Georgia won't restore ties with Russia

Oct. 26, 2012 at 4:57 PM

TBILISI, Georgia, Oct. 26 (UPI) -- The foreign minister of Georgia said her country won't restore diplomatic relations with Russia while Georgian territory remains "occupied."

"Twenty percent of Georgia's territory is occupied by Russia and Russia has opened two embassies, in Sukhumi and Tskhinvali, and while that situation remains, diplomatic relations will not be restored," Maya Pandzhikidze said Friday.

Her comments came a day after Prime Minister-designate Bidzina Ivanishvili said restoration of national unity will be a government priority, the Russian news agency RIA Novosti reported Friday.

Relations between Georgia and Russia have been strained since Georgian independence in 1991, the Georgian government accusing Moscow of encouraging separatist movements in South Ossetia and Abkhazia, the Russians saying the Georgian government is ignoring the aspirations of minorities in the regions, the news agency said.

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