August 15, 2008

Rice in Georgia on Peace Mission

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice arrived in Georgia Friday on the second leg of her mission to seek an end to the Georgian-Russian crisis.

Rice was dispatched to Europe by President George Bush earlier this week. On Thursday, she met with French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who brokered a Moscow-driven cease-fire between Russia and Georgia as European Union president, before traveling to Tiblisi to meet with Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili.

Also attempting to resolve the crisis through diplomacy was German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who traveled to Russia to meet with Russian President Dmitri Medvedev, The New York Times reported. The two leaders were to meet in Sochi, a resort town near the Black Sea.

The war broke out last week when Georgian troops tried to rein in rebels in breakaway province South Ossetia, only to be overwhelmed by Russian troops.

Meanwhile, Col. Gen. Anatoly Nogovitsyn, a top Russian defense officer, said relations with the United States became strained by plans to deploy a missile shield in Poland. The United States and Poland said they reached preliminary agreement to place part of a U.S. defense system in Poland. Russia has criticized the plan, saying it threatened its national security.