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Opposition Figures Ready to Cooperate with Authorities on Key Issues
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 31 Aug.'08 / 14:11

Salome Zourabichvili, Georgia’s ex-foreign minister and leader of Georgia’s Way Party – part of the opposition coalition – said she welcomed President Saakashvili's decision to restore funding of political parties, as well as a proposal to set up anti-crisis group.

Kakha Kukava, co-leader of the Conservative Party, also part of the opposition coalition, called on the authorities to cooperate with the opposition in defining the country’s foreign policy priorities.

“I welcome [the decision] to restore funding for political parties as a first step towards returning to democracy,” Zourabichvili said in a written statement issued on August 30.

She also welcomed President Saakashvili’s proposal to set up an anti-crisis council together with the opposition to oversee the distribution of foreign aid coming as part of humanitarian relief efforts after the armed conflict with Russia.

She, however, added that this measure would not be enough “for the idea of national unity.”

“Sharing political responsibility should not take place only in respect of the distribution of humanitarian aid; it should also take place in other fields,” Zourabichvili, who is currently in France, said.

“Sometimes big tragedies also bring certain positive consequences as well and national unity should be the response to those who expect Georgia’s disintegration,” she added.

In remarks posted on the Conservative Party website, Kukava criticizes the authorities for a delayed decision to annul agreements based on which Russian peacekeeping forces are deployed in Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

Parliament passed a resolution on August 28 formally declaring Abkhazia and South Ossetia Russian-occupied territories, and calling Russian troops, occupying forces. It also instructed the government to annul all the basic treaties regulating the presence of the Russian peacekeeping forces in Georgia. A day earlier PM Lado Gurgenidze signed a decree annulling these treaties.

“I believe that the authorities should learn from past mistakes, that strategic political decisions should be taken based on consultations and compromise,” Kukava said. “It is only regrettable that this decision [to scrap Russian peacekeeping] was taken without consultations with the opposition and this decision seems to have more of a propaganda nature rather than being a purpose-oriented decision.”

“Anyway,” he continued, “we are ready – if the authorities wish – to participate in the process related to defining the country’s foreign policy priorities.”

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