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    TBILISI, January 5th, 2004 (RIA Novosti correspondent) - Georgian presidential candidate and leader of the National Movement Party Mikhail Saakashvili has said that if he wins the elections, restored relations with Russia would be a priority of his policy.

    "Restored relations with Russia will be my priority. We will not only continue co-operation. We will start a new level of interaction to make our relations closer than before, I am sure," Saakashvili said to the Novosti Georgia new agency.

    In his words, bilateral co-operation will develop in the military sphere as well. "We are well aware of the fact that Russia has its own security interests in our region. For the most part, our interests coincide and complement each other. Georgia will certainly assign priority to military co-operation with Russia too." The latter "is facing bright prospects, including in regional security. Russia has a huge peace-making potential. But many reserves have not been exhausted. The previous paranoid relations prevented us from using co-operation potential with Russia, including in the military sphere. I think Russia and us will be friends in this area," he added.

    According to Saakashvili, his first step would be "intensified fight against corruption, and budget regulation." As for territorial conflicts, Saakashvili said they had to be negotiated.

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