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President: Georgia not to use force to retake breakaway regions
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08:49, August 04, 2009

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Georgia will not resort to force to regain the breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, President Mikheil Saakashvili said on Monday.

Excluding a new "war" against Russia, Saakashvili told media that his country pins hope on the support of the international community in resuming its territorial integrity.

The United States holds the same stance with Georgia in this regard, the president said.

During a visit to Georgia late July, U.S. Vice President Joe Biden said the problems in Georgia's conflict zones should be resolved through peaceful means instead of resorting to military force.

Biden reiterated that the United States would not recognize the independence of South Ossetia and Abkhazia.

Tensions in the border area between Georgia and South Ossetia were heightened days before the first anniversary of Georgia's brief war with Russia in August last year.

While Georgia accused South Ossetia of shooting at Georgian villages, South Ossetian authorities said the suburbs of its capital of Tskhinvali were attacked by Georgian mortars. No one was hurt in the shootings.

The Russian Defense Ministry on Saturday warned of using military force to defend South Ossetia "in case of further provocations threatening the republic's population and the Russian military contingent stationed in South Ossetia."

South Ossetia and Abkhazia broke away from Tbilisi's rule during a war in the 1990s that followed the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Russia and Georgia fought a five-day war last summer, when Georgia attacked South Ossetia to retake the renegade region that borders Russia. In response, Moscow sent in troops to drive Georgian forces out of the region.

Russia recognized South Ossetia and Abkhazia as independent states two weeks after the conflict ended.

Source: Xinhua

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