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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Bush Prods Medvedev Over Georgia

WASHINGTON — U.S. President George W. Bush has congratulated President Dmitry Medvedev on his inauguration and used his call to express concern about Moscow's dispute with Georgia over the breakaway Abkhazia region, the White House said.

Bush called Medvedev on Monday and also spoke with former President Vladimir Putin about his appointment as prime minister, White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said.

In his call with Medvedev, "President Bush raised his concerns about the situation in Georgia and hoped that all sides were working to reduce tensions," Perino said.

The White House has been highly critical of Russia in the escalating fight over Abkhazia and has called on Moscow to "back down."

Russia has sent additional soldiers to the region and boosted ties with the separatists.

Georgia has tried to reassert control over Abkhazia and South Ossetia since they broke away in the early 1990s.

The separatists said earlier on Monday that they shot down two more Georgian unmanned spy drones, which Tbilisi denied.

Perino said Bush and Medvedev underscored a desire on both sides to maintain good relations, and that they look forward to working together.

Perino said Bush then called Putin to wish him well in his new post.

She said the calls "lasted a few minutes each."

Reuters, AP