Saakashvili nixes former envoy claims .hurriyet2008-detailbox-newslink { font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size:13px; font-weight:bold; text-decoration:none; color:#000000;} .hurriyet2008-detailbox-newslink:hover { font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size:13px; font-weight:bold; text-decoration:underline; color:#990000;} TBILISI - Claims that the United States gave Georgia the green light to forcibly retake separatist South Ossetia, sparking a five-day war with Russia, are "utter nonsense," President Mikhail Saakashvili said on Friday.

Saakashvili spoke before testifying to a parliamentary commission investigating the causes and conduct of the August war in which Russia routed the Georgian military and drove deep into Georgian territory. Georgia's former ambassador to Russia said this week that Georgian officials perceived a July visit by U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice as encouragement for the use of force against South Ossetia. Erosi Kitsmarishvili also said people in Saakashvili's circle told him that Rice "gave the green light" - something Rice herself has denied.

Asked specifically whether the U.S. had given such encouragement, Saakashvili denied it, and he dismissed Kitsmarishvili's claims. "All I can say is it's an utter nonsense, and even if it had not been so, this gentleman was not in a position to know so," Saakashvili said.