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Impact of US Senate support to Georgia

By Messenger Staff
Tuesday, August 2
On July 29, 2011, the eve of the third anniversary of the Russian invasion of Georgia, the US Senate unanimously adopted a resolution supporting Georgia’s territorial integrity and described Abkhazia and South Ossetia as territories occupied by the Russian Federation. Georgian leadership immediately hailed this decision as crucial support from the USA. It has been seen as further confirmation of the violation of Georgia's territorial integrity and expressly demands territorial de-occupation and other concrete steps. Resolution S.RES 175 was initiated jointly by Democratic Senator Jeanne Shaheen and Republican Lindsey Graham, Co-Chairs of the bi-partisan Atlantic Council Task Force on Georgia, in Washington. The Resolution is slightly different from the draft copy submitted to the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee in December 2010, but remains very clear in its stance towards Russia demanding a return of its armed forces to their positions prior to the 2008 conflict.

The change in the text concerns the terminologies on leadership of the separatist regions. In the draft project the term used was "de facto" whereas in the adopted version the term used is "controlling force" which is also used by the Georgian Government.

The US senators highlight the unstable situation of the region caused by Russian armed forces that continue to occupy Abkhazia and South Ossetia. The Resolution demands firmly and categorically that the Russians ensure a dignified return of refugees to their places of origin and allow international missions to work in the occupied territories. It shows clearly that conflict resolution in the South Caucasus region has become one of the priorities of US foreign policy for establishing regional stability. Georgian officials have expressed their satisfaction with the tone and the content of the document; however the Russian political establishment articulated its utmost irritation against the Senate Resolution. Their comments were either cynical or insulting, expressing their surprise at how they could be occupiers when they have recognized the independence of the breakaway territories. Recently US policy has been interpreted by Moscow as turning a blind eye to the Caucasus and in particular to Georgia. The Kremlin thought that the US would not object to the so-called "new reality" in the South Caucasus and would agree on the existence of so-called "new states" on Georgia's territory, occupied by Russian military forces. Georgian officials and politicians express their belief that sooner or later Moscow has to withdraw from Georgia’s territory. All Georgians hope the same.