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Former American Ambassador meets with Ivanishvili

By Salome Modebadze
Thursday, April 12
“I’m getting a very good education in the present reality of Georgian political life,” Frank Wisner, former American Ambassador to the United Nations, said after his meeting with leader of the Georgian Dream coalition, Bidzina Ivanishvili.

Calling Ivanishvili a “good teacher”, Wisner affirmed his interest in the future of Georgia's democracy. Speaking at the billionaire's business centre on Wednesday, the diplomat noted that he had been following Georgia’s history “as Americans can and are able to do".

Wisner wishes that the country can develop a vibrant democracy that contributes to stability throughout this region of the world, and that is in harmony with the fundamental values of the Euro-Atlantic community and of the US.

Pleased that his colleagues in the American government are associated with Georgia, he said he is looking forward to the continuation of this association and their ability to work together. Stressing he would remain deeply committed to Georgia both in the private sector and in his life in the government, Wisner hoped that the country will see exciting years in terms of defining democracy and creating institutions of enduring value.

Having come to Georgia at Ivanishvili’s invitation, Wisner emphasized the importance of meeting with the Georgian businessman.

On January 31, 2011 Wisner, who served as Ambassador to Egypt from 1986 to 1991, negotiated with then-President of Egypt Hosni Mubarak in support of the American message to resign from the presidency. But Wisner denied any “clear parallels” between Georgia and Egypt, saying that Georgia has begun the process of democracy. “Now we all want to see it become a real and deep commitment on the part of Georgians, those in authority and those in opposition,” he said, adding that Georgia has both the experience and international friends to make this happen, while “the Middle East is a very different environment.”

As Ivanishvili told the media, his meeting with the American diplomat was very interesting. Amazed with Wisner’s knowledge of Georgia, Ivanishvili said that he knows the Georgian Constitution better than many Georgian politicians and understands the latest changes quite well.

Ivanishvili also stated that President Mikheil Saakashvili continues to adjust the Constitution at will. Speaking of the “vague” changes, the businessman hoped that the President would finally realize his mistake and stop. Expressing his respect for his homeland, Ivanishvili stressed that he and his team will remain obedient to the law despite the legislative amendments made after his entrance to the political arena.

Ivanishvili suspects that the country may face a crisis between 2012 and 2013, even with his “theoretical success” in the upcoming elections. But he said that he received plenty of interesting suggestions from Wisner on how to continue struggling for democratic elections this fall.

As Republican and member of Ivanishvili’s coalition Tina Khidasheli said, the more “influential and high-ranking” figures are aware of the campaign environment in Georgia the better for dealing with the existing problems in the media, the courts, and the other factors that may affect the elections. “We want these people to be ambassadors of goodwill in Georgia’s fight for democracy,” Khidasheli said, adding that the coalition intends to inform as many foreign diplomats about the situation in the country as possible.