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Georgian President Salome Zourabichvili called the 17 July referendum in South Ossetia on joining Russia a provocation by Russia.

"Another Russian provocation, a threat of a referendum in South Ossetia and annexation will not succeed in inflaming confrontation between us and will not make us reconsider our peaceful policy. Russia must not make another fatal mistake. This will not go unanswered and will cause a corresponding reaction of the international community," she said, speaking Thursday at a ceremony to mark Georgia's Independence Day.

The head of state reiterated that the republic will not use military force against Abkhazia and South Ossetia. "Georgia will not take any military and force actions against you," she said. At the same time, she invited residents of Abkhazia and South Ossetia to "join the European future."

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