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Opposition postpone blockade

By Etuna Tsotniashvili
Wednesday, May 6
Due to the arrests at the Mukhrovani military base amid allegations of an attempted coup, the opposition have postponed their plan to blockade the main highways which they announced on May 4. Leader of the Conservative Party Zviad Dzidziguri stated yesterday at a briefing that the opposition have postponed the one hour blocking off of the highways until the circumstances are fully clarified. He added that, “Saakashvili has started using the Georgian Army for political purposes; in order to obstruct today’s planned blockade of the highways, he has decided to show us yet another theatrical set of video recordings,” Dzidziguri said. “We do not believe even slightly that the Georgian Army is a victim of Russian provocation,” he added.

The opposition suggest that Saakashvili wants to declare state of emergency in the country and has invented an Army mutiny as a pretext for doing so. Davit Gamkrelidze of the Alliance for Georgia said yesterday that “if this happens this Government is over.”

Nino Burjanadze, leader of the Democratic Movement-United Georgia, questioned the validity of the video which purported to show evidence of a military coup taking place. “Of course I do not believe this video, because we have seen good examples of other such videos recently. It’s absolutely absurd - the organizers of the ‘coup’ are telling the others about their plans in great detail,” Burjanadze said.

On May 4 Catholicos-Patriarch of All Georgia Ilia II received foreign diplomats and emphasised his attention to the current political crisis in the country. The Patriarch said that the tense relationship between the Georgian Government and the opposition was adding to the problem of restoring the territorial integrity of Georgia.

“Georgia is in a transitional period. There are unresolved problems. Our territorial integrity is being infringed, but we live in hope. I hope all will be restored, and our territorial integrity will be secured. Today we face one more problem - the tense relations between the Georgian Government and opposition. However there are clever people both in the Government and the opposition, and I think they will necessarily find a common language,” the Patriarch stated at the meeting.

The Patriarch asked the diplomats to express their opinions on the current situation. Ilia II expressed the hope that this meeting will promote and end to the crisis in the country. The Ambassadors of various countries urged the contesting political forces to sit down at the negotiating table.

“The United States shares the concerns you expressed at the beginning regarding the territorial integrity of Georgia and the recent developments, the recent actions by the Russian forces, have drawn a strong statement of condemnation from the State Department. That remains our view, and I think more strongly today that the time is well due for the politicians to sit at the table and search through their differences and keep an eye on the interests of the people of Georgia. I am extremely concerned that the tactics being applied by some of the opposition are getting very dangerous, specifically, we have had reports that they want to block the highways tomorrow. This could endanger human lives and I hope this will not happen,” US Ambassador to Georgia John Tefft said.