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Former Georgian Minister To Create Pro-Russian Party

Former Georgian State Security Minister Valery Khaburdzania has said he intends to set up a new political party with a "pro-Russian" agenda.

Khaburdzania said on March 10 that Georgia has pro-Western and pro-American parties, so it should also have a pro-Russian one.

He emphasized that his party would not advance Russian interests but would seek out areas in which the interests of both countries coincide.

He said the point is to develop "real competition" between pro-Russian and pro-Western political forces.

Khaburdzania has been living in Moscow since 2004.

He said he will return permanently to Tbilisi in the coming months.

Russia and Georgia fought a brief war in August 2008, after which Moscow recognized as independent the breakaway Georgian regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia.

Moscow has since sought to isolate Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili, whose political allies lost bruising national elections in October, handing the prime minister's seat to a Georgian billionaire who made much of his fortune in Russia, Bidzina Ivanishvili.

Based on reporting by Interfax and ITAR-TASS