U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice says Russian troops must
immediately withdraw from Georgia under a cease-fire agreement.
President Mikheil Saakashvili said at a news conference with Rice in
Tbilisim Friday that he signed the cease-fire after getting
"clarifications" from the French who negotiated the deal earlier in the
In Paris, French President Nicolas Sarkozy issued a
statement saying the way is now open for a U.N. Security Council
resolution that will end the crisis.
In her comments, Rice reaffirmed U.S. support for Georgia's independence, territorial integrity and democratic system.
Saakashvili said Russia had been planning its military operations since
NATO put off action in April on Georgia's membership. He said a large
part of Georgia remains under Russian occupation, a situation his
country will never accept.
U.S. President George Bush earlier
called Georgia a "courageous democracy" and said Russia must respect
its sovereignty. He said a contentious relationship with the West is
not in Russia's interests, and he said "bullying and intimidation" is
not an acceptable way to conduct foreign policy.
Chancellor Angela Merkel also stressed support for Georgia's
territorial integrity and called Russian actions in Georgia
She spoke after talks in Russia's Black Sea
resort of Sochi with Russian President Dmitri Medvedev, who expressed
doubt that residents of Georgia's breakaway regions of Abkhazia and
South Ossetia will ever accept being part of Georgia.
Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.