A meeting of President Saakashvili and four opposition leaders started in the Interior Ministry’s newly built administrative office in the suburb of Tbilisi at about 2:30pm local time on Monday.
Irakli Alasania, leader of Alliance for Georgia; Salome Zourabichvili, leader of Georgia’s Way; Kakha Shartava, leader of National Forum and Levan Gachechiladze, an individual opposition figure and a former presidential candidate in last year’s early polls, represent the opposition parties at the first meeting with the President since the launch of protest rallies over a month ago.
Along with the President, Parliamentary Chairman, Davit Bakradze; MP Petre Tsiskarishvili, the parliamentary majority leader; a lawmaker from the ruling party, Giorgi Gabashvili; as well as Dimitri Shashkin, the minister for prison system and probation, who has been tasked with negotiating with the opposition, participate in the meeting.
TV pictures showed four opposition negotiators arriving in a room with long conference table; the ruling party negotiators arrived shortly after that and President Saakashvili followed them exchanging a hasty handshakes with the opposition leaders before taking seat at the table. No statements have been made before the meeting.
President Saakashvili will also meet with a group of lawmakers from the parliamentary minority after talks with those opposition leaders, who are behind the ongoing street protests demanding the President’s resignation.