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Saakashvili Says West Should Pressure Russia


http://gdb.rferl.org/0F920581-D44D-4AB3-AEF0-F2BADBF95BCA_w203.jpg --> http://gdb.rferl.org/0F920581-D44D-4AB3-AEF0-F2BADBF95BCA_mw800_mh600.jpg 14 July 2004 -- Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili says Western countries should continue to put pressure on Russia to support his effort to integrate the pro-Russian separatist region of South Ossetia.

While Georgian and Russian officials held talks in Moscow on South Ossetia, Saakashvili said in London today that they must make Russia realize, in his words, "we will not be pushed around."

"I do believe that some elements in Moscow are carrying out some aggressive plans and not only plans but carrying out aggressive actions. And these are the people who have not got rid of their imperial ambitions," he said.

Saakashvili predicted that within six months the people in South Ossetia will be fully integrated into Georgia.

But at the second day of talks in Moscow, Russian First Deputy Foreign Minister Valerii Loshchinin said there are a number of problems related to South Ossetia. He said if they are not resolved at the talks "one cannot rule out the possibility of the conflict escalating."

South Ossetia has had de facto independence from Georgia since 1992. But there has been a recent increase in tension, with gunfire being traded, border blockades and the detention of Georgian policemen by South Ossetian forces.

(AP/Reuters)
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