Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili meets representatives of parliamentary factions

Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili has held a special meeting with representatives of parliamentary factions at the State Chancellery. He praised the parliamentary majority and opposition for staking out a united position on issues of fundamental importance to Georgia's future and briefed the MPs on his initiative for a new administrative unit to be established in South Ossetia.

[Saakashvili, addressing the meeting] First of all, I would like to say that I am very pleased that this multi-partisan group has been created.

Of course there are many differences between us politically. There are a number of issues on which we have significantly different views, but there are some central issues concerning Georgia's future on which all more-or-less significant political forces are absolutely united.

I want to welcome the parliament's recent resolution on supporting Georgia's accession to NATO.

This resolution came as a disappointment for many people, because it was a demonstration of the fact that, no matter how sharply Georgian political forces may oppose each other, they are in fact Georgian political forces and not some groups who dance to someone else's tune. Therefore, that was a very important signal to the whole world.

I would be very interested to hear your opinions about our draft law on the possibility of creating provisional administrative units. We have not gathered in order to make formal decisions, but your opinion, even if it does not fully agree with our position, is very important to us.

I think that a script was written for Georgia which we were expected to follow, but we will not follow that road. We are pro-active ourselves and have our own rules of the game.

I will not hide from you the fact that we need this bill specifically for the Tskhinvali region. We are discussing the issue of the Tskhinvali region in this case.

I think that as regards this conflict all sides have made mistakes in the past. We have also made legislative mistakes, but these mistakes can always be corrected. There is a good movement [apparent reference to the political group led by the Tbilisi-backed South Ossetian leader Dmitriy Sanakoyev] and there is a good foundation for moving towards peace between ethnic Georgians, ethnic Ossetians, various groups and various settlements. This opportunity has now clearly emerged.

They are staging provocations and armed attacks against us and carrying out unlawful acts. We will counter unlawful acts with laws, we will counter violence with peace initiatives, and we will counter the logic of Georgia's dismemberment they are trying to impose on us with energetic steps to ensure that the integration of various ethnic groups takes place in a way that provides maximum protection for their interests, they feel well protected and respected in Georgia, and full account is taken of their interests. To do that, we need this process, in which we should all get involved.

That is the essence of the draft law we have presented. I also know that there has been a lot of reaction to it both in Georgia and abroad. This is further confirmation that, in principle, we are on the right path.

Includes BBC Monitoring material

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