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    Moscow convinced Georgian people will choose worthy leaders

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    Russia is convinced that the Georgian people will eventually be ruled by what it called more "worthy" leaders, the Russian Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday.

    MOSCOW, August 26 (RIA Novosti) - Russia is convinced that the Georgian people will eventually be ruled by what it called more "worthy" leaders, the Russian Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday.

    President Dmitry Medvedev signed decrees on Tuesday recognizing Georgia's breakaway republics of South Ossetia and Abkhazia as independent states, despite warnings by Western leaders that the move would further strain relations with Western powers who criticized the decision as "regrettable" and "unacceptable."

    "There are no doubts that the Mikheil Saakashvili regime is absolutely out of step with the high standards established by the international community," the ministry said.

    "Russia, which has genuine friendly sentiments and affection for the Georgian people, is convinced that sooner or later it will find worthy leaders capable of really caring about their country and who develop mutually respectful, equal, good relations with all Caucasus nations. Russia will contribute to that in every possible way," it said.

    Russian officials said Georgia lost its right to the two regions after launching a military offensive to retake the rebel region on August 8 in which hundreds of people died and thousands were forced to flee the devastated capital Tskhinvali.

    Georgia called the decision to recognize the republics "an unconcealed annexation" and said ties with Russia would now "stall for a long time, if not for good."

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