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Russia Seeks Support from Asian Neighbors in Georgia Crisis


Russian President Dmitri Medvedev is asking his Asian allies Thursday for their support of Russia's role in the Georgia crisis.

The Russian president is attending the Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit in Tajikistan.

It is not clear how successful Russia's bid for support has been so far.

The SCO was established in 2001 to counter NATO influence in Central Asia. Member states are China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.

Wednesday, the Group of Seven industrialized powers strongly condemned Russia's recognition of Georgia's rebel regions South Ossetia and Abkhazia as independent states.

Meanwhile, French President Nicolas Sarkozy and Mr. Medvedev had an hour-long telephone conversation about Georgia.

A Kremlin press statement said the Russian president stressed, during that conversation, that Georgian troops must return to their places of permanent deployment as called for in a cease-fire agreement.

Mr. Sarkozy helped mediate the agreement between Russia and Georgia.

A senior Georgian security official says Russian troops will pull out of the major Black Sea port of Porti Thursday.

National Security Council Secretary Alexander Lomaia says he expects Russia to bow to what he calls international pressure to leave the port.

Russia has not yet confirmed it is planning such a move.

Georgian troops went into South Ossetia on August seventh to try to retake control of the breakaway region. Russia replied with tanks and thousands of troops, saying it had to protect Russian citizens there.

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

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