Reuters top ten news stories delivered to your inbox each day.
You are here:
Business & Finance
The Great Debate
Do More With Reuters
Make Reuters My Homepage
Support (Customer Zone)
About Thomson Reuters
Georgia's Saakashvili to meet opposition
Sun May 10, 2009 8:48am EDT
Email | Print |
| Reprints | Single Page
By Margarita Antidze
TBILISI (Reuters) - Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili has invited opposition leaders to direct talks on Monday to try to end a month-long stand-off in the former Soviet republic, government and opposition officials said.
Clashes on Wednesday between police and protesters, a day after a brief, bloodless mutiny at a tank base outside Tbilisi, have fueled fears of wider anti-government unrest in the country, which is hosting NATO military exercises to the consternation of neighboring Russia.
The opposition has been protesting since April 9, blocking roads in the capital and demanding the 41-year-old president resign over his record on democracy and last year's disastrous war with Russia.
"The president is going to meet them tomorrow at 2 p.m. (6:00 a.m. EDT)," a senior government official told Reuters on Sunday on condition of anonymity.
Asked if the opposition had been called to talks with Saakashvili, an opposition leader, who declined to be named, said, "You are right."
Parliament speaker David Bakradze met an opposition delegation on Friday after Georgia's influential Orthodox Church warned the situation was "in danger of exploding." But the opposition said it wanted to see the president in person.
The government is offering talks on reforms to address accusations that Saakashvili has monopolized power, undermined the judiciary and repressed free media since coming to power on the back of the 2003 "Rose Revolution."
The offer is testing opposition unity, splitting an alliance of more than a dozen parties between those who say they are ready to discuss the government proposals, and others who insist they will only talk about Saakashvili's orderly departure.
Some 20,000 rallied outside parliament on Saturday. Turnout was far higher than usual, to mark exactly one month since the campaign began.
Analysts say the opposition lacks the organization, numbers or unity to unseat Saakashvili. But they have managed to force the government to the negotiating table.
Diplomats say the West, which poured billions of dollars into Georgia after the war, is pressing Saakashvili to follow through with promised reforms, or face continued street protests and the risk of unrest.
Protesters clashed with police on Wednesday at a police base in Tbilisi, injuring 28 people. The West is watching closely for a possible repeat of a November 2007 police crackdown against the last peaceful mass demonstrations against Saakashvili.
The president has come under renewed pressure since last year's war, when Russia crushed a Georgian assault on the breakaway pro-Russian region of South Ossetia.
The tank base mutiny, when authorities say commanders refused orders, has raised questions over the loyalty Saakashvili commands within the military. Continued...
View article on single page
New flu kills U.S. man, spreads to Australia, Japan
Reuters Green Business
Reuters introduces a new section dedicated to the emerging green technology sector, featuring five people to watch in the business of green and our global green portfolio. Full Coverage
More International News
Pakistanis flee offensive, Swat valley curfew eased
Sri Lanka, Tamil Tigers trade blame for civilian deaths
NATO war games hinder U.S.-Russia ties: Putin
South Africa's Zuma moves Manuel to powerful new role
Pope urges Jordan Catholics to keep faith amid strife
More International News...
Featured Broker sponsored link
A selection of our best photos from the past 24 hours. Slideshow
Most Popular on Reuters
U.S. forces shoot Iraqi boy dead after grenade attack
KFC cancels free chicken deal after Oprah promo
Obama to hold town hall meeting on credit cards
Lost tourist search turns up seven corpses
Healthy lifestyle triggers genetic changes: study
Washington man with swine flu dies: health dept
U.S. has more than 2,000 new flu cases: CDC
U.S. economic growth seen resuming in third quarter
Fed cut banks' deficits after negotiations: report
Obama does turn as comedian in chief
Most Popular Articles RSS Feed
169m dollar lottery win
Zuma sworn in as SA president
Medvedev marks year leading Russia
Geithner: Economy in the balance
Pakistan's 'eliminate' Taliban plan
New strain of flu in Japan and Oz
NASA's last mission to Hubble
Pakistan braced for refugee crisis
Obama walks tightrope on jobs
Chancellor Merkel underwear
Most Popular Videos RSS Feed
The Great Debate
Iran sanctions and wishful thinking
The idea that sanctions will break the Iranian economy so badly that popular discontent will sweep away the leadership without a shot being fired is wishful thinking at its finest. Commentary
Follow Bernd Debusmann on Twitter
The global destination for corporate leaders, deal-makers and innovators
Knowledge to Act
Help and Contact Us |
Advertise With Us |
Interactive TV |
Site Index |
Thomson Reuters Corporate:
Professional Products |
Professional Products Support |
About Thomson Reuters |
Latin America |
United Kingdom |
Thomson Reuters is the world's largest international multimedia news agency, providing investing news, world news, business news, technology news, headline news, small business news, news alerts, personal finance, stock market, and mutual funds information available on Reuters.com, video, mobile, and interactive television platforms. Thomson Reuters journalists are subject to an Editorial Handbook which requires fair presentation and disclosure of relevant interests.
NYSE and AMEX quotes delayed by at least 20 minutes. Nasdaq delayed by at least 15 minutes. For a complete list of exchanges and delays, please click here.