Georgia rejects Kosovo precedent for its separatist regions

Georgia’s President Mikhail Saakashvili on Monday rejected Russian comparisons between Kosovo’s bid for independence and the fate of two breakaway Georgian regions.

“I think these parallels that have been drawn by some people in the international arena are based sometimes on ignorance and sometimes from the fact that they have their own narrow political ends,” he told reporters after talks with EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has warned the West that granting independence to the Serbian province of Kosovo, whose future is the subject of current U.N. talks, would serve as a precedent for other territories with similar cases, including pro-Russian breakaway provinces in the ex-Soviet republics of Georgia and Moldova.

On a visit to European Union headquarters, Saakashvili said separatist groups had thrown out the majority of citizens from South Ossetia and Abkhazia, meaning there was no comparison with the situation in Kosovo, where the Albanian-speaking majority seeks independence from Serbia.

Saakashvili said Georgia would never accept an imposed breakup of the country and expressed confidence that talks with the separatists would solve the problem.

He said any international acceptance of the demands of separatists in Abkhazia and South Ossetia would serve as a dangerous precedent for other regions in Europe, particularly in Spain.

Solana reiterated the bloc’s support for Georgia’s territorial integrity and praised economic and political reforms undertaken by under Saakashvili.

He said the EU was ready to help resolve the problem of the breakaway regions.
Source: Associated Press

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