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Russian, Georgian Presidents Meet to Mend Soured Ties
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Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Georgian counterpart Mikhail Saakashvili met late Tuesday in efforts to mend soured bilateral ties, but disputes remained unsolved.

This was the first one-to-one meeting between the two since Saakashvili came to power in 2004, and it lasted about two hours and concluded early Wednesday.

The meeting in St. Petersburg, called by Saakashvili, was "helpful," Putin told reporters after their discussion on the sidelines of an economic summit.

"We both think that it is impossible to call our relations in the political sphere normal and our meeting was intended to seek a path for resolution," he said.

Meanwhile, Saakashvili said most of the outstanding disputes between the two countries remained unresolved, "but this does not mean that we should not try to resolve them."

Relations between Russia and Georgia have deteriorated in recent months amid tensions over Georgia's breakaway regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia and a Russian ban on imports of Georgian wines and spirits.

(Xinhua News Agency June 14, 2006)


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