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Georgian FM Nominee Says Stance On Breakaway Regions Remains Unchanged

Maia Panjikidze
TBILISI -- The woman expected to become Georgia's next foreign minister says the new government's position on Abkhazia and South Ossetia would "remain unchanged."

Maya Panjikidze told a parliamentary committee that the "normalization of ties with Russia is one of our priorities."

But she added that "while Russian embassies are operating" in the two breakaway regions, "the reestablishment of diplomatic ties between Tbilisi and Moscow is impossible."

Panjikidze was named as Georgia's new foreign minister by billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili, whose Georgian Dream coalition won a majority of seats in parliament in elections on October 1.

Russia recognized the independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia after a brief Russian-Georgian war in August 2008.