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Opposition meets diplomats

By Mzia Kupunia
Friday, November 21
Freedom of the media, amendments to the election code and political prisoners were the key issues discussed at a meeting between the United Opposition and representatives of the diplomatic corps on Thursday. The leaders of all opposition parties comprising the United Opposition and representatives of Embassies accredited in Georgia, including the Ambassadors of France, Italy, Germany, Romania and Greece attended the meeting.

The opposition, which has announced it will hold permanent rallies from November 7, presented its action plan to the diplomats. The opposition leaders also informed the Ambassadors of the planned rally on November 23 in front of Imedi TV, which would demand the returning of Imedi to its “legal owners.”

After the meeting both sides stressed the importance of solving all issues through dialogue. The opposition leaders said the possibility of negotiations with the Government had been at the top of the list of discussion points. “We are ready for negotiations, however there has been no sign of this from the Georgian Government,” Kakha Kukava from the Conservative Party said. “Saakashvili and the members of his Government say on TV that they want dialogue with the opposition, but the reality is that we have to speak with them in the language of demonstrations,” Kukava was quoted as saying. Speaking to The Messenger, Kukava noted that pressure from the international community would be a big help in resolving problems through dialogue.

French Ambassador Eric Fournier also noted the necessity of negotiations between the opposition and the Government. “We once more call for a dialogue between the representative of opposition and Government,” he told journalists after the meeting.

This has been the second meeting held between the opposition and the diplomatic corps this month. The first was held early in November, ahead of the anniversary of the November 7 2007 police crackdown on demonstrators on Rustaveli Avenue. The opposition marked the day with protest rallies in front of Parliament and the President’s residence. According to Kakha Kukava, the previous meeting with the Ambassadors had been “mutually beneficial.” Then the Ambassadors had called on both opposition and Government to show “responsible behaviour” and avoid violence.