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

Video VOA EXCLUSIVE: Iraq President Vows to Fight IS 'Until They Are Killed or We Die'

In wide-ranging interview with VOA Kurdish service reporter, Fuad Masum describes conflict as new type of fight that will take time to win More

Russian Anti-Corruption Campaigner Slams Putin’s Crackdown on Dissent

In interview with VOA Alexei Navalny says he believes new law against 'undesirable NGOs' part of move to keep Russian president in power More

Video On The Scene: In Ethiopia, 'Are You a Journalist?' Is a Loaded Question

VOA's Anita Powell describes the difficulties faced by reporters in fully conveying the story in a country where people are reticent to share their true opinions 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.
Expelled from Pakistan, Afghan Refugees Return to Increased Hardshipi
X
Ayesha Tanzeem
May 28, 2015 6:48 PM
Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Expelled from Pakistan, Afghan Refugees Return to Increased Hardship

Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Britain Makes Controversial Move to Crack Down on Extremism

Britain is moving to tighten controls on extremist rhetoric, even when it does not incite violence or hatred -- a move that some are concerned might unduly restrict basic freedoms. It is an issue many countries are grappling with as extremist groups gain power in the Middle East, fueled in part by donations and fighters from the West. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video Floodwaters Recede in Houston, but Rain Continues

Many parts of Texas are recovering from one of the worst natural disasters to hit the southwestern state. Heavy rains on Monday and early Tuesday caused rivers to swell in eastern and central Texas, washing away homes and killing at least 13 people. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, floodwaters are receding slowly in the country's fourth-largest city, and there likely is to be more rain in the coming days.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Al-Shabab Recruitment Drive Still on In Kenya

The al-Shabab militants that have long battled for control of Somalia also have recruited thousands of young people in Kenya, leaving many families disconsolate. Mohammed Yusuf recently visited the Kenyan town of Isiolo, and met with relatives of those recruited, as well as a many who have helped with the recruiting.
Video

Video US Voters Seek Answers From Presidential Candidates on IS Gains

The growth of the Islamic State militant group in Iraq and Syria comes as the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign kicks off in the Midwest state of Iowa.   As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, voters want to know how the candidates would handle recent militant gains in the Middle East.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Film Festival Looks at Indigenous Peoples, Culture Conflict

A recent Los Angeles film festival highlighted the plight of people caught between two cultures. Mike O'Sullivan has more on the the Garifuna International Film Festival, a Los Angeles forum created by a woman from Central America who wants the world to know more about her culture.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.

VOA Blogs