News / Europe

    Clinton Chides Russia on Georgian Breakaway Republics

    U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaks during a Coast Guard ship commissioning ceremony at the passenger terminal wharf in Batumi June 5, 2012.
    U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaks during a Coast Guard ship commissioning ceremony at the passenger terminal wharf in Batumi June 5, 2012.
    BATUMI, Georgia - U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says the Obama administration is continuing to push Russia to withdraw its troops from the breakaway Georgian republics of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Clinton met with Georgian leaders in Black Sea port of Batumi, to discuss defense, democracy, and investment.

    Secretary Clinton says the United States remains steadfast in its support for Georgia's sovereignty and territorial integrity.

    "We reject Russia's occupation and militarization of Georgian territory and we call on Russia to fulfill its obligations under the 2008 cease-fire agreement, including withdrawal of its forces to pre-conflict positions and allowing free access for humanitarian assistance."

    Russian troops remain in Abkhazia and South Ossetia, neither of which are recognized as autonomous republics by most of the international community.

    Clinton says the United States and Georgia are deepening their defense cooperation to strengthen both Georgian security and its operations in Afghanistan, where it is the largest non-NATO member of the international force.

    Following talks with Prime Minister Nika Gilauri, Secretary Clinton said the key to Georgia's future is consolidating democratic gains that will bring it closer to joining both the European Union and NATO. She says this year's parliament elections and next year's presidential poll are opportunities to strengthen the legitimacy of democratic institutions in the eyes of Georgian voters and the world.

    "We urge Georgia's leaders to ensure that it will be a competitive campaign and that elections are free and fair both on election day and in the months running up to it. The recent creation of an inter-agency task force to handle election-related grievances is a good step," she said.

    Term limits prevent President Mikheil Saakashvili from running for re-election, but there is speculation that he may seek to become prime minister.

    Secretary Clinton says Georgians made history with their Rose Revolution against fraudulent elections in 2003. But the more difficult, and she calls ultimately more important work, may well be ahead - building the habits and practices that sustain democracy over time.

    "That means not only holding successful elections, but going beyond elections and strengthening the other key pillars of democracy such as labor rights, judicial independence, media independence and access," she said.

    She say the impact of these reforms go well beyond politics to boosting economic growth.

    "As Georgia continues to strengthen accountability, transparency and the rule of law you will see even greater interest and investment in your economy," she said.

    Clinton's time in the South Caucuses also includes stops in Armenia and Azerbaijan, where she has expressed concern about violence across the zone that has divided the countries since the end of the Nagorno-Karabakh war in 1994.

    You May Like

    Clinton, Trump and the 'Woman’s Card'

    Ask supporters of Democratic front-runner in US presidential campaign, and they’ll tell you Republican presidential candidate is playing a dangerous hand

    Russian Censorship Group Seeks Chinese Help to Better Control Internet

    At recent Safe Internet League forum in Moscow, speakers from both nations underscored desire for authorities to further limit and control information online

    Video Makeshift Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Free classes in Islamabad park serve a few of the country’s nearly 25 million out-of-school youths; NGO cites ‘education crisis’

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensionsi
    X
    April 29, 2016 12:28 AM
    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensions

    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Master Mohammad Ayub runs a makeshift school in a public park in Islamabad. Thousands of poor children have benefited from his services over the years, but, as VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem reports, roughly 25 million school-age youths don't get an education in Pakistan.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Bangladesh Targeted Killings Spark Wave of Fear

    People in Bangladesh’s capital are expressing deep concern over the brutal attacks that have killed secular blogger, and most recently a gay rights activist and an employee of the U.S. embassy. Xulhaz Mannan, an embassy protocol officer and the editor of the country’s only gay and transgender magazine Roopban; and his friend Mehboob Rabbi Tanoy, a gay rights activist, were hacked to death by five attackers in Mannan’s Dhaka home earlier this month.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.
    Video

    Video West Urges Unity in Libya as Migrant Numbers Soar

    The Italian government says a NATO-led mission aimed at stemming the flow of migrants from Libya to Europe could be up and running by July. There are concerns that the number of migrants could soar as the route through Greece and the Balkans remains blocked. Western powers say the political chaos in Libya is being exploited by people smugglers — and they are pressuring rival groups to come together under the new unity government. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Russia’s TV Rain Swims Against Tide in Sea of Kremlin Propaganda

    Russia’s media freedoms have been gradually eroded under President Vladimir Putin as his government has increased state ownership, influence, and restrictions on critical reporting. Television, where most Russians get their news, has been the main target and is now almost completely state controlled. But in the Russian capital, TV Rain stands out as an island in a sea of Kremlin propaganda.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora