Winter Sports: Georgia to compete in Sochi despite 2008 war with Russia

Georgia's incoming Prime Minister said it should compete in the 2014 Winter Olympics in Russia despite the President considering a boycott after the two countries fought a brief war in 2008.

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Winter Sports: Georgia to compete in Sochi despite 2008 war with Russia
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Bidzina Ivanishvili (Reuters)

Bidzina Ivanishvili's Georgian Dream coalition won a parliamentary election on October 1 that ended nearly a decade of dominance by President Mikheil Saakashvili's party.

Olympic host city Sochi lies northeast of Georgia on the Black Sea coast and is adjacent to Abkhazia, one of two Russian-backed breakaway Georgian regions that Moscow recognised as independent nations after the five-day war in August 2008.

"Georgia should participate in the Olympics and as a neighbour should do everything to ensure that Games are conducted peacefully and without any accidents," Ivanishvili said.

Ivanishvili has vowed to continue Georgia's drive for deeper integration with NATO and the West but has said he would seek to improve relations with Russia, his country's Soviet-era overlord. Diplomatic ties were severed due to the war.

Ivanishvili made much of a fortune estimated at $6.4 billion in Russia and Saakashvili suggested he was a Kremlin stooge during the election campaign. He sold all his business in Russia and renounced his Russian citizenship.

Saakashvili has signed a decree to restore Ivanishvili's Georgian citizenship, which was revoked last year, presidential spokeswoman Manana Manjgaladze said on Tuesday. Ivanishvili also has French citizenship, but has said he would renounce it.

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