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Georgia's PM says Democracy Coming to Former Soviet Republics


Georgia's prime minister says his country is forging ahead with political and economic reforms, but the United States is calling for an acceleration of democratization in the former soviet republic. Zurab Noghaideli addressed an executive meeting of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe.

Zurab Noghaideli told reporters that since the so-called Rose Revolution of 2004, Georgia has gone a long way in combating corruption and has introduced reforms that have been painful.

The Prime Minister said his country was firmly committed to European democracy and added this would come to countries like Belarus too.

"I would think that the democratic development in Belarus is not dependent on anybody outside. For instance Georgians have been presented as the importers of revolution, but they just suddenly did the rights thing, you cant import democracy and revolution from abroad," he said. "But democratic development in Belarus is a matter of time."

Belarus refused visas to OSCE election observers nominated by Georgia, and two Georgian journalists are in detention in Minsk.

Prime Minister Noghaideli says elections are not enough on their own and the democratic process underway in Georgia amounts to a second revolution.

"Elections are only one and maybe not even the major part of democratic process and democratic transformation," he added. "This is the necessary precondition, but then you need sustainable and viable institutions in place and that's what we are working on right now."

The prime minister cited progress in judicial reform and efforts to abolish old soviet practices.

Ambassador Julie Finley, head of the U.S. delegation to the OSCE, praised Georgia's progress in education and police reform, but called for an acceleration of the work on judicial reform.

The OSCE has 55 participating states including the United States, Belarus, and the Caucasus and Central Asian countries.