It was an opening that even the most experienced negotiator could overlook. While Western diplomats and journalists still scramble for access to the disputed town of Akhalgori in breakaway South Ossetia, broken water pipes have provided a way for the area's former Georgian officials to return.
Russian leader Vladimir Putin tried his best to sound disarming during his April 4 talks in Bucharest for discussions with NATO summiteers. Putin's restrained approach, however, couldn't conceal a determined effort to enhance Russia's veto power over Atlantic alliance enlargement.
US President George W. Bush departed Washington on March 31 on what promises to be a challenging diplomatic trip. The focal point of the journey is the North Atlantic Treaty Organization summit in Bucharest, where he will seek to convince skeptical allies on the need for a troop buildup in Afghanistan and on the value of offering NATO membership to Georgia and Ukraine.