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Saakashvili says he is open to serious talks with Russia

TBILISI. May 20 (Interfax) - Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili believes Georgia could be a very useful ally to Russia, saying that normal relations between the two countries will become possible if Russia begins dialogue with the current Georgian administration.

"The past three years since August 2008 are a clear demonstration of the weakness of Russia's current policies, including very serious weakness that they demonstrated on Georgia," Saakashvili told a briefing given jointly with European Parliament President Jerzy Buzek on Thursday.

Saakashvili said the statement made by Russian President Dmitry Medvedev at a press conference on Thursday on the events that occurred in August 2008 was "an eye-opener to everyone."

"Before that, they said that they had gone into Georgia because they were very concerned about the fate of the Abkhaz and Ossetian people living in Georgia. We almost believed them, but yesterday they said it really wasn't so. However, irony aside, I think that the statement that it was a demonstration of Russia's force is, mildly speaking, not true," he said.

"Do you remember the Russian president's statement that I (Mikheil Saakashvili) am a political corpse? However, three years have gone by and I think I look better than what he said, both physically and politically," Saakashvili said.

"Russia's main hope was that Georgia would disintegrate and turn into a country that was punished to give an example to all countries of the former Soviet space," he said.

"It was initially the purpose of that intervention, to make Georgia an example of what happens to a country that doesn't obey them. People from Russia are now coming to Georgia to study our reforms," Saakashvili said.

"We are open to serious negotiations with Russia. Of course, we not only want to exchange experience of reforms with Russia, but we want to have normal, humane interstate relations, if they begin talking to the democratically elected current administration of Georgia," he said.

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