“Some important progress was made on several aspects of President Michel’s six-point plan. However, on other issues, less progress was made,” noted Christian Danielsson in the early minutes of March 19, after a 10-hour-long meeting with the ruling Georgian Dream party and opposition leaders.
Danielsson, European Council President Charles Michel’s special envoy to mediate Georgia crisis talks, said he will now leave for Brussels on March 19 morning to report the state of progress to President Michel.
“Ultimately, the responsibility to find solution to this political crisis is that of Georgia’s political leaders. This is essential for the country’s democratic consolidation and its European aspirations,” underscored Mr. Danielsson.
Akaki Minashvili of the United National Movement, the largest opposition party, said “the Georgian Dream once again closed the door to Europe,” noting that the ruling party rejected the release of alleged political prisoners and the snap elections, two of the opposition’s key demands.
“The West has seen once again, who it deals with [the Georgian Dream],” said Giorgi Vashadze, leader of opposition Strategy Aghmashenebeli after the round of talks. “The opposition was inclined to reaching the deal and acted with a constructive attitude, but the attitude the Georgian Dream has shown could not lead to the agreement,” he said.
Khatuna Samnidze, leader of the Republican Party, part of the United National Movement-led electoral bloc, also blamed the ruling party for yet another fruitless round of talks, noting that the Georgian Dream is not ready to bear its share of responsibility.
On his part, Irakli Kobakhidze, the Georgian Dream chairperson, said wrecking the talks was the opposition’s end goal in itself. He accused the opposition of talking the language of “ultimatums” contradicting the rule of law – referring to the release of alleged political prisoners.
“When facing anti-state ultimatums, naturally, politicians in charge of the country need to give [proper] responses to these ultimatums. Of course, we acted this way” and rejected these demands of snap elections and alleged political prisoners, he stated.
MP Kobakhidze then slammed “most of” the negotiating opposition leaders for being “directed from Kyiv by Mikheil Saakashvili.”
Another GD negotiator, Parliament Speaker Archil Talakvadze said the ruling party was ready to reach a deal at the lengthy round but the opposition prioritized issues that are in the interests of “several of their parties,” instead of the country and its people.
European Council President Charles Michel’s special envoy Christian Danielsson arrived in Tbilisi on March 12 for a three-day visit but decided to extend his trip late on March 14, as “some more time” was needed for the sides to reach a consensus.
President Michel initiated the mediation to resolve the deadlock after the detention of opposition leader Nika Melia only a few hours after PM Garibashvili’s approval as Prime Minister. But the crisis began in November 2020 as the major opposition parties continue refusal to enter the new Parliament, citing “fraudulent” October 2020 general elections.
- March 17: EU Mediation, Day 6: Georgian Dream, Opposition Hold Meeting
- March 14: EU Mediator Extends Tbilisi Visit
- March 14: EU Mediation: Danielsson Holds Follow-Up Meetings
- March 13: EU Mediation: GD, Opposition Talk Expectations
- March 12: EU Mediation: Danielsson Meets Georgian CSOs
- March 12: EU Mediation: Danielsson Meets Georgian Leaders