Georgian president fears leaving country for EU summit

August 27th, 2008 - 7:46 pm ICT by IANS  

Berlin, Aug 27 (RIA Novosti) Georgia’s President Mikheil Saakashvili has said he will not attend a European Union (EU) summit to address his country’s conflict with Russia, as he fears Moscow would not let him return. “If I leave Georgia, the Russians will close our airspace and prevent me from returning home,” Saakashvili said in an interview published in popular German newspaper Bild Wednesday.

EU leaders will gather Monday in Brussels, where they are expected to review ties with Russia, which has been criticized by the 27-nation bloc for recognising the separatist Georgian republics of South Ossetia and Abkhazia Tuesday, and for excessive use of force in its response to Tbilisi’s attack on South Ossetia earlier this month.

Saakashvili said his country’s military capabilities were not enough to withstand Russia. “Militarily, we have no chance,” he said.

Russia has said that Georgia lost its right to the two regions after its offensive in South Ossetia, which left hundreds dead and forced thousands to flee the devastated region.

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