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Georgian Leader Travels To Moscow For Talks

Moscow, 10 February 2004 (RFE/RL) -- Georgia's new President Mikheil Saakashvili travels to Moscow today for talks with Russian officials.

Few details of his itinerary have been disclosed. The AFP news agency says Saakashvili will sit down for talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin tomorrow.

On the eve of departing for the Russian capital, Saakashvili said his visit offers an opportunity to improve bilateral ties.

Ties between the two countries have been strained since the break-up of the Soviet Union.

Russia has been accused of aiding separatist movements in Georgia. Saakashvili wants Russia to pull out of two military bases it holds on Georgian soil.

Moscow wants guarantees that Chechen separatists won't be allowed to move through Georgia, and it is concerned about an ongoing program under which the U.S. is training Georgian troops.