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Georgian President Saakashvili (file photo)
United Nations, 22 September 2004 (RFE/RL) -- Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili told the UN General Assembly late yesterday that he is determined to solve the separatist conflicts with South Ossetia and Abkhazia peacefully and find new ways of cooperating with Russia.
Saakashvili told UN delegates that the unresolved conflicts pose a threat to Georgia and the region. But he said Georgia will peacefully reincorporate the two regions through economic incentives and confidence-building measures.
"Here I want to state in the clearest of terms [that] Georgia is fully committed to solving these conflicts through solely peaceful means," Saakashvili said. "Georgia will not and cannot use violence to solve these conflicts because no democracy can go to war against its own people."
Saakashvili expressed concern at Russia's support for the two regions but said he is convinced the two countries can work together. One new initiative he proposed to build trust was a joint antiterrorism center.
Separately, the Georgian president said his country is committing a force to protect UN personnel in Iraq. Such a deployment would make Georgia the first country to commit to the special UN force.
Saakashvili did not say how many troops Georgia would contribute.