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Georgia Opposition Agrees to Talks


Georgia's opposition leaders have agreed to meet with allies of President Mikheil Saakashvili for talks on resolving the country's nearly month-long political stalemate.

Former Georgian Foreign Minister Salome Zurabishvili told reporters opposition representatives will meet soon with Parliament Speaker Davit Bakradze to discuss arrangements for direct talks with the president. She gave no details on the timing or substance of the talks. The opposition previously has insisted that any discussions focus only on procedures for Mr. Saakashvili's resignation.

Anti-government demonstrators have been holding daily protests in Tbilisi for nearly a month seeking to force President Saakashvili from office.

The president's critics have denounced him for what they call "undemocratic behavior" and his handling of a brief war with Russia in August 2008 over the pro-Russian breakaway region of South Ossetia.

Georgian authorities Thursday released three opposition activists, whose detention a day earlier sparked clashes between police and protesters.

Police used batons to beat back stick-wielding protesters who tried to enter a police compound late Wednesday where the activists were held after a scuffle with a pro-government TV journalist.

The Czech ambassador to Georgia, Ivan Jestrab, whose country holds the rotating European Union presidency, called the attack on the police station "a criminal act."


Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.

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