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WASHINGTON (AP) — President Bush on Friday accused Russia of "bullying and intimidation" in its harsh military treatment of Georgia, saying the people in the former Soviet republic have chosen freedom and "we will not cast them aside."
Bush ratcheted up his rhetoric against Moscow as Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was in Tbilisi, Georgia to pursue a diplomatic solution to the week-old crisis. Standing alongside Rice, pro-Western President Mikhail Saakashvili said he had signed a cease-fire agreement with Russia that protects Georgia's interests despite concessions to Moscow.
Rice said all Russian troops "must leave immediately" and said she had been told that Russian President Dmitry Medvedev will sign an identical pact.
The rush of events came as Bush began a two-week holiday from Washington. He left the White House after his remarks and flew to his ranch in Texas. Rice is to arrive there early Saturday to brief the president about the showdown between Moscow and Tbilisi over two separatist provinces in Georgia.
"Georgia's sovereignty and territorial integrity must be respected," said Bush, speaking just outside the Oval Office.
Originally posted by grover
This is nothing less than a reassertation of the former Russian empire.