Davit Bakradze, the parliamentary chairperson, said that the authorities had been engaged in confidential contacts with opposition representatives more than a week ago in an attempt to agree format of possible talks.
He said that those contacts were taking place with participation of “several well-known representatives of the international community.”
“We have been offering them to hold confidential meetings on Saturday and Sunday [April 18-19] to discuss the major issues on which we could have talked, including on issues related with restoration of confidence; we have been offering them to hold after that [confidential] meetings, talks with open agenda either on Tuesday or Wednesday,” Bakradze said in the public TV’s program, Weekly Politics, on April 26.
He said that this “open agenda” would have given the opposition an opportunity to raise any issue they wanted during the talks.
“But the opposition responded with a statement by which they have again cut their ways towards the dialogue,” Bakradze said. “We have been offering them a very concrete scheme, mechanism, venue and time for holding the dialogue.”
He reiterated that the authorities’ preferred agenda of talks remained unchanged, involving discussions on constitutional reform that would increase the parliamentary powers, as well as on election code and tackling economic difficulties.
“There is readiness on our side to [carry out] all the reforms, which are good for the country and if it is impossible to do that with the radical opposition because of their refusal, then we will make it together with the society and with those political forces, who are willing to engage,” Bakradze said.
Earlier in the same TV program, Davit Usupashvili, the leader of Republican Party, part of Alliance for Georgia, said that the opposition was ready to meet with the President without preconditions. He, however, reiterated that the opposition’s agenda remained unchanged, involving Saakashvili’s resignation.
But he also said that if President Saakashvili had “concrete proposals, serious proposals – and not the one which we are hearing from them, including from the parliamentary speaker” than the opposition was ready to listen to those proposals.
“In-depth, issue-based meeting is needed and not the one, which might be used for propagandistic purposes either by the opposition or by the authorities,” Usupashvili said. “Such meeting requires guarantees, including from the European Union, because we already have an experience of such meetings, which were ending without results.”
Meanwhile, an influential leader of the Georgian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Ilia II, called for a day of nationwide prayer for repentance on April 28 and called on the politicians to pray together on that day.
“I want to address the authorities and the opposition to come to church on that very important day and to repent sins together,” Ilia II said on April 26.
“The one which is more spiritual should concede to another,” he added.