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Georgia leader denies plans to use force against breakaway regions

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TBILISI, October 21 (RIA Novosti) - Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili said Saturday he had no intention to use military force to restore central government control over the post-Soviet nation's two breakaway provinces.

Saakashvili spoke a day after Russian President Vladimir Putin told an EU gathering in Finland that Georgia was "preparing bloodshed" in its separatist Abkhazia and South Ossetia regions.

The U.S.-educated Georgian leader said he was determined to bring the truth about his country to the international community, apparently implying that Putin's comments misrepresented reality.

Abkhazia and South Ossetia, which broke away from Georgia following armed conflicts in the early 1990s, have been in the center of the South Caucasus state's confrontation with Russia.

Saakashvili, swept into power on the back of a "color" revolution in 2003, pledged to bring the self-proclaimed republics back into the fold. He has repeatedly accused Russia, whose peacekeeping units in Abkhazia and South Ossetia help monitor ceasefire agreements with Tbilisi, of siding with the separatists, and called for the withdrawal of the troops.

The already strained relations between the two post-Soviet neighbors reached boiling point in September after Georgia briefly arrested four Russian army officers on suspicion of espionage. Russia responded by cutting transportation and postal links with the 4.5-million nation and expelling hundreds of Georgian migrants.

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