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More calls for dialogue from outside the Government

By Etuna Tsotniashvili
Wednesday, April 22
Despite the opposition starting their ‘third wave of demonstrations’ the authorities are still holding meetings with representatives of different social and professional spheres and offering the opposition dialogue.

Yesterday Chairman of the Georgian Parliament Davit Bakradze met theatre and music professionals at the Sheraton Metechi Palace hotel and stated that he hopes the opposition will review their position. “The authorities continue to hold meetings with society representatives. The major goal of the authorities is to listen to society’s opinion on the ongoing processes in the country and inform it of the steps the Government plans to take. Dialogue is not for politicians only,” Bakradze said.

Prominent Georgian singer Vakhtang Kikabidze, who rejected the Order of Friendship offered by President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev during the August war, also appealed to both the opposition and Government to hold a dialogue. “I wonder who will take responsibility if these rallies continue and a shot is fired. We should remember Putin’s statement that Russia did what it did and the rest is up to the Georgian people,” Kikabidze said, asking people to think about this as Russian troops are just 40 kilometres from Tbilisi.

Journalist Ketevan Ignatova said that the resignation of the President will be a crime. She said the President and his team have many supporters in the country as was confirmed at the last elections. Ignatova added that although people say only the authorities are responsible for the current events the opposition and society as a whole share this responsibility. She also claimed that the opposition insults society by stating that only honourable and dignified people are taking part in the rallies. “This is not true because most of society does not share the opposition’s demand,” Ignatova thinks.

Singer Merab Sepashvili expressed his regret that pro-opposition colleagues did not attend the meeting with the Parliament Speaker. “I want very much to hear the arguments of my colleagues who are skeptical of dialogue,” he remarked, adding that it would be interesting to know what kind of alternative opinions they have.

However artist Nanka Kalatozishvili struck a rather different note when she said that society has lost trust in both the current conflicting sides and this trust should be regained. “The Government should remember its pre-election slogan ‘Action, not words!’ ” she remarked.

Speaking to The Messenger well-known singer Tamriko Chokhonelidze, who is considered pro-opposition, said that she had not been invited to the meeting with Bakradze and does not know who was there, adding that the situation is tense and she cannot make any kind of prognosis about how all this will finish. Actress Nineli Chankvetadze sees no need to hold a dialogue between Government and opposition. “Dialogue has meaning only when there is trust towards the authorities and the promises they are making are not farces,” she told the paper. Chankvetadze was also not invited to the meeting, and said that those who met with Bakradze have never had a problem with the authorities and do not have anything to say to the authorities.

Prior to the meeting Bakradze chaired a Bureau Session in Parliament at which he repeated the Government’s readiness for dialogue. “We are ready for dialogue. For us dialogue implies negotiations with all the opposition as well as society. Unfortunately the radical part of the opposition rejects this proposal and chooses to talk in ultimatums. I think this is a very bad development, because it will not lead them to any concrete and positive result,” Bakradze stated. “But this is their choice. I hope that at a certain point they will revise this position and I reaffirm that we are ready for dialogue with this part of the opposition as well as with the separate parties and political leaders in this group,” he added.