In U.S., Georgian Dream Chair Talks Compromise with Opposition
Georgian Dream Chairperson Irakli Kobakhidze, who is on a working visit to the U.S. since April 12, told media today that the ruling party is ready to “take concrete steps, including in the direction of compromise” with regard to the ongoing political crisis in Georgia.
“We understand the hint [from U.S. officials] that the Georgian Dream is the ruling party and it needs to take concrete steps to resolve issues,” MP Kobakhidze noted, adding that GD is willing to be “absolutely constructive,” when negotiating an agreement with the boycotting opposition, while also safeguarding its principles.
According to Georgian media, the Georgian Dream Chairperson so far met with Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs George Kent, Senate Foreign Relations Committee Ranking Member James Risch, as well as the co-chairs of House Georgia Caucus, Gerald Connolly (D-VA) and Adam Kinzinger (R-IL).
MP Kobakhidze also said with U.S. officials he discussed the October 31 parliamentary elections, as well as “criminal cases,” alluding to the controversial detention of Nika Melia, the top opposition leader, and imprisonment of Giorgi Rurua, shareholder of opposition-leaning Mtavari Arkhi TV. Both men are considered by the opposition to be political prisoners, claim denied by the Georgian Dream. Along with snap parliamentary elections, the issue of their release is a major impediment for the GD Government and the opposition to reach the compromise to end crisis.
The Georgian Dream Chairperson also said he discussed Russia’s attempts to expand its influence, and recent developments in Ukraine, stressing that the latter two are “concerning.”
The Georgian Dream’s International Secretary, Kakha Kuchava, who is accompanying MP Kobakhidze during the working visit, also made press remarks, noting that U.S. officials “would like to see the negotiations come to an end and see the opposition in Parliament.”
The Georgian Dream Chairperson is expected to depart for Brussels upon concluding his U.S. working visit.
Opposition Leaders React
Reacting to MP Kobakhidze’s statements over compromise, Salome Samadashvili of the United National Movement, the largest opposition party, said the U.S. officials “openly told” MP Kobakhidze what steps they expect from the ruling party to defuse crisis. Samadashvili noted she is waiting for the GD to take specific steps indicating the ruling party’s willingness to reach an agreement with the opposition.
“So far I have no reason to [believe] that anything has changed” in the Georgian Dream’s position, Giga Bokeria, European Georgia party Chairperson noted. He said they expect the future steps, not just statements from the ruling party to start diffusing the political crisis.
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