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Georgian PM Says Tbilisi Will Not Restore Russia Ties Soon

Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili
Georgia's new Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili says he will not restore diplomatic ties with Russia until Moscow reverses its decision to recognize the independence of two Georgian breakaway regions.

Moscow has deployed thousands of troops in Georgia's breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia since recognizing them as independent after the Georgia-Russia war in 2008.

Ivanishvili told a news conference in Tbilisi that, "as far diplomatic [relations] are concerned, it can't happen quickly."

Ivanishvili said, however, that restoring trade and cultural links with Russia was a "more realistic" goal.

His Georgian Dream coalition defeated President Mikheil Saakashvili's party in a parliamentary election a month ago.

Ivanishvili has repeatedly blamed Saakashvili for provoking the conflict.

Based on reporting by AFP and ITAR-TASS