Day: August 26, 2008

McCotter Policy Recommendations

Congressman Thaddeus McCotter Central and Eastern Europe Policy Recommendations

*President Bush should publicly urge the European Union to accelerate accession and partnership negotiations with Ukraine and Georgia.

*Congress should authorize a large-scale Foreign Military Financing (FMF) assistance package to CEE countries (possibly authorizing American military advisors to be placed in CEE- with the permission of host countries).

*Congress should authorize qualified, non-NATO CEE allies to receive the same Foreign Military Sales (FMS) preferential treatment as NATO+3 (Australia, Japan, and NZ).

*Congress should authorize additional Economic Support Funding (ESF) to Georgia to repair its damaged infrastructure.

* President Bush has directed the United States Permanent Representative to NATO to use the voice, vote, and influence of the United States at NATO to ensure NATO offers Membership Action Plans (MAP) to Georgia and the Ukraine and indefinitely suspends high level NATO-Russia Council (NRC) meetings, the President and Congress should continue these efforts.

*Congress should enact a series of triggers to end Russia’s PNTR and sanction Russia with Column Two Tariff Rates if they attack a CEE country.

*Congress should enact Representative Chris Smith’s Belarus Democracy Reauthorization Act.

*Eventually, Congress and the President need to agree to classify large-scale, organized cyber attacks against government web sites constitute an act of aggression.

*Convene a Joint Session of Congress for Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili to address the vital importance of maintaining the sovereignty, security, and liberty of the Georgian people and her CEE neighbors.

How to contact your congressman about Russian invasion of Georgia
1. Dial               1-202-225-3121         and you will be connected to the main Congressional switchboard, the operator will answer.
2. Ask the operator to transfer you to your Representative’s office.
3. Your call will be transferred to your congressman’s office, and when the person answers, simply say “Hello, my name is________, I live in_________(name your city), and I would like Congressman________ to sign Congressman McCotter’s letter which invites Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvilli to address a joint session of congress.”
4.  Often, the congressional office will ask for your name and address so the Member of Congress may acknowledge your call by writing you a letter.  Do not worry that you will be asked to justify or explain the policy behind your phone call.  These are routine calls that each office is accustomed to, and it will go smoothly and quickly.

Statement by the President of Georgia

26 August 2008 / 20:10

Statement by the President of Georgia Mikheil Saakashvili

The Russian Federation’s actions are an attempt to militarily annex a sovereign nation-the nation of Georgia. This is in direct violation of international law and imperils the international security framework that has ensured peace, stability, and order for the past 60 years.

Russia’s decision today confirms that its invasion of Georgia was part of a broader, premeditated plan to redraw the map of Europe. Russia today has violated all treaties and agreements that it has previously signed.

Russia’s actions have been condemned in the strongest possible terms by the entire international community, which has reaffirmed its support for Georgia’s territorial integrity. The Government of Georgia is grateful for the world’s support.

The regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia are recognized by international law as being within the borders of Georgia.

Today, by its actions, the Russian Federation is seeking to validate the use of violence,direct military aggression, and ethnic cleansing to forcibly change the borders of a neighboring state.

Russia’s refusal to withdraw its military forces from Georgia-and its attempt to annex two regions of Georgia-is in direct violation of the EU-brokered cease fire to end its invasion and occupation of Georgia.

The two regions in question have been de-populated by conflict and continue to be subject to widespread ethnic cleansing by Russia and its proxies-as confirmed by the United Nations and other international bodies.

These are areas where the local populations- simply because of their nationality – have been chased out, with the direct intervention of the Russian Federation.

The few civilians who remain in these regions have been given Russian passports en masse, in violation of international law and norms, making a mockery of the principle of “right to protect”.

One such expulsion took place in 1993 in Abkhazia. Others took place last week in South Ossetia and in Upper Abkhazia/the Kodori Gorge.

