Accessibility links

Georgia Asks China for Help With Russia

  • Daniel Schearf

Georgia has asked China to use its influence to push for a resolution to a territorial flare-up with Russia. Georgian troops have pulled out of the breakaway province of South Ossetia after being overwhelmed by Russian forces. Daniel Schearf reports from Beijing.

Georgia's ambassador to China, Zaza Begashvili, met with China's foreign minister to seek support in the dispute with Russia.

Afterwards, Ambassador Begashvili held a briefing for a small group of foreign and Chinese journalists.

Begashvili would not say how the Chinese responded to the call for help. But, flanked by several embassy staff and supporters wearing red arm bands that read "Stop Russia!" he said he hoped China, as a great power, would make the right conclusion.

He says he is sure that China recognizes Georgia's borders, that it is as an independent state, and that it is a member of the United Nations. He says he is sure that China, as a member of the U.N. Security Council, will express its opposition to this aggression against an independent state.

China's Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang issued a statement during the weekend saying the conflict should be resolved peacefully through dialogue.

The statement joined the United States and other countries in calling for an immediate cease-fire.

Fighting between Georgian and Russian troops erupted after Georgian soldiers entered the breakaway province of South Ossetia last week to try to re-take it.

Russia counter-attacked, driving Georgian troops out and bombing another separatist province - Abkhazia.

U.S. President George Bush condemned Russia for what he called a "disproportionate" response and spreading the conflict outside South Ossetia.

Bush made the comments while in Beijing for the Summer Olympics and after meeting with Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, who was also in Beijing for the games.

The conflict has not prevented athletes from Georgia or Russia from competing in the Olympics.

"Both national Olympic Committees, very much in the spirit of the games, continue with sport," said International Olympic Committee spokeswoman Giselle Davies.

Georgia is a U.S. ally and sent soldiers to Iraq in support of the U.S.-led invasion. The United States is airlifting those troops back to Georgia, sparking bitter criticism from Prime Minister Putin.

Moscow says more than 2,000 people have been killed in fighting this past week, but the figures have not been independently verified.

South Ossetia broke away from Georgia in the early 1990s and allied itself with Russia.

XS
SM
MD
LG