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Russian President Vladimir Putin (seated) and Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili (file photo) (ITAR-TASS)
November 17, 2006 -- Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili says he plans to offer Russian President Vladimir Putin a conciliatory message later this month in an effort to halt the deterioration in Georgia's relations with Russia.
In an interview with the British newspaper "The Financial Times," Saakashvili reportedly made clear his olive branch to Putin would be offered without compromising Georgia's positions on issues ranging from trade to the status of the breakaway Georgian regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.
Saakashvili said Georgia wants to be seen as a small country with its own interests, rather than as part of an international balance of power.
Saakashvili's comments come in advance of a planned meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin at a Commonwealth of Independent States summit to be held at the end of this month in the Belarusian capital, Minsk.