I remind you that before the first conflict, more than 525,000 people livedin Abkhazia. Today less than 150,000 do.

I remind you that ethnic Georgians in South Ossetia have been systematically forced to flee that territory due to Russia’s invasion. The attacks on ethnic Georgians, both inside and outside the conflict zones, are continuing.

The ethnic cleansing is something that the local rebel separatists are proud to announce – and which Russia, through its actions, is attempting to legalize.

Is it legal to remove ethnic groups from their homes using violence and terror?

Is it moral or legal for an ethnically cleansed area to be rewarded with independence by a neighbor?

If intervention in Kosovo was about stopping ethnic cleansing, today’s decision by the Russian Federation is about rewarding and legalizing ethnic cleansing.

Russia has turned logic and morality on its head.

Russia’s decision is therefore a direct and grave challenge to the international order.This a challenge for the entire world. Not just Georgia.

It means that today, annexation and ethnic cleansing have once again become tools of international relations.

If accepted by the international community, it means that foreign-sponsored groups around the world can use violence and ethnic cleansing to achieve their ends.

It means that third parties can arm, sustain and direct those groups in order to change the borders on the world’s map.

Today, it is clear around the world that Russia is acting as an aggressor state.

My appeal to the free world is to condemn and reject Russia’s dangerous and irrational decision – NOT only for Georgia’s sake – but for the sake of preserving the fundamental basis of international law and order.

On behalf of my Government and people, I condemn this reckless act and want to state clearly that the Russian action does not hold any legal value.

As before – and according to international law, Georgia’s territorial integrity and sovereignty is inviolable.

Russia’s aims, method and goals are now clear.

The Russian Federation has used military force to try to dismember my country.

In the days and weeks ahead we will work with the international community to prevent this decision from having any effect on the sovereignty of my country and from further undermining the international order.

Together we must stand united against this aggression and call on you for your assistance and immediate reaction.

This is a test for the entire world and a test for our collective solidarity.

This is the test that we – all free people – must not fail.

My friends, we are all concerned today. And today Georgia counts on your support.

Today a challenge has been posed to all of us.

Today the fate of Europe and the free world is unfortunately being played out in my small country.

But together, we can and we must unite to meet this challenge.

Press Office
of the President of Georgia

Georgian foreign ministry statement

A statement issued by the Georgian Foreign Ministry today says that the fact, stated by Russia, that it does not plan to withdraw its troops from Georgian territory “indicates clearly that the Russian Federation after its attempts of military intervention in Georgia, invasion of a part of Georgian territory and overthrow of the democratically elected government, has decisively chosen ethnic cleansing and destruction of civilian infrastructure with the use of military force as an instrument of its foreign policy.” In addition, it says:

Russian troops are illegally stationed in Poti and its adjacent area located 30 kilometers away from the conflict zone of Abkhazia and 160 kilometers away from the conflict zone of Tskhinvali region.

On 25 August 2008, late at night, drunken Russian servicemen broke into a local plant of the Nikora private company in Poti robbing and raiding it. This fact makes it obvious that the Russian occupation troops present in Georgia have turned into gangs of looters riding roughshod on the civilian population and economic infrastructure. 

The Georgian foreign ministry “calls on the international community to take all measures necessary to prevent the Russian Federation from invading the territory of Georgia, conducting ethnic cleansing and destroying its economy.”

Bildt: Russia has chosen confrontation

Sweden’s foreign minister Carl Bildt writes (my tr.):

That the Russian leadership has chosen this path means it has chosen a policy of confrontation not only with the rest of Europe but also with the international community as a whole.

The decision means that Russia has now opted for a route which will have far-reaching consequences for a long time to come.

Att den ryska statsledningen nu valt denna väg innebär att man valt en politik av konfrontation med icke bara det övriga Europa utan också det internationella samfundet i stort.

Beslutet innebär ett ryskt vägval med genomgripande konsekvenser för lång tid framöver.