Cindy McCain Will Drop In on Georgia

APCindy McCain, left, going to church Sunday with her husband and daughter.
Cindy McCain, wife of U.S. presidential candidate John McCain, is to arrive Tuesday in Tbilisi, U.S. and Georgian officials said.

Officials at the U.S. Embassy in Tbilisi and in the Georgian administration declined to discuss the itinerary for the wife of the presumptive Republican nominee.

The Georgian Times and the Regnum news agency reported Monday, however, that she was planning to meet with Sandra Roelofs, wife of Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili, and visit the town of Gori.

Until last week, Gori had been controlled by Russian troops following the bloody conflict between Russian and Georgian forces over the breakaway republic of South Ossetia.

The visit comes after the emergence of the Georgia crisis as an issue in the U.S. presidential campaign, in which John McCain is pitted against presumptive Democratic nominee Barack Obama. The Republican senator from Arizona has long been one of Russia's harshest critics in Washington. After violence erupted between Georgia and Russia, McCain said Russia should "immediately and unconditionally cease its military operations" and later called the conflict the "first serious crisis internationally since the Cold War."

Obama, meanwhile, dramatically intensified his criticism of Russia after issuing an Aug. 8 statement calling for "all sides to show restraint." Three days later, Obama said Russia had "no possible justification" for escalating "its military campaign through strategic bombing and the movement of its ground forces into the heart of Georgia."

U.S. officials have strongly backed Saakashvili in the crisis, among them Obama's newly announced running mate, Delaware Senator Joseph Biden,

Biden, the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, was in Georgia a week after the fighting broke out and accused Russia of failing "to keep its word and withdraw troops from Georgia." This failure, he said, "risks the country's standing as part of the international community." "That is not the future the United States or Europe want -- but it is the future Russia may get," Biden said in a statement upon his return, adding that Russia's actions "will have consequences."

Citing U.S. diplomats, the Financial Times reported Monday that the administration of U.S. President George W. Bush would recall a U.S.-Russian civil nuclear cooperation agreement from the U.S. Congress in the wake of the Russian-Georgian crisis.

Meanwhile, the White House announced Monday that U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney would travel to Georgia, Ukraine and Azerbaijan next week.