U.S. Forces May Assist Georgia

The Financial Times
August 12, 2008

The FINANCIAL — Briefing reporters traveling with Bush on Sunday, Deputy National Security Adviser James F. Jeffrey would not rule out the use of American force to assist Georgia but said that was not the current focus of U.S. efforts, Washington Post reports.

“Right now our focus is on working with both sides, with the Europeans and with a whole variety of international institutions and organizations, to get the fighting to stop,” Jeffrey said.

In a telephone call to Georgia’s leader Mikhail Saakashvili , the US Vice-President, Dick Cheney, said Russian aggression “must not go unanswered”.

President Bush said he had expressed his grave concern to MOSCOW at the military’s “disproportionate” response.

Meanwhile, Georgia said Russian planes had bombed targets near its capital, despite Tbilisi declaring a ceasefire.

The BBC’s Justin Webb in Washington says Dick Cheney’s telephone call appears to have been an effort to send a message not just of solidarity but also of readiness for action.