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More Georgian Opposition Leaders Visit Russia


People's Party leader Koba Davitashvili (file photo)

People's Party leader Koba Davitashvili (file photo)

TBILISI/MOSCOW -- The leaders of two Georgian opposition parties are in Moscow for talks about the breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia with Russian politicians and Georgian diaspora groups, RFE/RL's Georgian Service reports.

People's Party leader Koba Davitashvili and Conservative Party leader Kakha Kukava left for Moscow on April 22.

Their respective parties are members of the opposition National Council, which unites six Georgian opposition parties and groups.

Davitashvili told InterPressNews that they would meet journalists and Georgian immigrants living in Russia.

They also have planned meetings with Russian politicians and opposition party members on April 26-27 at the State Duma.

"We are travelling to Russia to discuss issues about the country's unification," Davitashvili said. "We will not discuss the country's domestic affairs. We want...to create a Georgian lobby in Russia."

Davitashvili said they had no meetings scheduled with President Dmitry Medvedev or Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.

The two National Council leaders will also attend the Georgian Diaspora Forum, which is organized by the World Congress of Georgian People in St. Petersburg.

Davitashvili said it was important to engage the diaspora, which could play an important role in Georgian-Russian relations.

Other opposition officials have visited Russia since the August 2008 military conflict between Russian and Georgian forces over South Ossetia.

Zurab Noghaideli, the former prime minister and current opposition member, has visited Russia several times in recent months and said he plans to travel there again in May to continue talks on the resumption of regular flights between Georgia and Russia.

In early March, former parliament speaker Nino Burjanadze also went to Moscow, saying that dialogue with Russian officials is crucial for Georgia.

The Georgian government has branded the decision by Davitashvili and Kukava to travel to Russia "unpatriotic."
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