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Moscow doubts Saakashvili ready to negotiate

RIA Novosti

17:55 17/02/2011 MOSCOW, February 17 (RIA Novosti) - Moscow is skeptical that Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili is to rebuild ties with Russia, Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said on Thursday.

Saakashvili said last Friday that "although Russia sees us as an enemy and treats us like an enemy, we are ready for dialogue with it."

"I don't think such statements can be taken seriously if only because they are invariably accompanied by rude anti-Russian rhetoric and undiplomatic attacks against Russia," Lukashevich said.

He dismissed Saakashvili's remarks as "nothing more than yet another PR move" and an attempt to "cast himself as a constructive and peace-loving politician."

Russia and Georgia fought a brief war in August 2008 over the former Georgian republic of South Ossetia, which was attacked by Georgian forces in an attempt to bring it back under central control.

Russia recognized South Ossetia and another former Georgian republic, Abkhazia, as independent states two weeks after the conflict. Georgia considers the two regions part of its sovereign territory.

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