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McCain on Georgia

Presidential hopeful John McCain recently gave Georgia’s President Mikheil Saakashvili a call to discuss the accusations that Moscow is attempting to annex parts of Georgia. Below is his statement on the issue.

“I spoke today by phone with Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili about Russia’s moves to undermine Georgian sovereignty over two secessionist regions. Moscow has announced that it will establish governmental links directly with Abkhazia and South Ossetia without the approval of the legitimate Georgian government. Such a move is in violation of international law and deserves strong condemnation by all countries committed to the rule of law.

“No country — not even Russia — has recognized the claims of Abkhaz and South Ossetian leaders to independence. Yet through its latest moves, Russia is furthering its policy of de facto annexation that undermines security and stability in the region. Unfortunately, Russia’s leaders have chosen a course of confrontation rather than cooperation.Some argued against providing a Membership Action Plan (MAP) to Georgia at the recent NATO summit in Bucharest because it might anger Russia. While there was no consensus for MAP for Georgia, Russia chose to act provocatively nevertheless. We must not allow Russia to believe it has a free hand to engage in policies that undermine Georgian sovereignty. Georgia has acted with restraint in its response and should continue to do so. I hope that European leaders, along with international organizations such as the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe and the United Nations, will join in strongly condemning Russia’s move.”