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Saakashvili: Russia Threatens to Recognize Abkhazia, S.Ossetia
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 26 Sep.'06 / 23:45

Russian authorities warned Tbilisi that Moscow will recognize breakaway Abkhazia and South Ossetia as soon as Kosovo becomes internationally recognized, President Saakashvili said on September 26.

“We face serious risks. You know that the process regarding Kosovo [being recognized as independent] is underway. There has been a direct threat [from Moscow] that they [the Russian authorities] will be ready to recognize separatist regions’ independence in parallel to the recognition of Kosovo,” Saakashvili told a group of journalists.

He said that all attempts to infringe on Georgia’s territorial integrity will fail.

“We will not tolerate this under any condition,” he added.

But he also said that he is ready to hold a constructive dialogue with the Russian leadership.

Saakashvili said that on September 27 secessionist authorities in Abkhazia will celebrate the 13th anniversary of the retreat of Georgian troops from Sokhumi.

“13 years ago local gangs, Chechen terrorists, Russian post-Soviet special purpose units forced the Georgian government forces and the Georgian population from there [Sokhumi],” Saakashvili said.

“But 13 turned into a bad sign for the separatists, things did not go as well as they expected… There was a successful operation in Kodori,” the President stated, referring to the restoration of total control over the upper Kodori Gorge in breakaway Abkhazia.

He added that the term “Kodori Gorge” should be forgotten.

“Zemo [upper] Abkhazia will be the official name of the area,” Saakashvili said.

The Abkhaz government-in-exile, which is currently based in Tbilisi, is reportedly set to move to upper Kodori Gorge on September 27.

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