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Georgia Premier Rules Out Russia Visit

Georgian Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili
Georgia’s new prime minister, Bidzina Ivanishvili, has ruled out visiting neighboring Russia but says it’s possible he could meet Russian officials in a third country.

Speaking on November 21, Ivanishvili affirmed that his government would seek to regain control over the Moscow-backed separatist Georgian territories of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

Russia recognized those two regions as independent countries after the brief 2008 Georgia-Russia war.

Ivanishvili also said he hoped to restore exports of wine, mineral water, and other Georgian products to Russia.

Ivanishvili has previously spoken of his desire to improve Georgia’s ties to Russia, where he made much of his vast fortune, while also continuing the Caucasus country’s moves toward the West.

Ivanishvili, whose Georgian Dream coalition won last month’s elections, also denied any political motivation behind the recent arrests of high-ranking government officials.

Based on reporting from Interfax, ITAR-TASS and AP