Russia's Presence in Georgia is Unacceptable and Must End Immediately, Ros-Lehtinen Says
Washington, D.C. –U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, spoke today in favor of H.Res. 526, expressing the sense of the House of Representatives with respect toward the establishment of a democratic and prosperous Republic of Georgia and the establishment of a peaceful and just resolution to the conflict with Georgia's internationally recognized borders. The resolution affirms U.S. support for the Republic of Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. It also affirms that it is U.S. policy that the regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia of Georgia are being illegally occupied by the Russian Federation. The measure passed the House by voice vote. Remarks by Ros-Lehtinen:
(Click here for video)
“In the last decade, the Republic of Georgia has worked hard to implement a series of political, economic, and social reforms aimed at establishing a democratic and prosperous society. These changes have often been difficult and even controversial, but the Georgian government and its people must be commended for continuing to move forward. However, there is still much to be done.
“Soon in the next few months, there will be Parliamentary and Presidential elections. Much is riding on these elections being perceived to be free and fair and conducted in full compliance with international democratic standards. The U.S. strongly supports Georgia’s membership in NATO, and the Alliance has repeatedly stated that the Republic of Georgia will one day be welcomed as a full Member. But free and fair elections are fundamental to further progress toward Georgia’s joining NATO. Nevertheless, Georgia is already contributing greatly to the Alliance, particularly to the NATO mission in Afghanistan, where it is the second largest non-NATO contributor.
“Georgia’s deployed forces in Afghanistan number over 800 troops, and these do not have restrictions on their engagement in combat, which is not the case with so many other allies. Georgia has done this even as its own security situation remains precarious, given the ongoing presence by Russian troops in several regions in Georgia. Until Russia fulfills the conditions in the 2008 ceasefire agreement, the instability and conflict it has deliberately created will unfortunately continue.
“Russia’s aggression against Georgia poses a threat to the security of the entire region. This resolution sends a strong message that Russian actions and continued military presence in these areas are unacceptable and must end immediately.”