|Solana Meets Opposition Leaders|
|Friday, 06 June 2008|
June 5, 2008
Visiting EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana met with opposition leaders in Tbilisi.
Davit Gamkrelidze, leader of the New Rights Party and Levan Gachechiladze – both from the eight-party opposition coalition, as well as Shalva Natelashvili, the Labor Party leader; Giorgi Targamadze, the Christian-Democratic Party leader and Davit Usupashvili, the leader of the Republican Party participated in the meeting.
Solana said afterwards that the internal situation after the elections in Georgia had been discussed during the meeting.
“We are following with attention the electoral process,” he said. “We would like very much that the authorities also listen to those recommendations that have been made in those reports [of international observers].”
“We have limited time [for this meeting], but we will try to give him objective information about what is going on in this country, where practically a totalitarian regime has been established” Davit Gamkrelidze told journalists before the meeting. “It is very important that he has impartial information not only about the elections, but generally about what is happening in Georgia in terms of democratic development.”
“His [Solana’s] visit is very important and I think that if the opposition’s views are also shared, it would only benefit Georgia,” Levan Gachechiladze said before the meeting.
After the meeting, Gachechiladze said that the negative developments following the Rose Revolution had been stressed in the talks. “The destruction of institutional and human freedoms followed [the Rose Revolution], which resulted in an increase in state violence. And after the last two elections anti-western rhetoric has emerged in Georgia, which is becoming more and more popular,” Gachechiladze said.
“Unfortunately, Mr. Solana’s visit will not change the current situation in Georgia – the regime of those terrorists and murderers, which has been established in the form of Saakashvili’s system,” Shalva Natelashvili said before the meeting. “We should remind Mr. Solana that the West has unfortunately promoted the growth of this tyrant by turning a blind eye on a series of murders, ballot rigging, and violence. And what is most important, we will ask for political asylum for our families, because a threat of attacks of special troops against our families and party offices has acquired an everyday character. Yesterday four of our party activists were taken away by the Interior Ministry’s department of constitutional security.”
“I will talk with Mr. Solana about Georgia-EU relations, which have intensified recently,” Davit Usupashvili said. “But I think that the European Union can do much more in terms of both the development of democratic institutions and assisting Georgia in conflict resolution. Obviously we will express discontent that during the parliamentary elections the assistance of the European Union towards the Georgian people could have been much more effective. Still, the Republican Party will reiterate its firm course towards Georgia’s European integration and Mr. Solana can do much to help us in this.”
“Naturally, his visit serves two major goals. As we know officially, he will discuss Abkhazia. The EU position, the position of the international community is very important,” Giorgi Targamadze said before the meeting. “The second important issue is the internal political situation in Georgia. From this point of view, the influence of the European Union and western democratic society on settlement of internal political problems in Georgia is very important, if not determinant. We will try to give a real picture about the ongoing processes in Georgia, about recent parliamentary elections and we will share our opinions about how we can find a way out and what kind of role the international community and the European Union can play in this process.”
Solana will meet with President Saakashvili in Batumi, Adjara, later on June 5 and will travel to Sokhumi on June 6.
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