The U.S. House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed on September 8 a resolution supporting Georgia’s territorial integrity and condemning occupation of Georgia’s breakaway regions by Russia.
The resolution, adopted by a vote of 410-6, “urges the United States Government to declare unequivocally that the United States will not recognize de jure or de facto sovereignty of the Russian Federation over any part of Georgia, its airspace, or its territorial waters, including Abkhazia and the Tskhinvali region/South Ossetia under any circumstances.”
In this respect, the resolution refers to the Stimson Doctrine – non-recognition of territorial changes executed by force – and recalls that the doctrine was also applied in 1940 to three Baltic states and “every Presidential administration of the United States honored this doctrine until independence was restored to those countries in 1991.”
The non-binding resolution “Expressing the sense of the House of Representatives to support the territorial integrity of Georgia” was introduced by Congressman Ted Poe, who co-chairs the Congressional Georgia Caucus, in March and was co-sponsored by 33 members of the House of Representatives.
“The Russian Federation’s policy vis-à-vis Georgia and the alarming developments in the region illustrate that Moscow does not accept the independent choice of sovereign states and strives for the restoration of zones of influence in the region, including through the use of force, occupation, factual annexation, and other aggressive acts,” reads the resolution.
It “condemns the military intervention and occupation of Georgia by the Russian Federation and its continuous illegal activities along the occupation line in Abkhazia and Tskhinvali region/South Ossetia.”
The resolution calls on Russia “to withdraw its recognition of Georgia’s territories of Abkhazia and the Tskhinvali region/South Ossetia”, which Moscow recognized as independent states in August, 2008 after war with Georgia.
It also calls on Russia “to refrain from acts and policies that undermine the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Georgia, and to take steps to fulfill all the terms and conditions of the August 12, 2008, Ceasefire Agreement.”
The resolution “stresses the necessity of progress on core issues” within the Geneva International Discussions, which were launched after the August 2008 war, “including a legally binding pledge from Russia on the non-use of force, the establishment of international security arrangements in the occupied regions of Georgia, and the safe and dignified return of internally displaced persons and refugees to the places of their origin.”
The resolution “urges the United States Administration to deepen cooperation with Georgia in all areas of the United States-Georgia Charter on Strategic Partnership [signed in 2009], including Georgia’s advancement towards Euro-Atlantic integration”.
It also urges the U.S. administration “to place emphasis on enhancing Georgia’s security through joint military trainings and providing self-defensive capabilities in order to enhance Georgia’s independent statehood and national sovereignty.”
Republican Congressman Ted Poe, who introduced the resolution, said that “the illegal Russian occupation of Georgia is not a simple matter of territory.”
“It is an attack on ideas; it is an assault of the very freedoms and liberties we hold dear. This resolution states that without a doubt, our friends in Georgia and the region must know that the U.S. will not waiver in its longstanding support for its allies in the face of the Napoleon of Siberia,” he said.