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Alasania Calls for Early Polls
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 24 Dec.'08 / 20:30

Former UN envoy said:
 It was possible to avert the war;
 Saakashvili responsible for current crisis;
 Still holding consultation with various political groups;

Irakli Alasania, Georgia’s former UN envoy, said it was possible to avert the August war and decided to resign because of having “fundamental differences of views” with President Saakashvili.

Speaking at a news conference in Tbilisi on December 24, Alasania said early elections should be held and added that he was holding consultations with various political groups.

Alasania, who turned 35 on December 21, has been making headlines since December 5 when the news broke about his resignation. The press conference by Alasania, who returned from New York last night, was his first public statement on the matter after resignation.

His statement, however, will hardly put an end to series of recent media speculations over Alasania’s future political career, as he did not specify with which parties or politicians he plans to cooperate.

But when asked if he planned to set up a separate political party, Alasania responded, that there already were many political parties in Georgia.

“The most important is to consolidate all the healthy political forces,” Alasania added. 

When asked about potential cooperation with former parliamentary chairperson, Nino Burjanadze, Alasania repeated that he was engaged in talks with various parties and added: “I respect Mrs. Burjanadze and I will also hold consultations with her party.”

“I am going to cooperate with all the political forces in various forms, with those which will share my view on the need to change the philosophy of decision-making process,” he said.

“We should change the philosophy of state governance; we should create strong, democratic, transparent state institutions, competitive business environment,” Alasania said while reading out his written statement in a conference hall packed with journalists.

“This change would be an expression of the Georgian people’s will and it will be peaceful [change], which will not go beyond the constitutional framework. With this goal and belief in mind, I have started consultations with representatives of our society and political forces in order to use our experience for the purpose of consolidation of the people for achieving unifications, security, stability and well being of the country.”

He said that early elections should be held “and they should be held as soon as possible.”

Alasania, however, declined to specify whether he was meaning early presidential or parliamentary elections, or both of them.

He said that creation of appropriate conditions was vital for early polls.

“These conditions are: fair election code and full freedom of media,” Alasania said.

“Society’s consolidation is needed to achieve this [early elections]; if there is people’s will, believe me, there will be elections,” he added.
 
‘Georgia Fell into Russia’s Trap’

Alasania said that the August war was a trap in which Georgia fell because of “unilateral, chaotic, non-institutional process of decision-making on vital issues and absence of transparent system of governance.”

“I agree that this war had been planning a long time ago by the Russian Federation. But it was possible not to fell into this Russian trap,” he said.

“It was possible to resume direct dialogue with the representatives of separatists and it was also possibility, through my involvement in this process, to sign a document on non-resumption of hostilities and return of displaced persons; in that case threat of resumption of military hostilities would have been significantly reduced,” Alasania said.

He then specified that in May when he visited Sokhumi and held talks with the secessionist leaders, “very important, very good document, which was reflecting interests of both sides, had been drafted.”

“But no signing of this document followed and I am deeply convinced that the risk of resumption of hostilities would have been lower if this document was signed,” Alasania added.

He also said that he believed it was also possible, “through principle, but diplomatic means, to find common interests with Russia in the Caucasus region.”

Alasania also said that he did not think that Abkhazia and South Ossetia “are lost for Georgia.”

“But of course today situation makes it extremely difficult to have a meaningful dialogue with them; but eventually with smart diplomatic and correct steps, I am sure, that we will be able to reconnect [ties],” he said.

He said that the conflict resolution should be based on direct dialogue on “on the mutually acceptable development projects and later we can deal with political status issues.”

“At this point there is a huge mistrust, but we have to build environment of trust,” Alasania said.

He also said that there still was a threat for resumption of hostilities, as “Russian troops are still in several kilometers away from Tbilisi.”

“I hope that the authorities will not repeat the same mistake and will not engage in the provocative military confrontation,” Alasania added.

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