News / USA

Clinton Calls for End of Russian 'Occupation' of Georgia

Multimedia

Audio

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is calling for an end to the Russian occupation of the breakaway Georgian regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia.  Clinton's message raises the question of whether U.S. support for Georgia compromises relations with Russia.

Standing alongside Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili in Tbilisi, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton reiterated a call for Russia to end its military presence in two breakaway Georgian regions.

"We continue to call for Russia to abide by the August 2008 cease-fire commitment signed by President Saakashvili and President Medvedev, including ending the occupation and withdrawing Russian troops from South Ossetia and Abkhazia to their pre-conflict positions," said Clinton.

Clinton repeatedly pressed the issue during her tour of Eastern Europe and the Southern Caucasus, which concluded in Georgia.  South Ossetia and Abkhazia are heavily populated by ethnic Russians and have resisted integration with Georgia.  Only a few other nations join Russia in recognizing the two regions as independent.

President Saakashvili notes that Clinton's use of the word "occupation" is especially meaningful.

"America was the first one to mention this word, and now the others are following," said Saakashvili.  "President Obama was the first one to call a spade a spade, basically to say it was an invasion.  Because before, as you remember, the term "disproportionate use of force" was used, as if there is a proportionate use to occupy other countries' territory."

The Georgian issue is a major point of disagreement between the United States and Russia.

The topic came up during a recent meeting in Washington between U.S. President Barack Obama and his Russian counterpart Dmitri Medvedev.  Both sides said the disagreement would not significantly impede relations.

Alexander Rondeli, the director of the Georgian Foundation for Strategic and International Studies welcomed Clinton's use of the term "occupation".  But he added that healthy relations with Russia could be good for everybody.

"It is absolutely important for Americans to have normal relationship with Russia," said Rondeli.  "It is absolutely important for everyone to have a wealthy and healthy Russia; it means democratic [sic] and also a country which acts according to international norms and rules."

Rondeli said an important message of Clinton's trip is that it shows the United States has not abandoned Georgia, and will remain an influence in the region.

Nicolay Petrov is a scholar-in-residence at the Carnegie Moscow Center.  He says there is nothing new in the American position and that he expects a pretty calm reaction from Russia as long as the United States does not turn words into action.

"What was told in Tbilisi, I think, that as far as it is not connected to any real moves made by the Obama administration it is nothing serious for the Kremlin," said Tbilisi.

Tbilisi says Moscow maintains a position that it has the right to first agree to any action another country wants to take in former-Soviet states such as Georgia.

In addition to Georgia, Clinton also visited Ukraine, Poland, Azerbaijan and Armenia.  She is returning to Washington to take part in a meeting Tuesday at the White House with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

You May Like

At Khmer Rouge Court, Long-Awaited Verdict Approaches

First phase of trial, which is coming to an end, has focused on forced exodus of Phnom Penh in 1975 - and now many are hopeful justice will be served More

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities More

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

Downing of Malaysian airliner, allegations of cross-border shelling move information war in war-torn country to a new level More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
July 31, 2014 8:13 PM
The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict in Gaza, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities. Probably the most important destination is the local bakery. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Gaza City.
Video

Video US-Funded Program Offers Honduran Children Alternative to Illegal Immigration

President Obama and Central American leaders recently agreed to come up with a plan to address poverty and crime in the region that is fueling the surge of young migrants trying to illegally enter the United States. VOA’s Brian Padden looks at one such program in Honduras - funded in part by the United States - which gives street kids not only food and safety but a chance for a better life without, crossing the border.
Video

Video 'Fab Lab' Igniting Revolution in Kenya

The University of Nairobi’s Science and Technology Park is banking on 3-D prototyping to spark a manufacturing revolution in the country. Lenny Ruvaga has more for from Nairobi's so-called “FabLab” for VOA.
Video

Video Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelter

Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Rapid Spread of Ebola in West Africa Prompts Global Alert

Across West Africa, health officials are struggling to keep up with what the World Health Organization describes as the worst ebola outbreak on record. The virus has killed hundreds of people this year. U.S. President Barack Obama and other world leaders are watching the developments closely as they weigh what actions, if any, are needed to help contain the disease.
Video

Video Michelle Obama: Young Africans Need to Embrace Women's Rights

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama urged some of Africa's best and brightest to advocate for women's rights in their home countries. As VOA's Pam Dockins explains, Obama spoke to some 500 participants of the Young African Leaders Initiative, a six-week U.S.-based training and development program.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.
Video

Video Study: Latino Students Most Segregated in California

Even though legal school segregation ended in the United States 60 years ago, one study finds segregation still occurs in the U.S. based on income and race. The University of California Los Angeles Civil Rights Project finds that students in California are more segregated by race than ever before, especially Latinos. Elizabeth Lee reports for VOA from Los Angeles.

AppleAndroid