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Astana, 16 September 2004 -- Russian President Vladimir Putin held a brief meeting with Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili on the sidelines of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) summit.

After the summit in Astana today, Putin said he is certain that economic and military pressure will not resolve the situation in Abkhazia, a separatist region in Georgia.

Saakashvili later accused Moscow of maintaining double-standards, saying Moscow's ties with two breakaway regions in Georgia contradicts Putin's tough policies on separatism in Russia.

"We have condemned firmly not only what happened in Beslan but any acts of terror, any issues linked with separatism in Russia. And of course we expect the same standard, the same approach from Russia. And I believe there is potential for serious progress on this issue," he said.

Saakashvili also said he is glad the CIS summit confirmed a previous decision to suspend contacts with Abkhazia's leadership.

(ITAR-TASS, AFP, RFE/RL)
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