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Ruling Party Offers Opposition Talks on Three Issues
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 31 Mar.'09 / 18:22

The ruling National Movement Party called on the opposition to start talks on three most urgent issues involving economy, security and national interests and democratic reforms; no early elections among the list of proposals.

“In order to carry out an open dialogue with the opposition and with its most radical part, we are ready to sit down at the table of negotiations,” the ruling party declaration read out by MP Petre Tsiskarishvili, the leader of parliamentary majority, on March 31 says.

“We are open to hold a dialogue with the opposition around three major issues: first of all, we should overcome the global economic crisis and create jobs for our people; second, we should defend the security and national interests of our country; the third issue is how to implement jointly a democratic political reform.”

“As part of this latter issue, we are ready to cooperate and talk with the opposition on the constitutional reform, election code reform, judicial reform and creation of more democratic media,” the declaration reads.

“Of course, we have no illusion that we will manage to agree on all the issues; but we are sure that through cooperation instead of confrontation, through dialogue instead of division, through joint construction instead of destruction, we will be able to properly meet those responsibilities that we have undertaken before our people.”

The presentation of the declaration, along with senior ruling party lawmakers, was also attended by Dimitri Shashkin, the minister for probation and penitentiary system. President Saakashvili tasked Shashkin to coordinate the government’s efforts in frames of the new wave of democratization. Invitation has been sent to all the opposition parties to have a meeting with Shashkin to discuss details of the authorities’ proposal, ruling party MPs said.

Salome Zourabichvili, a former foreign minister and leader of Georgia’s Way Party, which is part of the opposition group planning to start protest rallies from April 9, said not a single “real opposition party” would join that “false dialogue” offered by the authorities before the start of street protest rallies.

“Those parties, which will join that dialogue, will show that they have never been in the opposition,” she said. “No dialogue will take place before April 9. We are on the road to April 9 and the dialogue will take place only after Saakashvili’s resignation.”

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