Russia denies killing Georgia's premier

Feb. 3, 2005 at 9:58 AM
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MOSCOW, Feb. 3 (UPI) -- Russia's foreign minister Thursday strongly denied a claim his country was behind the death of Georgia's prime minister.

Prime Minister Zurab Zhvania died Thursday and a member of Georgia's parliament claimed Russia was involved, Interfax reported.

"Let us leave politically motivated conclusions on the conscience of those who are making them," Lavrov told a news conference in response to a Georgian official's claim that a terrorist attack in Gori, Georgia, Tuesday and Zhvania's death Thursday were related and Moscow was behind them.

Such conclusions "do not help find the truth and do not promote the development of Russian-Georgian relations," Interfax quoted Lavrov as saying. "Russia is truly interested in developing relations with Georgia," he said.

Relations between Russia and Georgia, its fellow former Soviet republic in the Caucasus east of the Black Sea, have deteriorated sharply since President Mikhail Saakashvili came to power in Georgia's "Revolution of Roses" in November 2003.

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