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Burjanadze Complains over Clinton Meeting with only 'So Called Opposition'
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 6 Jul.'10 / 03:16

Nino Burjanadze, ex-parliamentary speaker and leader of Democratic Movement-United Georgia party, complained that U.S. Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, held a separate meeting with only two opposition leaders and not inviting others and also criticized her for, as she put it, "shying away from" speaking strongly against problems with democracy in Georgia.

After meeting with President Saakashvili, the Secretary of State, who paid a six-hour visit to Tbilisi on July 5, met with Irakli Alasania, leader of Our Georgia-Free Democrats and MP Giorgi Targamadze, leader of Christian-Democratic Movement and of the parliamentary minority group.

Speaking with Maestro TV's program, Straightforward Conversation, late on July 5, Burjanadze referred to Alasania and Targamadze as "so called opposition" and described the format of the meeting as "strange."

"Those figures, which are comfortable opposition for the authorities, have been selected for this meeting; those opposition [representatives] who do not create problems to the authorities," Burjanadze said.

"This so called opposition was speaking on behalf of the Georgian people and the opposition," she continued. "This so called opposition says that we should wait for 2012 [parliamentary elections] and that the U.S. assistance will come to help improve electoral system and voter lists... This opposition is either in direct deal with the authorities, or they totally lack experience."

"So called opposition", or "a ruling party's satellite" was usually referred to Christian-Democratic Movement. Some opposition figures, however, also started to level similar allegations to Alasania, a runner up in the Tbilisi mayoral race, after the May 30 local elections. 

Burjanadze, whose party refused to run in the local elections and which calls for the early parliamentary and presidential elections, was instead invited to participate in a town hall meeting of the Secretary of State with Georgian women leaders. The meeting included more than hundred of women from advocacy, media groups and various opposition parties, as well as lawmakers and senior officials from the government.

Although a representative of Burjanadze's party attended the meeting, ex-parliamentary speaker herself did not participate. She said: "no serious political discussions are held at the meetings like this."

"I am afraid this visit will change nothing special in terms of internal political situation," Burjanadze said and added that because of not having opportunity to meet with other opposition representatives, Clinton "left the country without getting information about the real situation of democracy in Georgia."

"Those people, with real opposition stance, expected that the Secretary of State would have made more focus on democracy in Georgia. Shying away from speaking about these issues of course will trigger certain skepticism towards America," Burjanadze said.

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