cheney in georgia 224.88.
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US Vice President Dick Cheney condemned Russia on Thursday for what he called an "illegitimate, unilateral attempt" to change Georgia's borders by force.
Speaking during a closely watched trip to this US-allied South Caucasus nation, Cheney also assured Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili that the United States was "fully committed" to his country's efforts to join NATO.
"Georgia will be in our alliance," Cheney said.
The trip signals that the United States intends to continue cultivating close ties with Georgia and its neighbors even after Russia's short war with Georgia last month - a demonstration by Russia that it is not afraid to use military force in what it considers its sphere of influence.
The United States is at Georgia's side, Cheney told Saakashvili, "as you work to overcome an invasion of your sovereign territory and an illegitimate, unilateral attempt to change your country's borders by force, that has been universally condemned by the free world."
"Russia's actions have cast grave doubts on Russia's intentions and on its reliability as an international partner," Cheney said.
He also thanked Georgia for sending troops to Iraq. Georgia has been the third largest contributor of troops to the US-led operation there.
"Now it is the responsibility of the free world to rally to the side of Georgia," Cheney said
Saakashvili, meanwhile, said Georgia was committed to a peaceful resolution of its disputes with the breakaway regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia. Russia, which has long been the patron of the two areas, has recognized both as independent nations.
On the eve of Cheney's arrival, the White House announced a $1 billion commitment to help the small but strategically located nation recover from its war with Russia.
Cheney planned to make the massive aid package a major highlight of his meetings in Tbilisi, but it will likely leave unanswered the question of potential US aid to rebuild Georgia's military.
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