Democratic U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen from New Hampshire has crafted a resolution supporting Georgia’s territorial integrity and recognizing Abkhazia and South Ossetia as regions “occupied by the Russian Federation”.
The draft titled “Expressing the sense of the Senate with respect to the territorial integrity of Georgia and the situation within Georgia’s internationally recognized borders” was referred to the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations on December 9, according to Sen. Shaheen’s website.
The Georgian authorities are actively lobbying for this type of resolution, that would refer to Abkhazia and South Ossetia as occupied regions, in Washington and other western capitals, describing the effort as part of “de-occupation policy”.
The draft resolution, which Tbilisi hopes will be passed sometime early next year, “affirms that it is the policy of the United States to support the sovereignty, independence, and territorial integrity of Georgia and the inviolability of its borders and to recognize the areas of Abkhazia and South Ossetia as regions of Georgia occupied by the Russian Federation.”
It also calls on Russia to fully comply with its 2008 ceasefire agreements and urges Moscow, Tskhinvali and Sokhumi “to allow for the full and dignified return of internally-displaced persons and international observer missions.”
The draft also “affirms that the path to lasting stability in this region is through peaceful means and long-term diplomatic and political dialogue.”
Georgia’s Deputy Prime Minister and State Minister for Euro-Atlantic Integration, Giorgi Baramidze, who is now visiting Washington, said that the document “can be called ‘a resolution on occupation’.”
“It will strengthen Georgia’s position in struggle for Georgia’s de-occupation,” Baramidze said.
Georgian Parliamentary Chairman, Davit Bakradze, said on December 10, that the resolution would be “the highest degree of guarantee, both from the political and legal point of view, that the policy and the position of the United States will be very clear-cut” in respect of Georgia and its occupied territories.
“[The resolution means] that this policy and position of the U.S. will be directed only towards de-occupation of Georgia, only towards maintaining Georgia’s territorial integrity and that this policy will not be changed in the future,” Bakradze said in televised remarks.
“Legislative bodies of many other countries will also pass resolution of this kind, which will of course put Russia into a very uncomfortable, morally and politically difficult situation,” MP Petre Tsiskarishvili, the parliamentary majority leader, said on December 10.
Sponsor of the resolution, Sen. Shaheen, together with Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham, is a co-chair of Georgia Task Force at the U.S. think-tank Atlantic Council. This bipartisan task force is expected to produce a report with recommendations for U.S. policy on Georgia.
On December 10 the Atlantic Council held an off-the-record roundtable discussion with Baramidze to discuss, during which he spoke of Georgia’s current priorities in NATO-Georgia relations.
Georgia’s NATO membership was one of the issues, which Baramidze was discussing in Washington.
“We should know the U.S. position on how Georgia can become NATO member. We have already heard from NATO for three times that Georgia will become NATO member and there is no question mark about it anymore. Now we need the U.S. administration’s very clear position” in respect of outlining the concrete steps on how to achieve this goal, Baramidze told Rustavi 2 TV on December 9.