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The U.S. Congress has called upon the Russian Federation to withdraw Russian troops from Georgia's occupied territories

Friday, September 21
On the 19th of September 2012, the House of Representatives of the United States Congress unilaterally adopted a Resolution on Georgia (Resolution 526), by which the members of the U.S. Congress reaffirm their unwavering support for Georgia's sovereignty and territorial integrity, and call upon Russia to end the occupation of the Georgian territories of South Ossetia and Abkhazia and to immediately withdraw Russian troops from these territories.

The U.S. Congress supports the United States' strengthened engagement whose aim is to help Georgia enhance its security and restore its territorial integrity. Resolution 526 outlines the importance of continued American support and assistance for the development of democratic institutions in Georgia and for the implementation of relevant measures. The U.S. House of Representatives also recognizes Georgia's aspiration to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).

The Resolution was initiated by Congressman Bill Shuster (Republican) and Congresswoman Allyson Schwartz (Democrats). Congressman Shuster noted that he 'was proud to sponsor this resolution along with [Congresswoman Schwartz]. The adoption of this resolution is timely, with parliamentary elections due to take place in Georgia on the 1st of October. Our strategic partnership with Georgia is based upon shared values and common interests.'

The Resolution is the first bill passed by the U.S. House of Representatives to mention the occupation of the Georgian territories and to call upon Russia to fulfill all terms and conditions of the Ceasefire Agreement of the 12th of August 2008. The Resolution recognizes that the conflict must be resolved through exclusively peaceful means and calls upon those countries which have recognized the so-called "independence" of Abkhazia and South Ossetia to reverse their decision to do so. The House of Representatives calls upon the Russian Federation and the proxy regimes in the occupied territories to ensure the dignified, secure and voluntary return of internally displaced persons.

The Congressmen support the Georgian government's commitment to a policy of peaceful and constructive engagement towards the occupied territories.

The House of Representatives recognizes the progress Georgia has made in terms of transparency and economic reform and encourages Georgia to continue its efforts to strengthen its democracy by implementing reforms that expand media transparency and freedoms, increase government accountability, political competition, democratic electoral processes and judicial independence. (MFA)