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Diplomats call for dialogue too

By Mzia Kupunia
Friday, May 1
Some members of the radical opposition met foreign diplomats accredited in Georgia on April 30. The leader of the Democratic Movement-United Georgia, former Parliament Speaker Nino Burjanadze, the leader of the Way of Georgia Salome Zourabichvili, David Usupashvili from the Alliance for Georgia and Kakha Kukava from the Conservative Party attended the meeting, which was held at the office of the European Commission Delegation in Georgia. The meeting was closed to the media.

Talking to journalists after the meeting, Czech Ambassador Ivan Jestrab stressed that “there is no alternative to dialogue.” The Ambassador noted that in every democratic country it is the citizens’ right to express their views by demonstrating, but “at the same time we encouraged the starting of political dialogue at the meeting, and this is in accordance with our view of how political issues should be resolved.”

Jestrab also talked about the necessity of preserving “law and order”. “Disruption of the city must be kept to the minimum level,” the Ambassador told journalists. Jestrab mentioned that the Georgian Church is involved in the regulation of political processes in the country and is trying to calm the situation.

Prominent opposition leader Nino Burjanadze said that the meeting was very important. She noted that the opposition had informed the diplomats about the ongoing demonstrations and their future plans and demands. According to Burjanadze it is very important that diplomats possess “objective” information about the situation in Georgia. “Dialogue is not the solution to a conflict in any country, personally I think that the resources for holding dialogue have expired and the only issue on the agenda is the President’s resignation,” Burjanadze said. “We were ready to meet the Government, however we do not believe that the Government is ready for a real dialogue,” she added

Burjanadze also said that it is time that the opposition takes more effective steps “in order to make the President hear the voice of his people better.” Burjanadze noted that “effective steps” does not mean unconstitutional actions.

“The Ambassadors are willing a dialogue to start between the Government and the opposition,” the leader of the Republican Party David Usupashvili said, “however they understand the opposition’s argument that the Government has misused dialogue on previous occasions. A dialogue with the Government would require some guarantees and preconditions. We do not forbid the Government from taking some steps in this direction: freeing the media and freeing the court from oppression and thus restoring the trust of society,” Usupashvili stated. “We are ready to meet Saakashvili to give him our arguments about why he should resign, not because we want to punish him, but so the country will have a better future,” the leader of the Republican Party said.

The opposition leaders said such meetings will take place more frequently and noted that a special group might be created which would be constantly in touch with the foreign representations in Georgia. According to the non-Parliamentary opposition representatives the next meeting with the diplomats might take place next week.

Meanwhile, Rustavi 2 TV has reported that the Council of Europe Monitoring Committee has adopted a 34-point document, which according to the TV company calls on the Georgian authorities and the opposition to start a dialogue “without any preconditions.”

“As a principle, we are convinced that a rapid succession of pre-term elections is not beneficial for democratic stability in a country. On the other hand, we fully recognize the right and wish of citizens to express their view on the leadership and governance of their country after a major national crisis such as war. No preconditions for such a dialogue should be made and no subject should be a priori off-limits for negotiation. We call upon all political forces to agree on the establishment of a dialogue based on these principles. We call upon all parties that have not yet done so to join the working group on electoral reform and to participate in it in good faith, in order to come to an agreement on a new electoral system and electoral code that will enjoy the widest possible consensus of political forces in the country,” Rustavi 2 quotes the document as saying on its website.