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    PRESIDENT SAAKASHVILI: GEORGIA NEEDS RUSSIA AS FRIEND AND STRONG ALLY

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    TBILISI, January 25 (RIA Novosti) - Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili expressed the hope for establishing partnerlike and friendly relations with Russia.

    "We are eager to have good relations with Russia," the head of the Georgian state said addressing the nation during the inauguration ceremony.

    "We don't need Russia as an enemy. We need Russia as a friend, as a strong ally. Today I want to extend a hand of friendship to Russia on behalf of the Georgian people. And I want this friendship to develop further," said Mikhail Saakashvili.

    "All Georgian residents, regardless of nationality are the country's heritage. The time has come when the government must hear the voice of the people, protect every citizen," the Georgian president said. "It's time to speak not about what the world can do for us, but about what Georgia can do for the world, which contribution it can make into the world development." Mikhail Saakashvili confirmed his country's line oriented to European integration.

    The president promised that Georgia will "be a stable ally for all friends and neighbors." "Georgia must become a country of international responsibility as a worthy member of the European Community, as a country that, regardless of its geopolitical situation will have good relations with all its neighbors," the head of the Georgian state said.

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