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Russia expects Georgia to accept settlement principles
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Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said Friday his country expects Georgia to give its written consent to the principles for settling the conflict between Georgia and its breakaway region of South Ossetia, the Interfax news agency reported.

"Now these principles should be accepted by Georgia and need to be followed, with guarantees from Russia, the Council of Europe, and the OSCE (the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe). I hope this will happen in the near future. We expect relevant information," Medvedev was quoted by Interfax as saying.

At a press conference after talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Sochi, the Russian president expressed doubt that Abkhazia and South Ossetia could remain in the same state with Georgia after recent events.

He added that Russia will respect any decision on the two breakaway republics' statuses that reflects their wishes and will guarantee its enforcement.

Merkel, for her part, said Georgia's territorial integrity is a key point in the settlement of the conflict.

"We cannot wait another 15 years to find a stable solution for settling this conflict. Georgia's territorial integrity should be the basis of it," she said.

The German leader said Russia used disproportionate military force in the conflict between Georgia and South Ossetia and insisted that Russia pull its forces out of Georgia as soon as possible.

Bush urges Russia to honor ceasefire commitment with Georgia

U.S. President George W. Bush Friday urged Russia to honor a ceasefire commitment with Georgia, saying that Moscow must respect Georgia's sovereignty and territorial integrity.

"Moscow must honor its commitment to withdraw its invading forces from all Georgian territory," Bush said in a statement at the White House.

"Georgia's sovereignty and territorial integrity must be respected," he said.

Bush also said that "a contentious relationship with Russia is not in America's interest. And a contentious relationship with America is not in Russia's interests."

On Wednesday, Bush sent U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to France to help the diplomatic efforts, and then to Georgia to show U.S. solidarity with the country.

Rice is expected to brief him on the situation of Georgia Saturday, Bush said.

Georgia began a military action against South Ossetia's forces last week in an attempt to re-establish control over the breakaway region. In response, Russian troops moved into the region to fight Georgian forces.

On Tuesday, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev announced an end to military operations in South Ossetia after meeting his French counterpart Nicolas Sarkozy.

(Xinhua News Agency August 15, 2008)

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