WASHINGTON – The United States says Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice will not attend the closing ceremonies of the Olympic Games in Beijing because of the crisis in Georgia.
White House spokesman Gordon Johndroe said Tuesday that Labor Secretary Elaine Chao will take Rice's place.
The decision came as Russian tanks left a strategic Georgian city in the first sign of a Russian pullback of troops from Georgia after a cease-fire intended to end fighting that reignited Cold War tensions.
Human rights groups had urged President George W. Bush unsuccessfully to boycott the opening ceremonies of the Olympics as a signal of displeasure over allegations of China's abuse of its citizens.
Bush says he raised human rights concerns with top Chinese officials.