A senior U.S. Department of States official said on May 10, that Washington had been “very active in preventing any further” international recognition of Georgia’s breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.
Philip Gordon, the U.S. assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs, told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on upcoming NATO Chicago summit, that apart of Russia only few other countries have recognized these two regions.
“In that sense we believe we have denied Russia any legitimization that they have tried to have over South Ossetia and Abkhazia,” Gordon said.
The U.S. Assistant Secretary of State made these remarks after he was asked by Republican Senator James Risch whether Russia would fulfill its commitments under the 2008 six-point ceasefire agreement with Georgia.
“It’s almost as if the international community understands the commitments that the Russians have made regarding Georgia, but no one really expects them to meet those commitments. As I can read between the lines of what you were saying was almost a reiteration of that,” Senator Risch said, apparently referring to Gordon’s remarks made in his prepared testimony before the committee in which he said that the U.S. and other NATO allies “disagree fundamentally” with Russia over Georgia and continued “to urge Russia to meet its commitments with respect to Georgia.”
“I won’t pretend it is easy to find a way to get Russia to meet those commitments,” Gordon responded to the Senator’s question. “We completely agree with your assessment that Russia is currently in violation of the ceasefire agreement.”
“We’ve also been clear and Secretary Clinton has referred to Russia’s occupation of Georgia – not meant to be provocative, but to simply describe what we believe to be the case, which is Russia having military forces within the territorial boundaries of internationally recognized country,” Gordon said.
“We’ve also maintained, not just rhetorically and formally support for Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, but genuine support for the country of Georgia,” he continued, adding that this support most recently was manifested in a visit President Saakashvili paid to President Obama in the Oval Office in January, during which the U.S. committed itself to strengthen economic and defense cooperation with Georgia.
In his prepared testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Gordon said that the U.S. continued security assistance to Georgia to support its defense reforms, to train and equip Georgian troops for participation in ISAF operations and to advance its NATO interoperability. He also said that during the meeting in Washington the presidents of the two countries “agreed to enhance this cooperation to advance Georgian military modernization, defense reform, and self defense capabilities.”
“U.S. assistance programs provide additional support to ongoing democratic and economic reform efforts in Georgia, a critical part of Georgia’s Euro-Atlantic aspirations, where they have made important strides,” he said.
“U.S. support for Georgia’s territorial integrity within its internationally recognized borders remains steadfast, and our non-recognition of the separatist regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia will not change,” he added.