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Georgian Leader Seeks Deal With Separatist Regions

President Saakashvili (file photo) 26 May 2004 -- Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili today offered Abkhazia and South Ossetia special status and proposed to negotiate over conditions to restore central control over the two separatist regions of Georgia.

Saakashvili made the comments in a speech to a military parade to mark the day of Georgia's independence.

He has vowed to win back control over the two breakaway regions since taking over as president in January.

Saakashvili forced out the leader of Adjara, who had been defying Tbilisi's authority in the autonomous region for more than a decade, earlier this month.