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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

South Ossetian Leader Mocks Saakashvili

The leader of Georgia's breakaway South Ossetia region on Monday dismissed Tbilisi's vow to regain control of the area and mocked President Mikheil Saakashvili over his statement.

"A political future with Georgia is out of the question," South Ossetian President Eduard Kokoity said in response to Saakashvili's statement last week.

Saakashvili vowed to resolve the conflict in South Ossetia within months. He said Kokoity's days in power were numbered, adding: "The stop-watch has been switched on."

In a statement Monday, Kokoity said: "Judging by the Georgian government's latest actions, the stop-watch is ticking for official Tbilisi."

Moscow and Tbilisi have traded barbs over South Ossetia and another separatist region, Abkhazia, since the Soviet collapse in 1991.

A sliver of land in the Caucasus Mountains, South Ossetia broke away from Georgia in the early 1990s after a violent conflict that prompted thousands of Georgians to flee. Its secessionist government is propped up by Russia.

Georgia's ties with Russia hit their lowest point in a decade last year after a spying dispute, a trade blockade and harsh rhetoric on both sides.