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Georgia Asks U.S. To Act As Mediator

  • RFE/RL

Georgian troops in South Ossetia

Georgian troops in South Ossetia

Georgian National Security Council Secretary Alexander Lomaia told AFP on August 10 that the government has asked U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to transmit Tbilisi's message to Moscow.

A combined delegation from the European Union, United States, and NATO was already on its way to Georgia to attempt to broker a cease-fire. But Lomaia's remarks indicate Georgia wants higher-level U.S. involvement.

Russia earlier rejected calls negotiations on a cease-fire or diplomatic agreement until two conditions were met -- the withdrawal of all Russian forces from the conflict zone, and the signing of a binding agreement on the non-use of force. Moscow's envoy to the UN, Vitaly Churkin, said Russian forces intend to stay in South Ossetia.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has called for an immediate end of hostilities in Georgia and a negotiated settlement of the conflict.

'Full-Scale Invasion'

On August 9, Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili accused Russia of launching "a full-scale military invasion" of the country and appealed to the international community, calling on Georgia's friends and allies around the world to urge Russia to cease hostilities immediately.

"We appeal to our friends and allies to call on Russia to cease hostilities immediately," he said. "Georgia is a peace-loving nation, but today we are being attacked north to south, east to west."

The conflict has spilled over the borders of the separatist region, with Georgian officials saying Russian aircraft bombed the Georgian Black Sea port of Poti and other targets on Georgian territory, including the town of Gori.

Reports say most of the targets have been military bases, but Georgian officials said a number of civilians have been killed in residential buildings.

Georgian officials said on August 10 that Russian planes had bombed a military airfield near Tbilisi International Airport.

Photo Gallery

Destruction In Gori

Photos by RFE/RL's Georgian Service correspondent of a town under attack