TBILISI: Georgia's rival leaders on Sunday said they were ready to cooperate in an attempt to defuse increasing tensions that have resulted in street clashes.
Hundreds of protesters, believed to be supporters of Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili, on Friday attacked allies of President Mikheil Saakashvili in the capital Tbilisi.
The president was supposed to have given an annual address there but the incident forced him to change venues.
The attack on Saakashvili supporters -- including Tbilisi mayor Gigi Ugulava -- capped months of mounting tensions after the president's party lost legislative elections to Ivanishvili's Georgian Dream coalition in October.
Following the violence, the president and the prime minister said they wanted to find a way for their uneasy political partnership to work.
"I am willing to maintain relations with the president and his political team," Ivanishvili said in a statement released Sunday.
"I am ready to make reasonable concessions for the sake of the wellbeing of our homeland," he added.
For his part, Saakashvili responded by offering to start talks to ensure "peaceful cohabitation."
"These talks will start as soon as the prime minister accepts the invitation," he said, adding he was available to begin negotiations as early as Monday.
The two must share power until October 2013, when Saakashvili's second and final term expires.
EU's foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton and the commissioner for neighbourhood policy Stefan Fule have expressed "deep concerns" over Friday's violence.
"The EU considers it of paramount importance for the future of Georgia's democracy that all political actors and institutions in Georgia be accorded due respect, in line with our shared European values," the two said in a statement on Saturday.
The fervently pro-Western president came to power after the Rose Revolution that shook the country in late 2003.
After winning the October polls, Ivanishvili called on him to resign, though he later withdrew the demand as the international community fretted over growing tensions in the post-Soviet country.