Stateless Saakashvili in Netherlands

Published February 15, 2018
ROTTERDAM (Netherlands): Former Georgian president Mikheil Saakashvili poses in front of the Erasmus Bridge on Wednesday.—AFP
ROTTERDAM (Netherlands): Former Georgian president Mikheil Saakashvili poses in front of the Erasmus Bridge on Wednesday.—AFP

ROTTERDAM: Former Georgian president Mikheil Saakashvili vowed on Wednesday to press on with his fight, as the stateless politician arrived in the Netherlands to join his family after being expelled from Ukraine.

Saakashvili, who is married to a Dutch woman, said “we are going to continue the fight,” once again denouncing what he called Monday’s “brutal kidnapping” by Ukrainian authorities.

In the latest chapter of a high-profile, months-long saga, the opposition leader was arrested by masked men in a Kiev restaurant and swiftly deported to Poland.

He has already been successively stripped of both his Georgian and Ukrainian nationalities, rendering him stateless.

On Wednesday, he spoke briefly outside the offices of the immigration authorities in Rotterdam, where his lawyer said he was sorting out his residency permit.

“Right now I am here, and I will be here for the time being,” Saakashvili, 50, said asked if he was planning to stay in the Netherlands.

At a press conference in Warsaw on Tuesday, Saakashvili said he had been blindfolded and rushed first by van, then by helicopter to Kiev international airport.

“I want to stay a Ukrainian politician and fight the corruption. When we have one million (people) in Kiev in the streets, we will go peacefully to Ukraine,” Saakashvili told reporters.

He added he was counting on help from supporters to return to Ukraine “to fight corruption”.

A former governor of Ukraine’s Odessa region, Saakashvili was once an ally of Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, but became one of his greatest foes.

Kiev now accuses Saakashvili of trying to stage a coup sponsored by allies of former Kremlin-backed Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych — a charge he strongly denies.

The ugly falling out saw Saakashvili stripped of his Ukrainian passport.

But authorities in the Netherlands said in December that he can apply for a Dutch passport because of his marriage to Dutch citizen, Sandra Roelofs. The couple also has two sons.

Published in Dawn, February 15th, 2018

Opinion

Discipline and punish

Discipline and punish

The larger issue is that many within the police and the state view the role of the police as not one of service but of control.
Appointing VCs
27 Jul 2021

Appointing VCs

For VCs of yore, it was more than a job assignment.
Giving peace a chance
Updated 26 Jul 2021

Giving peace a chance

So long as Afghan government forces do not collapse in the face of the Taliban’s military assaults, diplomacy will have a chance.

Editorial

AJK’s ugly elections
Updated 27 Jul 2021

AJK’s ugly elections

All party leaders focused on insulting their rivals instead of talking about issues concerning the AJK electorate.
27 Jul 2021

Refugee concerns

AS Afghanistan slips back into chaos with a rapid Taliban advance, the possibility of refugees spilling over into...
27 Jul 2021

ECP vacancies

FEARS of yet another deadlock between the PTI government and the opposition on the selection of successors for...
26 Jul 2021

Senior citizens’ law

FOR all the cultural emphasis on respect and consideration for our elders, the state itself extends little by way of...
26 Jul 2021

Grim Covid realities

YET another grim milestone was reached last week when we became the 30th country in the world to mark a million...
Islamophobia envoy
Updated 26 Jul 2021

Islamophobia envoy

By calling for the appointment of a special envoy to counter Islamophobia, US lawmaker Ilhan Omar has raised a pertinent issue.