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Public Statements

Expressing Sense of House Toward Establishment of a Democratic and Prosperous Republic of Georgia

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. SMITH of New Jersey, Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to support H. Res. 526, which calls for the establishment of a democratic and prosperous Republic of Georgia and a peaceful and just resolution of Georgia's conflict with its breakaway regions, Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

Our country has always backed Georgia's territorial integrity. After Russia's 2008 invasion of Georgia, Moscow essentially truncated Georgia by recognizing the independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Tellingly, no other OSCE state--not even former Soviet republics economically dependent on Russia--has followed Moscow's example, understanding well the danger of the precedent. Secretary Clinton has designated Russia's policy in Abkhazia and South Ossetia as ``occupation.'' Indeed, Moscow has pursued the ongoing militarization of these regions, which are clearly Georgian territory.

In a remarkable admission, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on August 8 that Russia had a contingency plan as early as 2006-2007 for war with Georgia and that Moscow had even trained militiamen in South Ossetia. As Georgia's Foreign Ministry notes, Putin's acknowledgement contradicts ``Russia's earlier assertions that its 2008 military attack was in response to a surprise attack from Georgia and that its invasion was meant to prevent genocide and protect Russian citizens. It also underscores the premeditated nature of the invasion and highlights Moscow's utter disregard for international law.''

The United States will continue to back Georgia's territorial integrity. I stand with Georgia's Government in calling on Russia to remove its occupying forces and pledge not to use force against Georgia. I also note with concern the troubling military exercises Russia has scheduled to coincide with Georgia's parliamentary elections in October in a blatant attempt at intimidation.

The upcoming election will be a critical moment in Georgia's democratic development. I hope the OSCE will be able to assess the election as free and fair. The United States stands ready to help Georgia progress towards democracy, as H. Res. 526 demonstrates.

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