TBILISI (AFP) — A top US diplomat on Thursday said Washington has urged both Georgian authorities and opposition forces to avoid violence as fears of unrest grow ahead of anti-government protests next month.
US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Matthew Bryza held unexpected talks with officials and opposition leaders here late Wednesday, returning to Tbilisi for the second time in less than two weeks.
His visit came after 10 opposition supporters were arrested on weapons charges this week and police released video recordings they say show plans to use violence during the protests.
The arrests and a grenade attack on a police car this month have raised fears that the protests, due to start on April 9, could spark civil unrest similar to the violence and civil war that wracked Georgia in the 1990s.
Burjanadze, who has accused the government of launching a smear campaign to discredit her, told Rustavi-2 television that she had informed Bryza of the recent developments involving her supporters.
"I want the reality of everything that is happening to be clear," she said.
Alasania said he had told Bryza that while the opposition welcomed US efforts to support democracy in Georgia, Washington should not be directly involved in resolving domestic political conflicts.
"Of course serious American support for the development of democracy in Georgia is necessary, but I explained that it is up to Georgians, through dialogue between the opposition and the government, to find a way out of this," he told Rustavi-2.
In a separate report, Burjanadze..
....accuses police of planting weapons at supporters' homes.
On Wednesday, officials released more recordings of alleged coup plans by opposition members. One recording purportedly shows a member of Burdzhanadze's party, Roina Bukhrashvili, as saying that a civil war would be in the party's interests.
Burdzhanadze said that "if it's confirmed that members of the party obtained weapons, they should be harshly punished. However, if this is a provocation by authorities, then the authorities should not go unpunished."
If only the media had explored this side of his charcter when the trouble in South Ossetia blew up last year. Too much to ask I guess.
Thursday, March 26, 2009