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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

‘Abkhazia Will Rejoin Georgia’

UNITED NATIONS — Abkhazia’s gardens and hotels have been replaced by military bases and graveyards, but the breakaway region will one day rejoin Georgia, Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili told the United Nations.

“It will take time, but Abkhazia will once again be what it was — the most wonderful part of Georgia,” Saakashvili told the UN General Assembly late Thursday.

Saakashvili has said he has no pretensions to take back Abkhazia and another separatist region, South Ossetia, by force. But he painted a bleak portrait of Abkhazia, on the eastern coast of the Black Sea.

“Abkhazia today has been emptied of more than three-fourths of its population,” he said. “Gardens and hotels, theaters and restaurants have been replaced by military bases and graveyards.”

Abkhaz leader Sergei Bagapsh said in a statement the United Nations should not have allowed Saakashvili to speak without inviting representatives from Abkhazia and South Ossetia to respond.

“For the UN to debate the future of the Abkhaz and Ossetian people without even hearing their voices is unconscionable and smacks of an era when colonial powers unilaterally determined the fate of smaller nations,” he said.

Saakashvili did not explicitly say South Ossetia would also return to Georgian control, though he did say he was “committed to our vision of a sovereign and unified Georgia.”

South Ossetian leader Eduard Kokoity said in a statement his territory “will never again be a part of Georgia.”

Russia crushed a Georgian assault on South Ossetia in August 2008, sending tanks deep into Georgian territory and shaking Western confidence in oil and gas routes running through the South Caucasus.