President George W. Bush says the United States strongly supports the efforts of France, which currently holds the presidency of the European Union, to broker an agreement to end the conflict between Russia and Georgia:
“The United States of America stands with the democratically elected government of Georgia. We insist that the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Georgia be respected. Russia has stated that changing the government of Georgia is not its goal. The United States and the world expect Russia to honor that commitment.”
President Bush noted that Russia has stated that it has halted military operations and agreed to a provisional ceasefire:
“Unfortunately, we're receiving reports of Russian actions that are inconsistent with these statements. We're concerned about reports that Russian units have taken up positions on the east side of the city of Gori, which allows them to block the East-West Highway, divide the country, and threaten the capital of Tbilisi. We're concerned about reports that Russian forces have entered and taken positions in the port city of Poti, that Russian armored vehicles are blocking access to that port, and that Russia is blowing up Georgian vessels. We're concerned about reports that Georgian citizens of all ethnic origins are not being protected.”
To demonstrate U.S. solidarity with the Georgian people and to help bring about a peaceful resolution of the conflict, President Bush is sending U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to France, where she will confer with President Sarkozy. Then she will travel to Tbilisi, where she will personally convey America's unwavering support for Georgia's democratic government. The U.S. Defense Department has begun to transport humanitarian assistance to the people of Georgia. "We expect Russia to honor its commitment to let in all forms of humanitarian assistance," said President Bush.
President Bush said the U.S. has supported Russia's efforts to integrate into the diplomatic, political, economic, and security structures of the 21st century. Russia's actions in Georgia, he said, are putting those aspirations at risk. "To begin to repair the damage to its relations with the United States, Europe, and other nations, and to begin restoring its place in the world, Russia," said President Bush, "must act to end this crisis."