President Saakashvili has brushed off protesters calls for his resignation and reiterated that the authorities were ready to engage in dialogue with the opposition on economic and security issues, as well as on democratic reforms.
A similar proposal to the opposition has been made by the ruling party before the launch of protest rallies, but the opposition declined it as mere PR campaign and instead called on the authorities to take concrete steps to show its readiness for a compromise.
“I think yesterday was a very important for our democracy; one part of our society has expressed its will as it should correspond to a country with high-level culture and a country, which is in the process of becoming European democracy,” President Saakashvili said.
He was speaking in a live televised address made at a ceremony marking signing of a memorandum with Turkish Anadolu Group on construction of a new hydro power plant in Paravani.
“In the nearest four years – in the [second] term of my presidency – my government and I plan to build a hydro resource of new scale in Georgia, which will be equal to the one of Enguri hydro power plan,” he said.
“I want to tell those, who were rallying yesterday; opinion of each citizen is important for me; I take to heart the hardship of each of them, as well as their expectations,” Saakashvili said.
“Because of hardship and pessimism many of our citizens are angry and I want to tell you that I am also very angry, because of the economic and security problems that our country faces.”
“It is not easy to overcome these problems; hard work and right decision are required for that purpose,” he continued. “And most of all it requires unity of all citizens and of political forces on major issues and it requires dialogue and taking of joint responsibility before the country’s future.”
“It requires dialogue and on our part we have always been expressing readiness for that dialogue,” he said and added that the dialogue should focus on the most pressing issues for the society.
“These questions are how to overcome global crisis; how to tackle unemployment; how to de-occupy our territories; how to make the political system more open and democratic and how to reform the judiciary system to make the country more just,” Saakashvili said.
Speaking with ultimatums is very easy; taking categorical stance and saying no to dialogue is very easy; working together is difficult, listening to each other and forgetting regrets is difficult, as well as it is difficult to even slightly change our positions... This government is ready to speak with each and every political force, weather it is moderate or radical.”
“Today when many of the families are in hardship we have no other alternative than to engage in dialogue… Now it is time to stand together and listen to each other and to share responsibility for securing of our country and to provide better future.”
He said that the Georgian government “is effective and consolidated and its major goal is to be in service of the people.”