|Georgian Opposition Seeks Talks With Pres Saakashvili|
|Thursday, 07 May 2009|
Georgian opposition leaders Thursday offered to hold talks with President Mikhail Saakashvili after violence erupted following weeks of anti-government protests.
Appearing to soften their position that they would only hold talks if Saakashvili's resigned, opposition leaders said they would listen if the president has other ideas for bringing the country out of political crisis.
"We are ready to sit down, but to sit down with one person, Mikheil Saakashvili, who is today the only person that takes any decision in this country," opposition leader Salome Zurabishvili said at a joint press conference with other protest organisers.
"We think there is only one way, it's for this person to leave and to have presidential and parliamentary elections. If he knows any other way of getting out of the political crisis he should let us know," she said.
The clashes late Wednesday were the first major outbreak of violence since opposition protests against Saakashvili began nearly a month ago
Officials accused opposition supporters of trying to storm a main police station and said police had used truncheons to repel protesters trying to climb a fence into the building.
The opposition said police had attacked the protesters and opened fire with rubber bullets, which officials denied. Police said 29 people were injured in the clashes, including six officers, but none of the injuries were serious.
Copyright (c) 2009 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
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