Cheney encouraging Georgian aggression: Russia

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Moscow, Sep 5 (UNI) Russia today accused US Vice President Dick Cheney of encouraging Georgia's aggressive intention by supporting Tbilisi.

During his visit to Tbilisi yesterday, Mr Cheney had urged the ''free world'' to rally with Georgia against what he called Russia's invasion of its neighbour and vowed to back Georgia bid to join NATO.

''Such statements and most of all promises to Tbilisi on NATO membership are only bolster and a dangerous sense of impunity within President Mikheil Saakashvili's regime, and will encourage its aggressive ambitions,'' Mr Andrei Nesterenko, the official spokesman for the Russian Foreign Ministry, said today in a statement.

Mr Nesterenko said Moscow had hoped Mr Cheney would attempt to rein in Georgia's leaders, but instead again simply heard talk of support for ''the courageous young democracy.'' He also added the promised US aid of $1 billion to Georgia amounted to country's annual defence budget. ''It is quite an odd coincidence,'' Mr Nesterenko remarked.

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