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    STRASBOURG, JANUARY 28. /RIA NOVOSTI / -- Despite problems in bilateral relations, both Russia and Georgia are interested in rapprochement, Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili has said.

    Taking the floor at a session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe in Strasbourg, he re-voiced his viewpoint that Russia has made many mistakes in its Georgian policy since the break-up of the USSR.

    "Russia has played a negative role in Georgia, especially at the dawn of independence", Saakashvili said.

    "What happened in Abkhazia was not a separatist war but a Russian-Georgian war. It was a punishment for Georgia for its striving to independence. Now the Russian leadership understands how erroneous it was to create such a situation in the region", said the Georgian president.

    As regards the use-of-force methods to resolve the problems of Abkhazia and Ossetia, Saakashvili said: "Not one Georgian will ever resign himself to Georgia's having lost control of Abkhazia and Ossetia".

    "We are very much inclined to the restoration of relations with Russia. I have extended a hand of friendship to Russia and hope that Mr.Putin will shake it during my visit to Moscow", said the Georgian president. His Moscow visit is scheduled for February.

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