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Rice arrives in Tbilisi on peace mission

 Rice arrives in Tbilisi on peace mission
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The United States Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has arrived in Tbilisi in another show of support by the US for Georgia, but also to get President Mikheil Saakashvili to put his signature on the EU-backed peace plan.

Diplomats hope that if he signs it, it may encourage the Russians to pull their troops out of Georgia. Saakashvili has said he will need to take a close look at exactly what is written on the deal.

He says he agreed to the “general principles” but sees no reason to sign it, “given it is only a political document”.

The deal, which originated in France, was shuttled between Georgia and Russia and signed by the leaders of the two separatist regions yesterday, before taking a detour via the south of France where Rice met up with French President Nicolas Sarkozy.

The future of the breakaway regions is no longer mentioned in the peace plan, but those who have seen it say it is a humiliating document for Georgia as it does not mention the country’s territorial integrity.