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Medvedev, Putin congratulate Abkhazia's Bagapsh on reelection

RIA Novosti

15:48 14/12/2009 MOSCOW, December 14 (RIA Novosti) - Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin congratulated Abkhazia's president, Sergei Bagapsh, on his reelection, the Kremlin said on Monday.

The former Georgian republic on Saturday held its first elections since Moscow recognized its independence in August 2008 after a brief war with Georgia.

According to preliminary official results announced by the Abkhazian Central Election Commission, Sergei Bagapsh won 59.4% of the vote, with his former vice president, Raul Khadzimba, trailing with 15.4%.

"The confidence placed in you by the Abkhaz people shows their support of the course towards the creation of an independent, democratic, law-based state, towards the strengthening of its security and the revival of its economic potential," Medvedev said in a statement.

The president said Russia and Abkhazia have reached a new level in their relations and expressed hope that they would develop further.

Putin congratulated Bagapsh during a telephone conversation.

Bagapsh, 60, has been president of the former Georgian republic since January 2005. In his election campaign he pledged to focus on the development of the Abkhaz economy, improve living standards and raise wages. He also said that in its foreign policy Abkhazia would continue strengthening political and economic ties with Russia.

The Abkhaz president said on Sunday his inauguration would take place on February 12 next year.

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