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Clinton meets opposition

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Tuesday, July 6
As part of her visit to Georgia on July 5 US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton met opposition representatives, specifically Irakli Alasania and Aleksi Petriashvili from Our Georgia-Free Democrats and Giorgi Targamadze and Levan Vephkhvadze from the Christian Democratic Movement.

“The opposition bears its own share of responsibility for all the issues and events ongoing in the country and should understand the meaning of this responsibility. It is possible that some democratic promises will not be fulfilled, this danger always exists, however the main thing is common responsibility,” Clinton stated before the meeting.

The opposition representatives assessed the meeting positively. "Hillary Clinton’s visit can be considered very important for Georgia. By holding this meeting with opposition representatives Clinton was able to hear alternative information and we were glad that we informed her about almost all the necessary, serious and painful ongoing issues in Georgia. We spoke about the degree of impartiality of the courts in Georgia, the transparency of the election system and business freedom. Clinton promised assistance in all directions necessary for Georgia’s democratic development and advancement,” Targamadze said.

“This visit is an obvious sign that the United States remains one of the most important and influential allies of Georgia. We discussed almost all the issues connected with American-Georgian strategic relations. We underlined the necessity of changing the electoral environment and for the present authority to be removed through democratic elections. Ongoing constitutional reform, people being arrested for their political views and media related issues were also raised by us. Clinton promised that the United States will continue to undertake activities in support of Georgia and one more time confirmed America’s position on Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity,” Alasania stated.

Other opposition leaders commented on the fact that they were not invited to this meeting. "We are not offended that we were not invited to the meeting with Hillary Clinton, as it seems the US Embassy chose those opposition leaders whose statements would not be hard for the Secretary of State to listen too,” Kakha Kukava from the Conservative Party stated. “I think the results of the local government elections were taken into account when choosing which opposition leaders would take part in this meeting. The elections identified those opposition directions most supported by the Georgian people, who seek to change things only by means of elections,” Mamuka Katsitadze from the New Rights stated.

Analyst Giorgi Khutsishvili told The Messenger, "I have always stated that America has not changed its policy towards Georgia and the Obama administration’s statements concerning Russia do not mean that Georgia will be abandoned. The confirmation that the United States remains the most reliable ally of Georgia was Hillary Clinton’s visit,” Khutsishvili said. "I am sure that only inviting two opposition leaders, Irakli Alasania and Giorgi Targamadze, to this meeting was not accidental. The American administration decides such things very carefully, based on research and the political situation in a country. It seems Irakli Alasania and Giorgi Targamadze, on the basis of their opinions and parties, are considered the most promising opposition leaders in Georgia,” Khutsishvili added.