"He reminded me that there is an agreement in place, the 1999 [Istanbul] agreement. He said that the Russians want to work with the [Georgian] government to fulfill their obligations in terms of that agreement," Bush said. "I think that's a commitment, that's an important commitment for the people of Georgia to hear, and it shows there is grounds to work to get this issue resolved."
Russia maintains two former Soviet military bases in Georgia, one in the autonomous republic of Adjara, and one in the predominantly ethnic Armenian region of Samtskhe-Javakheti.
Georgia last month said Russia had agreed to close its bases by 1 January 2008. But Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov later said Moscow would need at least four years to complete the withdrawal.
Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili has cited the base dispute to justify his decision to boycott the Moscow ceremonies that marked the 60th anniversary of the end of World War II.
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