Secretary Clinton said yesterday that the United States is “steadfast” in its commitment to Georgia’s sovereignty and called on Russia to end its occupation of Georgia. In a news conference with Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili in Tbilisi she said:
The United States is steadfast in its commitment to Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. The United States does not recognize spheres of influence.
“Spheres of influence” refers to Russian President Dmitry Medvedev’s belief that Russia ought to have special influence in the former Soviet republics.
Clinton called on Russia to end the occupation, saying:
We continue to call for Russia to abide by the August 2008 cease-fire commitment signed by President Saakashvili and President Medvedev, including ending the occupation and withdrawing Russian troops from South Ossetia and Abkhazia to their pre-conflict positions.
During Clinton’s visit, she and Saakashvili appeared to get along quite well. The two took a stroll together, as seen below, and in the oldest section of Tbilisi, as soon above, they stopped at a cafe to toast with Georgian wine — a Teliani Valley satrapezo.
(For some reason, the photo of the two strolling isn’t showing up, but you can check it out by clicking here.)