Mikhail Saakashvili, President of Georgia
This is a rush transcript from "Glenn Beck," May 20, 2009. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
JUDGE ANDREW NAPOLITANO, GUEST HOST: Two days of talks aimed at mending rifts from last August's war between the country of Georgia and neighboring Russia have ended with little progress. The discussions did not start off well this week. The Russians bolted prematurely. But a U.S. envoy to the region said the Geneva meetings did end on a decent note. Talks will resume in July.
Russia — are you are ready for this? — still occupies 20 percent of Georgia's territory from last year's conflict. Glenn Beck just spoke to the president of Georgia exclusively about the tensions and the tensions escalating. Here is a portion of his conversation with Mikhail Saakashvili.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GLENN BECK, HOST: Mr. President, how are you, sir?
MIKHAIL SAAKASHVILI, PRESIDENT OF GEORGIA: How are you, Glenn? Very nice to hear your voice.
• Video: Watch Beck's exclusive interview
BECK: Good to hear you, sir. You know, I have spoken with you several times. One time, it has been while Russia was invading your country and you were out in the full light — lit up on a balcony. Other times, we have spoken in times of relative rest in your country. This is not one of these times. What is happening?
You have people calling now for your resignation. You have a battalion — according to The New York Times, you had a brief mutiny by a Georgian tank battalion in the last few days.
What's happening, sir?
SAAKASHVILI: What is happening in George is a great, you know, tribute what's real democracy. I think what we have is, first of all, we have a government that is pretty popular. I'm leading it.
On the other hand, we have certainly groups that don't like the government and they are free to express their protest. While they are in minority, but they are an outspoken minority. I mean, these are people who have enough money. I mean, they have freedom of speech and freedom of demonstration.
BECK: How much of a role do you think that Vladimir Putin and Russia is playing in sowing the seeds of discontent inside your own borders and apparently also inside your military?
SAAKASHVILI: Well, I mean — look, Russia has officially changed policy. They are not hiding. This is not my speculation. I mean, it's very funny that Vladimir Putin, a couple of days ago, criticized Georgia's democratic credentials. He criticized the way we handle, you know, internal opposition.
The point here is that in Georgia, people can demonstrate. And you know, we can have people blocking traffic in the main street and the country functions as normal. Nobody is surprised by that. We don't have scores of policemen attacking and cracking them down, as it would happen instantly in Russia.
BECK: You have been close to President George W. Bush. He has supported you over the years. Have you had contact with our White House now and President Obama?
SAAKASHVILI: I had a few phone calls with President Obama and I have to say that, you know, we have strong support from the United States. You know, the United States has called us strategic ally in the late months of the previous administration. The new administration has confirmed it.
And I think, you know, the way this country is approached by our neighbors is that they are going to Washington and telling Washington, "OK, let's have a trade-off. Abandon this country, Georgia, and we'll give you something in exchange, maybe better access to Afghanistan." Maybe some other, you know, strategic deal or something else.
But the point here is — and I think this is clearly understood by this administration, by all of our friends in Washington — abandoning Georgia would mean, as Russians would want it, abandoning the idea of freedom in very huge part of Eurasia, of Europe.
BECK: I'm not quite so sure, though, that this administration is willing to pay the high price for its ideals. They are looking to reset a relationship with Russia. We have President Obama going over to meet with Russia and broker all kinds of deals. What gives you the assurance that we won't throw you under the bus for a new sort of relationship or a reduction in nuclear weapons?
SAAKASHVILI: Well, I think, first of all, that's exactly what, two days ago, Vladimir Putin said. He said he clearly addressed Americans and he told them — he told you, if you want to have a real reset, forget about Georgia.
But, you know, I think people in Washington understand that forgetting about Georgia, first of all, is against every American principle of, you know, supporting freedom and democracy. And that's, I think, clearly understood also by the present administration.
BECK: Mr. President, thank you for spending part of your day with us.
BECK: I really appreciate it, sir. And best of luck. We'll keep you in our prayers over here.
SAAKASHVILI: Thanks so much.
BECK: You bet.
SAAKASHVILI: Thank you for calling me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
Content and Programming Copyright 2009 FOX News Network, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Transcription Copyright 2009 CQ Transcriptions, LLC, which takes sole responsibility for the accuracy of the transcription. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. No license is granted to the user of this material except for the user's personal or internal use and, in such case, only one copy may be printed, nor shall user use any material for commercial purposes or in any fashion that may infringe upon FOX News Network, LLC'S and CQ Transcriptions, LLC's copyrights or other proprietary rights or interests in the material. This is not a legal transcript for purposes of litigation.