US backs Georgia over 'territorial integrity' but urges calm

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The Independent Online

The United States is calling for an immediate ceasefire in the conflict between Russia and Georgia over the breakaway Georgian province of South Ossetia.

State Department spokesman Gonzalo Gallegos told reporters Friday that Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is urging all parties to remain calm in calls to top officials. He did not identify the officials.

He says a US envoy is traveling to the region to meet with officials and try to end hostilities. He did not say who the envoy was but says the envoy will leave Friday and will meet with U.S. allies and others.

He says the US supports Georgia's territorial integrity.

Georgian troops have launched a major military offensive to regain control over South Ossetia. The fighting prompted a furious response from Russia, which vowed retaliation and sent a column of tanks into the region.