Russia’s Lavrov, Rice discuss South Ossetia crisis

MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov urged the United States to persuade Georgia to halt what Moscow called its “aggression” against South Ossetia, the Russian Foreign Ministry said on Friday.

The ministry said in a statement on its website that Lavrov had spoken three times to U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice at the initiative of the United States.

“It was stressed that there is now an urgent need to get them (the United States) to halt the illegal actions of the Georgian side, the withdrawal of its armed forces from the conflict zone and a return to the implementation of earlier agreements,” the ministry quoted Lavrov as telling Rice.

Lavrov conveyed similar messages to Germany’s Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier and the EU’s foreign policy chief Javier Solana, according to the ministry statement.

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