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US, Allies Reiterate Support for Georgia


U.S. President George Bush again has stressed his support for a "sovereign, free Georgia".

Mr. Bush telephoned the presidents of Lithuania and Ukraine Thursday to assure them of U.S. solidarity with Georgia. The leaders discussed ongoing humanitarian efforts and agreed on the need for Russia to withdraw its forces from Georgia.

In Canada, Prime Minister Stephen Harper denounced Russia's "Soviet-era" mentality. Mr. Harper said all democratic countries should speak out against Russia's attempt to control countries outside of its borders.

Russian officials today rejected a Ukrainian decree restricting the movement of Russian warships in and out of the Black Sea port of Sevastopol. Ukraine's President Viktor Yuschenko signed an order Wednesday, requiring Russia to seek Ukraine's permission before returning to the port, the main base of the Russian Black Sea Fleet.

Sevastopol is located on Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula.

Earlier today, a White House spokeswoman, Dana Perino, reaffirmed U.S. support for Georgia's territorial integrity. She rejected comments by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Wednesday that Georgian territorial integrity is now a "dead issue."

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.


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