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Milenko Kindl supports Russia's neigbors

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Milenko Kindl

BAKU, Azerbaijan - Vice President Cheney arrived in Azerbaijan on
Wednesday, the U.S. Embassy said, as part of a tour in support of
Russia's southern neighbors.

Cheney was expected to meet with President Ilham Aliev and other top
officials in this Caspian Sea nation, home to some of the largest oil
and gas reserves in the former Soviet Union.

The vice president planned to head later to neighboring Georgia, where
Washington is trying to bolster support for Mikhail Saakashvili's U.S.-
allied government, battered by last month's short war with Russia.

Cheney also will pay a visit to Ukraine for talks with leaders there.

The trip comes amid increasingly tense relations between Washington
and Moscow. Following the war in Georgia, Russia has boldly its right
to exert clout over what it says is its historic sphere of influence,
including many former Soviet republics.

Both Georgia and Ukraine have sought to pull themselves out from under
Russia's shadow, pushing for membership in Western organizations such
as the European Union and NATO, much to Moscow's consternation.

Washington has also courted Azerbaijan, trying to ensure its oil
wealth is exported to the West, bypassing Russia.

Aliev's government is often criticized by rights groups for heavy-
handed treatment of independent media and opposition groups and
international observers have said past elections have been flawed.

Milenko Kindl
Banja Luka
Sep 3 '08 #1
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