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Ivanishvili Says Georgia Must Take Part In Sochi Winter Olympics

Bidzina Ivanishvili
Bidzina Ivanishvili
Billionaire-turned-politician Bidzina Ivanishvili, who is expected to become Georgia's new head of government, says his country "will for sure take part" in the 22nd Winter Olympics in the Russian city of Sochi in 2014.

Talking to journalists in Tbilisi on October 16, Ivanishvili also said that Georgia, as a country neighboring Russia, is ready to contribute to the games' successful and secure holding.

Russia's Foreign Ministry welcomed the statement, calling it "constructive."

Ivanishvili's Georgian Dream bloc defeated President Mikheil Saakashvili's long-dominant ruling United National Movement party at the polls on October 1.

Saakashvili's party has been insisting that Georgia will not take part in the Sochi 2014 Olympics.

Georgian-Russian relations have been tense since Moscow recognized the independence of Georgia's breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia after the brief Georgian-Russian conflict in August 2008.

Saakashvili nominated Ivanishvili as prime minister on October 17.

Saakashvili's spokeswoman, Manana Mnajgaladze, told journalists that Ivanishvili has 10 days to officially set up Georgia's new cabinet.

Ivanishvili named his cabinet-to-be members on October 16, including former Georgian soccer star Kakha Kaladze, whom he nominated as the country's next energy minister.

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