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US, France Seek New Georgia Cease-Fire Pact


France and the United States called Thursday for Georgia and Russia to sign a new ceasefire agreement aimed to pave a longer-term peace between the fractious neighbors. Lisa Bryant has more on a meeting between French President Nicolas Sarkozy and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

Following a meeting with French President Nicolas Sarkozy in the French Riviera, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said it was critical the conflict between Georgia and Russia end quickly.

"The Russian president has said that their military operations have halted, we would hope that he would be true to his word, and that those operations will halt, and we will work very hard to see if we can bring an end to this crisis," said Condoleezza Rice. "It is long overdue, too many innocent people have died."

Rice said Georgia must also be able to get back to normal life.

Mr. Sarkozy sounded an optimistic note about prospects for a truce he helped broker during visits to Russia and Georgia earlier this week.

Mr. Sarkozy said that things were improving on the ground. He said Russian troops can begin to withdraw once Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili signs documents negotiated with his Russian counterpart. Rice is en route to Georgia with those documents.

The two spoke amid reports that Russia was continuing to violate a fragile ceasefire, following several days of clashes between Georgia and Russia over the breakaway Georgia region of South Ossetia.

European Union foreign ministers meeting in Brussels Wednesday agreed in principle to send monitors to the region. But differences over how to treat Russia remain strong in the 27-member block, with some more sharply pro-Georgian than others.

France is expected to submit a draft UN Security Council resolution on the Caucusus region soon, that includes the six-point ceasefire agreement.

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