Putin says ready for talks with opposition

Updated: 2011-12-29 07:03


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MOSCOW - Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday that he was ready for dialogues with the opposition, including his challengers in the presidential election.

During his last meeting with reporters this year, Putin said that talks with the oppositions "should be held" but he is still undecided in what form such a dialogue could take place.

"We have never been against any dialogue with the opposition. We are always in the dialogue," Putin said. "But we are against any extremist manifestations which must be terminated with the tough means."

Putin said he did not see participation in televised debates as a proper means, though the opposition has asked for public debate before the presidential elections.

"It has nothing to do with fear. The thing is the opposition is not burdened with any particular work, it always demands the impossible things and then does nothing to fulfill it afterwards," RIA Novosti news agency quoted Putin as saying.

Putin avoided appraising the hard-core opposition politicians, saying that he did not know who of them participated in mass rallies in Moscow on Dec 10 and Dec 24. But he urged them to deliver their common platform to make him understand what they want.

He stressed that unless the opposition leaders formulate a common platform he had no counterpart for the talks.

Putin also said he was not going to depart from his regular job as a head of the government during the election campaign.

He said he did not consider any possibility for President Dmitry Medvedev to step down early to clear the way for him to the Kremlin.

"There is no such necessity," Putin said.

On Dec 31, 1999, then President Boris Yeltsin stepped down a few months before the elections, making Putin, then prime minister, acting president.

Putin faces competition from the leaders of three parliamentary opposition parties in the March election.