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EU Ministers Urge Ivanishvili To Avoid 'Politics Of Revenge' In Georgia

Georgian Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili is flanked at an October 23 press conference in Tbilisi by Polish Foreign Minister Radoslav Sikorski (left) and Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt.
Two European Union ministers have urged Georgian Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili to respect the rule of law and avoid the "politics of revenge."

Polish Foreign Minister Radek Sikorski and Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt visited Tbilisi on October 23, the last stop on a tour of Eastern Partnership countries ahead of a key summit in Vilnius in late November.

Sikorski told a news conference in Tbilisi that "politically motivated justice" has no place in a modern Georgia.

"The best that Georgia can do to get to signing and then the implementation of the [EU] Association Agreement is to continue to modernize and to avoid both the substance and even the appearance of politically motivated justice," Sikorski said.

A number of allies and associates of Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili have been arrested and charged with wrongdoing after Saakashvili's United National Movement lost October 2012 parliamentary elections to Ivanishvili's Georgian Dream coalition.

After talks with the EU ministers, Ivanishvili said there should be "less revenge and aggression and more forgiveness and reconciliation."

On October 22, Ivanishvili said Saakashvili may face legal prosecution for multiple cases following the October 27 presidential election.

In an interview with Tbilisi-based Imedi TV, Ivanishvili said the death of Prime Minister Zurab Zhvania in 2005 could be among the cases over which Saakashvili may be held responsible.

Ivanishvili declined to directly say if Saakashvili will face criminal proceedings, but he said he does not rule it out.

Zhvania died from what authorities said was carbon-monoxide poisoning due to an inadequately ventilated gas heater.

Zhvania's brother, Giorgi Zhvania, said last week that newly revealed evidence suggests his brother might have been assassinated by Georgia's leadership.

Saakashvili is not allowed to run for office again in the October 27 election, as he is completing his second and last presidential mandate allowed by the Georgian Constitution.

Georgy Margvelashvili, the candidate for Ivanishvili's Georgian Dream coalition and a close confidant of the prime minister, is the front-runner in opinion polls.

Georgia hopes to sign an Association and Free Trade Agreement with the EU at an Eastern Partnership summit in Vilnius on November 28-29.

With reporting by Interfax and