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Russia rebuffs U.S. and vows to defend Georgian enclaves - International Herald Tribune

MOSCOW: President Dmitri Medvedev said Thursday that Russia would guarantee the security of the two pro-Russian enclaves at the center of the crisis with Georgia, and Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that Georgia could "forget about" territorial integrity because of the war.

The comments did not stake out a new position, but they offered a sharp retort to President George W. Bush's insistence a day earlier that "the sovereign and territorial integrity of Georgia be respected." The Russian rebuke came as Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice headed to Georgia to work for a settlement and to show support for President Mikheil Saakashvili.

Speaking in France after meeting with President Nicolas Sarkozy, she urged Russia to honor the truce and withdraw all of its troops. (Page 3)

Defense Secretary Robert Gates, speaking in Washington, said that "the entire premise" of relations between Washington and Moscow had been called into question by Russia's conduct in Georgia, and that the relationship could be affected "for years to come" if it did not quickly withdraw its forces.

by Fran on Thu Aug 14th, 2008 at 03:16:44 PM EST
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