Democratic U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen and Republican Senator Lindsay Graham introduced a draft resolution supporting Georgia’s territorial integrity and calling on Russia to withdraw troops to pre-August, 2008 war positions.
The draft is slightly amended from the initial one, which was referred to the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations in December by Senator Shaheen, but in essence the document remains the same, recognizing Abkhazia and South Ossetia as regions “occupied by the Russian Federation”.
Among the amendments introduced in the new draft are references to some of the new developments such as remarks by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at the April 15, 2011 meeting in Berlin between the Foreign Ministers of NATO and Georgia in which she said that she shared Georgia’s concerns regarding “recent Russian activities that can negatively affect regional stability.” The draft also makes a reference to the Russian Foreign Minister’s visits to Sokhumi and Tskhinvali in April.
In one of the amendment the new draft changes term “de facto” in reference to the authorities in breakaway regions with “the authorities in control in the regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia” – a wording used by the Georgian government in its State Strategy on Occupied Territories.
“It’s been nearly three years since war broke out in the South Caucasus between Russia and Georgia, yet Russian troops still occupy Georgia’s Abkhazia and South Ossetia regions. Long-term peace and stability in this strategically important region is vital to American economic, security, and diplomatic interests,” Senator Shaheen said.
“Russia’s invasion of Georgian land in 2008 was an act of aggression not only to Georgia, but to all new democracies. I will continue to stand by Georgia to make sure this young democracy moves forward and becomes a shining example of what can happen after the fall of the Soviet Union,” Senator Graham said.
The both Senators are co-chair of Georgia Task Force at the U.S. think-tank Atlantic Council - a bipartisan group aimed at promoting policy debate on Georgia.
Georgian Ambassador to the United States, Temur Yakobashvili, hailed the draft resolution saying that “the serious political support, lack of which we have not been experiencing even previously, is now ten-fold stronger.”
“The text [of the draft resolution] stresses that it is not about the conflicts in Georgia, but about one conflict between Russia and Georgia,” Yakobashvili said in televised remarks.