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Dick Cheney arrives in Azerbaijan

The US Embassy says US Vice President Dick Cheney has arrived in Azerbaijan as part of a tour in support of Russia's southern neighbours.

Cheney is expected to meet with Azerbaijan's president and other top leaders today.

The vice president will later head to Georgia, where Washington is trying bolster support for President Mikhail Saakashvili's US-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, as Russia has asserted its right to exert clout over what it says is its historic sphere of influence — including many former Soviet republics.