Asian alliance rebuffs Russian plea for support

DUSHANBE, Tajikistan (AP) -- Russia's hopes of international support for its actions in Georgia have suffered a setback.

China and several Central Asian nations today issued a statement denouncing the use of force and calling for the respect of every country's territorial integrity.

While the six-member Shanghai Cooperation Organization did offer some support for what it calls Russia's "active role in promoting peace" following a cease-fire, the statement appears to increase Moscow's international isolation.

Meanwhile, in a gesture of conciliation, Russian forces turned over 12 Georgian soldiers on the border of Abkhazia. The Georgians had been seized last week and paraded blindfolded with their hands tied behind their backs.

They appeared unharmed Thursday -- with some even smiling.

Meanwhile, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin is accusing the U.S. of orchestrating the conflict in Georgia. He tells CNN it was part of an effort to provide a talking point in the U.S. presidential campaign. The White House denies it.

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


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