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Russia hopes Georgia vote will help normalize relations
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3 October 2012
MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia said on Wednesday it hoped the election victory in Georgia of billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili's opposition coalition will help normalise relations between the two neighbours, which fought a brief war in 2008.
Moscow and Tbilisi broke diplomatic ties after Georgian forces were routed in five days in August 2008 in a war that ended with Russia recognising breakaway South Ossetia and Abkhazia as independent states.
'It is obvious that Georgian society has voted for changes. We hope in the end they will allow Georgia to start the normalisation, establishment of constructive and respectful relations with neighbours,' Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said in a statement.
'Such development would be welcomed in Russia,' he added.
Russia sent its army to South Ossetia after Georgian forces attacked it, saying they wanted to restore constitutional order. Georgia, a strategically located Caucasus state of 4.5 million, says Russian-backed separatists provoked the attack.
Ivanishvili, likely to become the former Soviet republic's new prime minister, has called on President Mikheil Saakashvili, a staunch U.S. ally, to resign following his United National Movement's defeat in Monday's election.
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