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

    Greenpeace Leak: US-EU Trade Deal Would Favor Corporations

    Activist group leaks classified documents to 'shine a light' on talks that could create the world's largest bilateral trade and investment pact

    Video Ethiopia's Drought Takes Toll on Children

    East African country’s crops failed in 2015, creating food shortages for 10 million – including 6 million children whose development may be compromised

    What Your First Name Reveals About Who You Vote For

    People named Chad are more likely to be Republicans and Jonathans are usually Democrats

    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.
    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