Georgia: Opposition meets with Assistant US Deputy Secretary of State
Opposition leaders in Georgia held discussions on November 18 with Assistant US Secretary of State Philip Reeker, who arrived with Mike Pompeo, but did not continue on with him to Israel, but stayed in Georgia for another day.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo spent one day in Tbilisi, and was criticized for meeting with top Georgian leaders and non-governmental organizations, but not the opposition.
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The united opposition of Georgia has been holding street protests since the parliamentary elections on October 31. All opposition forces have called the elections fraudulent, resigned their seats in parliament and are demanding new elections. The authorities insist that the elections were held in a free and fair environment.
Opposition leaders did not give details of their discussions with Philip Reeker, but some of them gave short comments.
Zurab Japaridze, leader of the Girchi party:
“We were offered to continue the struggle using political institutions. But we tried to explain that they are not in Georgia”.
Giorgi Vashadze, leader of the Agmashenebeli Strategy party:
“Our American partners urge us to come to terms with the ruling party.
We are ready for a third round of negotiations with the authorities, the main thing is to hear from them an adequate answer, the key to resolving the problem is in their hands.”
Grigol Vashadze, chairman of the leading opposition party United National Movement:
“I highly appreciate this meeting, the fact that Reeker stayed in Georgia for [its] sake.
This indicates that the US understands the depth of the political crisis in Georgia and knows that the country needs the help of its strategic allies.”
One of the leaders of the Lelo party Badri Japaridze:
“We had an open and good conversation.
We have explained why we consider these elections to be rigged. And we listened to Reeker’s opinion on how the US intends to help mitigate this crisis.”