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Rice On Russia And Georgia


Rice On Russia And Georgia
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said in a recent speech that the causes of the conflict between Russia and Georgia – particularly the dispute between Georgia and its breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia – are complex, and that all sides made “mistakes and miscalculations.”

None of these mistakes and miscalculations, however, justifies Russia’s decision to launch a full-scale invasion across an internationally recognized border that displaced thousands of innocent civilians from their homes. Russia’s leaders, said Secretary Rice, established a military occupation that stretched deep into Georgian territory and violated a ceasefire agreement that had been negotiated by French and European Union President Nikolas Sarkozy:

“Other actions of Russia during this crisis have also been deeply disconcerting: its alarmist allegations of ‘genocide’ by Georgian forces, its baseless statements about U.S. actions during the conflict, its attempt to dismember a sovereign country by recognizing Abkhazia and South Ossetia, its talk of having ‘privileged interests’ in how it treats its independent neighbors, and its refusal to allow international monitors and N-G-Os into Abkhazia and South Ossetia, despite ongoing militia violence and retribution against innocent Georgians.”

Secretary of State Rice said that Russia’s actions in Georgia “fit into a worsening pattern of behavior”:

“I’m referring, among other things, to Russia’s intimidation of its sovereign neighbors, its use of oil and gas as a political weapon, its unilateral suspension of the C-F-E [Conventional Forces in Europe] Treaty, its threat to target peaceful nations with nuclear weapons, its arms sales to states and groups that threaten international security, and its persecution – and worse – of Russian journalists, and dissidents, and others. The picture emerging from this pattern of behavior is that of a Russia increasingly authoritarian at home and aggressive abroad.”

Russia’s invasion of Georgia, said Secretary of State Rice, has achieved – and will achieve – no enduring strategic objective. The goal of the United States, she said, is to “make clear to Russia’s leaders that their choices could put Russia on a one-way path to self-imposed isolation and international irrelevance.”
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