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U.S. Official Meets Opposition Leaders

Visiting U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, Mathew Bryza, held separate meetings with some opposition leaders on May 9.

Prior to the meeting Levan Gachechiladze, leader of the nine-party opposition coalition, told journalists that the U.S. administration was “unjustly covering up Saakashvili’s bloody government.”  

“There are many issues, which they are covering up – from election issues to media freedom,” Gachechiladze told reporters. “They are lobbying them [the Saakashvili’s administration], like Central [Communist Party] Committee was lobbying its secretaries in Georgia from the Kremlin during the Soviet times.”

Davit Gamkrelidze and Salome Zourabichvili, leaders of the opposition New Rights and Georgia’s Way, respectively – both part of the nine-party bloc, also attended the meeting with the U.S. official.

“The key issue of the meeting will be whether Mathew Bryza again plans to rig our elections together with Saakashvili or not,” Salome Zourabichvili told reporters before the meeting.

Davit Usupashvili, the leader of the Republican Party, also met with the visiting U.S. official.

“I reminded him [Mathew Bryza] about several key issues, which we previously were asking him to draw attention to and saying that otherwise, we would have received very difficult situation in the country,” Usupashvili told reporters after the meeting.

He also said that along with election-related issues, Russian-Georgian tensions were also discussed.

“We have talked about those threats, which have emerged due to Russia’s aggressive policy,” Usupashvili said. “I expressed my regret that Georgia’s failure to receive MAP at the Bucharest summit encouraged Russia and that more work was needed in this direction… We talked about those reasons that prevented Georgia from receiving that level of international support that would have prevented Russia taking such steps. We agreed that free and fair elections on May 21 will guarantee it.”


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