia.

CAVUTO: All righty.

SAAKASHVILI: You have Hugo Chavez on the other side.

And I think Georgia an idea of country that, free, and independent small nation, can survive among very bad authoritarian trends...

CAVUTO: All right. All right. Understood.

SAAKASHVILI: ... and can still be a friend of America.

CAVUTO: Gotcha.

SAAKASHVILI: ... and stand by side of America...

(CROSSTALK)

CAVUTO: President or not, we're going to go to a commercial.

SAAKASHVILI: Thanks, Neil.

CAVUTO: Mr. President, thank you.

SAAKASHVILI: Thanks. Thank you.

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