Rice Arrives in Georgia

American, European diplomats push to get Russian troops out
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 15, 2008 7:31 AM CDT
U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, left, and Georgia's President Mikheil Saakashvili, right, meet in Tbilisi, on Friday, Aug. 15, 2008. Rice arrived in Georgia on Friday for talks with President...   (AP Photo/Irakli Gedenidze, pool)
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(Newser) – Condoleezza Rice arrived in Tbilisi today, where she said her immediate goal was to get Russian troops out of Georgia. The secretary of state stopped over in France to meet with Nicolas Sarkozy, the French president who brokered a ceasefire that Moscow has flouted. Rice's trip follows an American airlift containing medical and humanitarian supplies for Georgians, which drew strong opposition from Russia, reports the Times of London.

"The goal of this is to get a ceasefire and to get Russian forces to withdraw from the country ASAP," Rice told reporters. Later today German chancellor Angela Merkel will continue the diplomatic push when she meets Vladimir Putin in Russia. Despite promises to leave, Russian tanks and soldiers are still occupying the city of Gori, outside the disputed region of South Ossetia.