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Russian Sanctions On Georgia

Tensions between Georgia and Russia have increased since Georgian authorities arrested four Russian military officers on spying charges. The officers were released and returned to Moscow after mediation efforts by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.

The Russian government nevertheless responded by imposing new sanctions on Georgia. They include a blockade on all transportation and postal links. Russian officials also began documentation checks of Georgians living and working in Russia.

Russia and Georgia should work out their differences amicably says U.S. State Department spokesman Tom Casey:

"There are certainly a number of concerns that these countries have with one another. But we believe that the best way forward would be for them to work together to resolve those differences, and certainly would hope that as part of a resolution of those differences these sanctions and additional measures that have been imposed would be lifted. "

Relations between Russian and Georgia have been troubled since the break-up of the former Soviet Union in the early 1990s. The problems include the unresolved conflicts in the Georgian breakaway regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia.

Daniel Fried, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, said the U.S. supports Georgia's territorial integrity within its internationally recognized borders and calls for the peaceful resolution of the South Ossetia and Abkhazia conflicts in Georgia. "Certainly Russia," said Mr. Fried, "is going to be part of the solution."

The United States is committed to helping Russia and Georgia improve their relations. "We consider ourselves friends of both Georgia and Russia," said State Department spokesman Casey, "and we want the differences that do exist between them to be resolved peacefully."

The preceding was an editorial reflecting the views of the United States Government.