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Georgia Calls Russia's Occupation A Threat To Stability

Georgian Foreign Minister Maia Panjikidze (file photo)
Georgian Foreign Minister Maia Panjikidze says Russia's occupation of her country's breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia is a threat to regional and European stability.

Speaking at an international security conference in Munich on February 2, Panjikidze also said Tbilisi regrets that the OSCE was "forced to discontinue its presence in Georgia" and that her government attaches "great importance to the return of the [OSCE] mission."

She said that Tbilisi is trying, with the assistance of the international community, to convince Moscow that Russia can benefit from peace and stability in its immediate neighborhood.

She spoke on the second day of the three-day Munich Security Conference.

Hours earlier, U.S. Vice President Joseph Biden had cited treatment of the two breakaway Georgian republics -- whose independence Russia recognized following its brief war with Georgia in 2008 -- among the "real" differences between Moscow and Washington.

"The United States will not recognize Abkhazia and South Ossetia as independent states," Biden said. "We will not recognize any nation having a sphere of influence. It will remain America's view that sovereign states have the right to make their own decisions and choose their own alliances."

The meeting groups some 400 top diplomats and defense officials from the EU, the United States, and Russia in the southern German city.