In November 2008, Erosi Kitsmarishvili, a former Georgian diplomat to Moscow, testified that the Georgian government was responsible for starting the conflict with Russia. Both Russia and Georgia have painted each other as the aggressor responsible for the war—Georgia said it launched an attack in South Ossetia because a Russian invasion was under way, and Russia claimed it sent troops to the breakaway region to protect civilians from Georgia's offensive attack.

The pipeline opened in July 2006.

Khajimba took office the following month. Infoplease knows the value of having sources you can trust. The firing and resignations also led to one of the six ruling coalition parties, the Free Democrats, defecting. Kitsmarishvili stated that Georgian officials told him in April that they planned to start a war in the breakaway regions and were supported by the U.S. government. However, he was also accused of abusing power and stifling dissent. In May 2003, work began on the Georgian section of the enormously ambitious Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline, which runs from Azerbaijan through Georgia to Turkey.

Learn more about the world with our collection of regional and country maps. Their resignations came after Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili fired pro-Western Defense Minister Irakli Alasania over a spending dispute. Parliament voted 149 to 0 to approve the state of emergency. The opposition in the 235-seat Parliament boycotted the vote, however. Giorgi "Gigi" Ugulava, the incumbent mayor and an ally of Saaksahvili, won the election by an overwhelming amount of votes. In return for its consent, Georgia asked for direct trading on its border with Russia. Because of constitutional change that will shift the government from a presidential to a parliamentary republic, Saaksahvili will remain in power for a year, and Ivanishvili will become prime minister. At his presidential inauguration, Margvelashvili said that he hoped Georgia would join the European Union and NATO.

Law enforcement in Georgia have arrested the parents of a 5-year-old girl who weighed just 7 pounds before dying at an Atlanta hospital in June. In 2002, U.S. troops trained Georgia's military in antiterrorism measures in the hopes that Georgian troops would subdue Muslim rebels fighting in the country. At the end of August, after a cease-fire agreement between Russia and Georgia was signed, Russian president Dmitri Medvedev severed diplomatic ties with Georgia, officially recognized South Ossetia and Abkhazia as independent regions and pledged military assistance from Russia, heightening tensions between Russia and the West.

The latest demonstrations followed a decision by President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia to cancel all flights from Russia to Georgia starting on July 8.

However, in a press conference following the resignations, Prime Minister Garibashvili said he remained committed to working on closer ties with Western nations. Learn more about the mythic conflict between the Argives and the Trojans. Margvelashvili was a member of Bidzina Ivanishvili's cabinet as the Minister of Education and Science. In April 2009, tens of thousands of protesters marched through Tbilisi, demanding Saaksahvili's resignation. Hostilities between the two countries, including a war in 2008, have kept them from an agreement before now. After only three months in office, Mgaloblishvili resigned from office on health grounds. Saakashvili's popularity took a hit in November 2007 when some 50,000 demonstrators gathered outside Parliament in Tbilisi and demanded early elections and his resignation. Saakashvili's ongoing difficulty has been reining in Georgia's two breakaway regions, South Ossetia and Abkhazia, both of which are strongly supported by neighboring Russia. Giorgi Margvelashvili won, taking 62 percent of the vote. Biden makes plea to ‘unite and heal’ the country during stop in Georgia. Valery Bganba, the parliament's speaker, acted as Abkhazia's president until Raul Khajimba was elected in August 2014. On Oct. 27, 2008, Mikheil Saaksahvili replaced Prime Minister Lado Gurgenidze with Grigol Mgaloblishvili, Georgia's ambassador to Turkey. In late May 2014, demonstrators broke into Abkhazia's presidential headquarters and opposition leaders seized control, forming a Provisional National Council in what became known as the May Revolution. The South Ossetian Parliament approved Aslanbek Bulatsev as prime minister on Oct. 22, 2008. Tensions between Georgia and Russia were strained over the Pankisi Gorge, a lawless region of Georgia that Russia said had become a haven for Islamic militants and Chechen rebels.

At the end of Saaksahvili's term the role of the presidency will be diminished and the prime minister will assume many of the president's powers. Membership to the WTO is based on a consensus; therefore, Russia needed to gain the consent of Georgia.

Voters also voted in a referendum in favor of joining NATO.

However, Abkhazia considers itself an independent state, the Republic of Abkhazia, which is recognized by Russia and a handful of other nations. In a stunning defeat, Saaksahvili's party lost October's parliamentary election to an opposition coalition called Georgian Dream, which is led by reclusive billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili. Saakashvili claimed the charges were politically driven; EU leaders have called on Georgian officials to make sure the judicial process is fair. The statement also said that they "look forward to continued close cooperation with Georgia on our ambitious mutual agenda of political association and economic integration.".

The opposition accused Saakashvili of abusing power and stifling dissent. Both he and former labor minister Zurab Chiaberashvili, allies of Saakashvili, have been charged with embezzlement and abuse of office for allegedly putting more than 22,000 party activists on the labor ministry's payroll. Despite no political party affiliation, Margvelashvili was chosen by the Ivanishvili-led Georgian Dream coalition as their presidential candidate for 2013. Georgia's government and a majority of the international community consider Abkhazia part of Georgia. Country Of Georgia - latest news, breaking stories and comment - The Independent Subscribe now In 2002, U.S. troops trained Georgia's military in antiterrorism measures in the hopes that Georgian troops would subdue Muslim rebels fighting in the country.