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    TBILISI HOPES FOR SOONEST IMPROVEMENT OF RUSSO-GEORGIAN RELATIONS

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    MOSCOW, March 3, 2004. (RIA Novosti) - By the end of the current year Russia and Georgia can be considered as friendly states, Georgian State Minister on settlement of conflicts Goga Khaindrava disclosed this at the press-conference in RIA Novosti on Wednesday.

    Russia and Georgia plan to sign a framework agreement by the fall of this year, Mr. Khaindrava said.

    "The agreement has been 99% elaborated. According to the document, Georgia will never place foreign military bases on its territory. The issue concerning the withdrawal of the Russian military bases is not of the prior importance and will not obstruct our joint efforts," Georgian Ambassador to Russia Kote Kumulariya stressed at the press-conference.

    "We believe that Georgia and Russia should live like friends and partners," Mr. Khaindrava stated.

    "There are no problems, which cannot be settled, between our countries. The existing problems are insignificant," he noted.

    Recently, the steps, aimed at the resolution of the existing problems in the bilateral relations, have been outlined and these steps have to be taken by the end of the current year, the State Minister said.

    "The breakthrough in the bilateral relations is obvious," Khaindrava believes.

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