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Opposition Politicians Meet with Ex-Interior Minister
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 24 Jun.'09 / 12:30

Levan Gachechiladze, an individual opposition politician and Davit Gamkrelidze, leader of New Rights Party, part of Alliance for Georgia, are seen having meeting with Kakha Targamadze, a former interior minister, in a video footage, which was posted on video-sharing site YouTube.

The footage, which was also aired on June 24 by the Georgian television stations, is mainly shaky and low quality, but it clearly shows in several episodes Levan Gachechiladze, Davit Gamkrelidze and Kakha Targamadze having a meeting.

The footage is posted on YouTube by a user with account name ‘ottolimberg2714’ who joined the vide-sharing site on June 23. The footage, according to the text posted with the video on YouTube, was shot in Berlin from June 15 to June 18.

Kakha Targamadze, once an influential interior minister, who was forced to resign in 2001 amid street protests and internal power struggle within the ex-president Shevardnadze’s administration, now lives in Moscow and holds the Russian citizenship.

First unconfirmed reports about this meeting emerged on June 20, when the Georgian daily Rezonansi wrote that there had been speculations that Targamadze met with Gachechiladze during the latter’s recent trip to Europe.

On June 19 senior lawmakers from the ruling party said that Kakha Targamadze and Levan Mamaladze, an influential governor of Kvemo Kartli region during Shevardnadze’s presidency, were among those Georgians who were closely cooperating with the Kremlin with the purpose “to stir destabilization in Georgia.”

Also on June 19 Levan Gachechiladze told a protest rally outside the Parliament that he had traveled to Europe to raise funds for “continuing struggle.”

After the footage was aired on June 24 by the Georgian television stations, Levan Gachechiladze and Davit Gamkrelidze confirmed having the meeting with Targamadze in Berlin.

“We have met with Kakha Targamadze to discuss many issues. We have learnt how Saakashvili was financed in the past and who in the Georgian government has what type of contacts with Russia,” Levan Gachechiladze told journalists.

“We have not discussed funding issues with Kakha Targamadze,” he continued. “I have also met with many other persons in Europe and you won’t get those footage; Vano Merabishvili [the Interior Minister] does not have those footage… I will receive funds only from businessmen… both Georgians and others, but not Russians.”

Gachechiladze said that he would not identify those businessmen out of fear for their safety,

Davit Gamkrelidze said on June 24, that he had received “very interesting information” from Kakha Targamadze.

“Putin [Russia’s PM] is actively working for maintaining of Saakashvili’s regime in Georgia… As a result, Russia-based ethnic Georgian businessmen have been banned from financing the Georgian opposition,” Gamkrelidze said.

“What money? Where do I have money to finance them?” Kakha Targamadze told Rustavi 2 TV in a brief comment on the phone.

Lawmakers from the ruling party have immediately seized the meeting as a confirmation of their allegations that the opposition was financed with “criminal Russian money.”

“When making comments today they [Gachechiladze and Gamkrelidze] looked like a thief caught at the moment of swindling,” MP Giorgi Gabashvili of the ruling party said on June 24. “This is criminal Russian money… That is the criminal links which we have been talking about.”

“Now everything is clear and it has been demonstrated who rules our opponents; that is the same force, which was bombing Georgia several months ago… This amount to treason,” Akaki Minashvili, a lawmaker from the ruling party, said.

Nino Burjanadze, a former parliamentary speaker and leader of Democratic Movement-United Georgia opposition party, said on June 24, that she was not aware about Gachechiladze’s and Gamkrelidze’s meetings in Berlin. Kakha Kukava, co-leader of Conservative Party, also said he was not informed about the meeting. And Eka Beselia of the Movement for United Georgia, a party established by ex-defense minister, Irakli Okruashvili, said her party “has nothing to do with people like Targamadze.”

Levan Gachechiladze said that only he and Gamkrelidze knew about the meeting.

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