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Georgia Says It's Ready To Negotiate With Abkhazia


31 January 2005 -- Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili says he is ready to resume talks with the separatist republic of Abkhazia.

Saakashvili said in a statement today that Georgia has always offered Abkhazia expanded autonomy and is ready to give guarantees on the rights of residents of all nationalities living in Abkhazia.

Located on Russia's southern flank, Abkhazia won its de facto independence from Georgia in a war shortly after the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991.

Saakashvili, who rode to power on a wave of popular protests a little over a year ago, has pledged to reunite Georgia with Abkhazia and South Ossetia, another separatist region, before the end of his presidency.

(AFP)
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