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Georgian Officials on Russian Lawmakers’ Decision on Abkhazia, S.Ossetia
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 25 Aug.'08 / 18:52

Georgian PM Lado Gurgenidze downplayed the decision of both chambers of the Russian parliament calling for the recognition of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, while State Minister Temur Iakobashvili said it was an attempt “to legalize ethnic cleansing.”

“With this move Russia will only isolate itself and remain alone and I do not think the international community, maybe except for a few notorious states, will follow Russia; so I do not think this is an issue worth any special comment,” PM Gurgenidze said.

“We think this is an attempt to legalize the results of ethnic cleansing; of course this is totally unacceptable and we will use all international levers at our disposal not to let it happen,” Temur Iakobashvili, the Georgian state minister for reintegration, said.

Meanwhile, Reuters reported, quoting German Chancellor Angela Merkel as saying in Stockholm on August 25: “I expect that the Russian president won't sign the resolution.”

Merkel added that signing the resolution would only add tension to an already critical situation, according to Reuters.

The comments by the two Georgian cabinet members were made in the town of Gori, where President Saakashvili chaired a session of the government. President Saakashvili told the cabinet members that an 18-month reconstruction program would be launched, involving compensation for the victims and rebuilding damaged and destroyed houses in the conflict-affected areas under Georgian control.

“The next three months are the most critical,” Saakashvili said. “The following 15 months will be a period of revival.”

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