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Georgian President Says Separatist Regions Will Return

11 September 2005 (RFE/RL) -- Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili today reiterated that he intends to peacefully bring the separatist republics of Abkhazia and South Ossetia back into Tbilisi's fold.

Addressing a youth forum in the Georgian capital, Saakashvili said that the River Psou that separates Abkhazia from Russia, and the Rokki tunnel that connects South Ossetia with Russia mark the natural borders of Georgia.

Saakashvili told the crowd that his government will "peacefully and patiently restore Georgia in the borders left by our ancestors."

Abkhazia and South Ossetia seceded from Georgia in the late 1980s-early 1990s, triggering wars that drove tens of thousands of ethnic Georgians from their homes.

Saakashvili on 9 September accused Russia of helping both separatist republics build up their military potentials.

(Novosti-Gruziya/Rustavi 2/Imedi TV)