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Clinton Calls for End of Russian 'Occupation' of Georgia
Standing alongside Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili in Tbilisi, Secretary of State
Hilary 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 Saakshivili and President Medvedev, including ending the occupation and
withdrawing Russian troops from South Ossetia and Abkhazia to their pre-conflict positions.”
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 noted that Clinton’s use of the word ‘occupation’s is especially
“America was the first one to mention this word, and now the others are following. 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 State and Russia.
The topic came up during a recent meeting in Washington between US President Barack
Obama and his Russian counterpart Dmitry Medvedev.
Both sides said the disagreement would not significantly impede relation.
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 relation
with Russia could be good for everybody.
“It’s absolutely important for Americans to have normal relationship with Russia. It’s
absolutely important for everyone to have a wealthy and healthy Russia; it’s mean
Democratic and also a country which acts according to international norms and rules.”
He said an important message of Clinton’s trip is that it shows the United State has not
abandoned in Georgia, and will remain an influence in the region.
Nicolay Petrov is a scholar-in-residence at the Carnegie Moscow Center.
He says there’s nothing new in the America’s position and that he expects a pretty calm
reaction from Russia as long as the United State 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."
He says Moscow maintain 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 meeting Tuesday at the White House with
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.