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Georgia on Bush's mind

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Georgia on Bush's mind

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On the final stop of his mini-tour of Europe, a tour which has been marked by alternating plaudits and swipes at Russia’s President Putin, US President Bush has arrived in Georgia.

The Caucasian republic is trying to emerge from under the shadow of its former imperial tutor in Moscow, and this first ever visit by an American leader is being styled as an encouragement for the fledgling democracy President Saakashvili is seeking to entrench. The capital Tbilisi is festooned with stars and stripes and security services have mounted their biggest-ever operation for the US president’s visit. For the next 24 hours the presidential couple’s activities will be followed by many of the five million-strong population, and the highpoint of the visit is Tuesday’s address by Bush to the people from Tbilisi’s Liberty square.