Cheney to visit war-torn Georgia

CRAWFORD, Texas (AP) -- President Bush is sending Vice President Cheney to the former Soviet republic of Georgia next week.

The White House says Cheney will depart on September 2nd. In addition to Georgia, he'll visit two other former Soviet Republics, Azerbaijan (ah-zur-by-JAHN') and Ukraine. The vice president will also stop in Italy.

White House spokesman Tony Fratto says Bush felt it was important to have Cheney consult with allies in the region on "common security interests."

The vice president's visit to Georgia follows a Russian invasion earlier this month. It's a clear sign to Russia of the U.S. commitment to Georgia.

Cheney's office has used tough rhetoric against Russia, saying that Russian aggression can't go "unanswered." The Pentagon has ruled out a military response.

The trip was in the works before war erupted in Georgia on August 7th. But it now takes on more significance as a result of the conflict.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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