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Georgia Touts Russian Assurances On S. Ossetia

Georgian President Saakashvili (file photo) 5 July 2004 -- Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili said yesterday that he received assurances in talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin that Moscow will not interfere in the turbulent Georgian region of South Ossetia.

Saakashvili told the AFP news agency that Russia wants a peaceful resolution in South Ossetia. He was speaking after weekend talks with Putin in Moscow.

South Ossetia has been de facto independent since a 1992 truce ended a separatist conflict against Georgian forces.

Saakashvili, elected earlier this year, has made reuniting his fractured country a policy priority.

A tense standoff in the Adjar Autonomous Republic was resolved in early May with the resignation of Adjar leader Aslan Abashidze.