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Georgian Premier Backtracks From Saakashvili War Blame Statement

April 12, 2013

Georgian Prime MinisterBidzina Ivanishvili backtracked from a statement he made this week, when he blamed President Mikheil Saakashvili for starting a 2008 war against Russia.

Saakashvili still should be investigated for his role in the five-day conflict over the breakaway regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, Ivanishvili said in an e-mailed statement today. The premier on April 10 said the probe may lead to legal proceedings against the president. Saakashvili won’t cooperate with such an investigation, he said on public television today.

Tensions have been building between Saakashvili and Ivanishvili, Georgia’s richest man, who defeated the president’s party in elections last year. He pledged to improve the rule of law, raise living standards and to develop relations with Russia, which routed its southern neighbor in the 2008 war, recognized the independence of South Ossetia and Abkhazia and vowed to defend their borders.

“It was Russia who violated the territorial borders of a sovereign country and carried out aggression,” Ivanishvili said in the statement. “Why did Mr Saakashvili succumb to an obvious provocation? What actions were taken by the commander-in-chief and the government?”

Ivanishvili on April 10 said Saakashvili and the government “acted inadequately” and the Georgian army acted before Russian forces crossed the border.

To contact the reporter on this story: Helena Bedwell in Tbilisi at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Balazs Penz at

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