U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, Philip H. Gordon, said that use of term 'occupied' by Washington in reference to Abkhazia and South Ossetia was not meant to be a "provocation," but simply description of situation on the ground.
"Secretary Clinton referred to Russian occupation of Georgia. We don’t know what else to call it," he said while speaking at the Global Security 2011 Forum in Bratislava on March 3.
"We respect Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. We believe that Russia used disproportionate force and remains present in what we consider to be sovereign Georgia. So it’s [use of term 'occupied'] not meant to be a particular provocation, it’s just a description of what we think the situation is," he said and added that the U.S. had been "very active in the Geneva talks and bilaterally with Russia to try to bring about an end to what we consider to be a military occupation."
He made the remarks while responding to a question about Georgia. Responding to the same question, Gordon said that there was no basis for Georgians to think that Washington abandoned its support to Georgia at the expense of its reset policy with Moscow.
"We have some differences with Russia. We’re not shy about expressing them. And one of them is Georgia, and I think we’ve managed to have a better relationship with Russia in lots of important ways but without, as I said here, sacrificing our principles or our friends. Georgia is one of our friends and there are some important principles involved in that relationship," Gordon said.
"We have an intensive and active bilateral relationship. We raise Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity directly with the Russians pretty much every time we see them. We don’t hesitate to do that. We’re clear that we view it as an occupation," he said.