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    Georgia says Rice's visit shows U.S. support

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    Georgia's foreign minister said Wednesday that the current visit of U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice shows Washington's support for Georgia as a democratic state.

    TBILISI, July 9 (RIA Novosti) - Georgia's foreign minister said Wednesday that the current visit of U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice shows Washington's support for Georgia as a democratic state.

    Rice arrived in Tbilisi earlier in the day, and will meet with Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili on Thursday for closed-door talks.

    "The visit of the U.S. Secretary of State undoubtedly demonstrates the U.S. support of Georgia as a democratic state and the support of Georgia's peaceful intentions, which may bring positive results," Yekaterina Tkeshelashvili told reporters in Tbilisi.

    Rice's visit to Georgia will take place amid rising tensions between the post Soviet Caucasus country, which seeks NATO membership, and its breakaway regions, Abkhazia and South Ossetia, which have recently seen several bombings and disputes over peacekeepers.

    Russia has provided aid to Abkhazia and recently sent additional peacekeepers into the area, saying they are needed to deter new bloodshed, and accusing Tbilisi of escalating the conflict. Georgia has charged Moscow with trying to annex the two breakaway territories.

    "With this visit the American side clearly shows its support of Georgia's peaceful plans to resolve the conflicts with both [breakaway] regions," Tkeshelashvili said.

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