Georgian opposition meeting with foreign ambassadors

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The united Georgian opposition is meeting with foreign ambassadors accredited in the country in an effort to secure support for their demands, a Republican Party leader said.
TBILISI, November 3 (RIA Novosti) - The united Georgian opposition is meeting with foreign ambassadors accredited in the country in an effort to secure support for their demands, a Republican Party leader said.

Tina Khidasheli declined to say where the talks were held, but added the opposition wanted foreign diplomats to "influence the authorities" to make them discuss the opposition's demands to hold parliamentary elections in April 2008 free political prisoners, whose existence the government denies.

Parliamentary Speaker Nino Burdzhanadze met with opposition representatives on the first day of massive protests last night but said the date of the elections could not be moved. She said the authorities were ready to discuss other demands, including a greater role for the opposition and democratic changes to electoral procedures.

A senior U.S. diplomat and the chief of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) flew to Tbilisi Thursday to meet with opposition leaders ahead of the rally. A leader of the opposition bloc, Georgy Khaindrava, said the opposition had assured the Western officials of their adherence to European and NATO integration.

The visit by U.S. Under Secretary of State for Europe and Eurasia Daniel Fried came after the State Department backed a decision Monday by Georgian businessman Badri Patarkatsishvili to finance the opposition, saying it would spur democracy in the country.

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