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A face-to-face conversation between the citizen and the president2009-06-11 16:20
The two-month anniversary of the Tbilisian confrontation was eventually marked by the meeting of the two long-standing political foes, President of Georgia Mikhail Saakashvili and the non-party oppositional leader Levan Gachechiladze. The opposition had been longing for the meeting that took place yesterday at 9 p.m.: some people were putting hope on it, others estimated it as a possible pretext for a split or regarded it as another fruitless chat. Who turned out to be right? What is going to happen to Georgia? These questions were put by GeorgiaTimes to the Georgian politicians and experts.
Yesterday's meeting of Mikhail Saakashvili and Levan Gachechiladze lasted for more than three hours. It is interesting to mention that Gachechiladze must be the only oppositionist who did not occupy any major posts after the Rose Revolution. In November 2007, he was the single delegate of the United opposition at the special presidential elections held on January 5, 2008. He was overrun by Saakashvili who gained 52 percent of votes. Now the opposition asserts that the elections were fixed.
What did the long-standing foes talk about? They have made a preliminary agreement on reviewing the cases of those detained on various charge during the protest actions. This was reported by Levan Gachechiladze after the meeting that was concluded almost at midnight. It is not yet clear whom Mikhail Nikolaevitch promised to release. According to the opposition and the human rights organizations, there are currently 28 people kept prisoners on political grounds.
Gachechiladze himself made the following comments: "Mikhail Saakashvili and those who press for his resignation have a completely different idea of truth and justice. Despite that, we have touched upon the issues relating to the detainees involved in the protest actions. In my view, they will soon return to their families". Levan Gachechiladze also said he was going to submit the list of those people to the president.
This is probably the only tangible outcome of the meeting, for the opponents did not manage to find any other areas of common interest. They failed to agree upon the local elections either. The opposition turned out to be dissatisfied with the layout suggested by the president. "Again, we spoke about the local elections. I told him that the mayoral elections will not clear the atmosphere, as well as the fact whether Levan Gachechiladze is going to quit politics or not. The problem does not lie within one person or several people. It lies in the people putting no trust in him", - the oppositionist told the journalists who had been waiting for him in Shavnabada.
After the meeting, Gachechiladze stated that the president "is not ready for any profound changes" and so the oppositional actions will be continued. "He has a totally different idea of the situation in the country... Our confrontation is going to grow more severe and radical". - Gachechiladze said in his on-air interview to Maestro TV Channel. He also left open the possibility that his meeting with the president might soon become the subject of criticism on the part of the society, though, according to him, the meeting was aimed "at asserting the country's interests".