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Georgia's Prime Minister Says Saakashvili Should Be Ignored

Prime Minister of Georgia Bidzina Ivanishvili said Monday the country's outgoing President Mikheil Saakashvili is not qualified to advise the government on Russia, pledging to restore relations between the two countries.

"The problems in bilateral relations are the result of Saakashvili's politics, therefore he cannot tutor us or give his advice on this matter," Ivanishvili said at a press conference, Interfax reported.

The prime minister called the problems in the Tskhinval region on the border with secessionist South Ossetia a "personal 'achievement'" of the president.

Ivanishvili also said Georgia had committed "very many stupidities" under Saakashvili's rule and said relations between the countries deteriorated long before 2008, when a conflict over South Ossetia erupted into a five-day war with Russia.

The prime minister's words stand in stark contrast to those of Saakashvili, who last week called Russia "the last authoritarian empire in the world" during a speech at the UN General Assembly, causing the Russian delegation to walk out in protest.

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