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Gachechiladze on Talks with Saakashvili
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 10 Jun.'09 / 01:57

Levan Gachechiladze, an opposition politician, said President Saakashvili told him that it was possible “to review” cases of number of opposition activists who have been arrested on various charges since the launch of protest rallies.

“I think these people will return back to their families,” Gachechiladze told journalists immediately after the meeting with President Saakashvili.

The meeting, which lasted for over two hours, took place in the president’s residence in Shavnabada outside Tbilisi late on June 9.

“This meeting has a chance of having a result if these people are released in a short period of time,” Gachechiladze said.

He said that he would send an exact list of the activists detained since the launch of protest rallies to the authorities.

Gachechiladze said that like after the first meeting with Saakashvili on May 11, the recent meeting had again demonstrated that “our perception of reality differs”.

He said that Saakashvili again spoke of those proposals, which he offered to the opposition after the first meeting on May 11. Apart of Gachechiladze, three other opposition leaders also participated in that meeting – Salome Zourabichvili, Irakli Alasania and Kakha Shartava.

“He again spoke about local elections and about the issues, which are already known for the public; but I told him that the election of [Tbilisi] mayor will not help to defuse political tensions,” Gachechiladze said. “The problem is in mistrust, which the people have in this person [Saakashvili].”

He also said that the protest rallies with the demand of the President’s resignation would continue.

Levan Gachechiladze met with Saakashvili in an individual capacity not representing other opposition parties, behind the ongoing protests rallies.

After the meeting Gachechiladze guested at the Tbilisi-based Maestro TV’s popular talk show, Cell No. 5, hosted by his brother, a singer and activist, Giorgi Gachechiladze, where he spoke about the talks with the President in more details.

He said that although there were mixed reaction both among the public and opposition parties to his decision to meet with Saakashvili, he did it because “it is the responsibility of a politician to take a burden and if needed to take an unpopular steps.” “Although I do not understand why this step was unpopular,” he added.

“I could not see in him [Saakashvili] even a bit of sing that he is ready for changes,” Levan Gachechiladze said. “So I think and I firmly believe that our struggle should continue and become more radical.”

He said that Saakashvili thought that there was “no crisis” in the country. “His argument is that the state budget is not in crisis and his second argument is that the state structures have not collapsed, meaning that no one emerged within the authorities, who would have defected from his administration.”

“He, however, acknowledged that now Georgia is in a stalemate situation,” Gachechiladze said.

He also said that the issue of Imedi TV’s disputed ownership was raised, “but he is not adequate on the matter.”

“Issue of Maestro TV’s license was also raised and he did not seem to be as categorical on the matter as on the issue of Imedi TV,” Gachechiladze added.

He then spoke about the need of creation of “a well-organized” public movement “with its structure and hierarchy with platforms in various issues - economy, healthcare, business, distribution of powers and checks-and-balances.” “We need this type of platform-based attack” on the authorities, he added.

He also said that initiative on setting up of this type of public movement would be made tentatively early next week.

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