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Mikhail Saakashvili presented a report at a meeting of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe yesterday
TBILISI, January 29. Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili presented a report at a meeting of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) yesterday. He emphasized that he is hoping for Russian assistance in returning refugees to Abkhazia. This will help to resolve the problem of re-establishing the railway service which runs across Abkhazian territory. Both Russia and Armenia are hopeful that the railway service will be fully re-established. Mr Saakashvili also said that Russia played a negative role in Georgia's formative years as an independent state and this is partly connected with the situation in Abkhazia. 'However, the situation is gradually changing and this is thanks to the current Russian leadership and its new policy,' he added. The Georgian leader reiterated that the two countries share a common history and culture and he is prepared to pursue constructive relations with Russia. Never the less, he stressed that Russia had still not fulfilled its obligation to withdraw its troops from Georgian territory. Speaking about Georgian foreign policy Mr Saakashvili declared that 'Georgia will be neither pro-Russian nor pro-American. It will be pro-Georgian and European.' At the same time he stressed that Georgia would never forget the assistance that the US provided at a difficult time. The president claimed that his priority is to rid Georgia of corruption and destitution and the nation's ambition is to be a member of the European Union. A genuinely celebratory reception awaited Mr Saakashvili and his Dutch wife Sandra Roelofs when they arrived in Strasbourg and PACE members did not hide their satisfaction at the so-called 'rose revolution.' PACE General Secretary Walter Schwimmer presented Mr Saakashvili with a medal that allows him to attend PACE meetings whenever he likes. In his turn Mr Saakashvili presented Mr Schwimmer with a golden rose, a symbol of the Georgian revolution.
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