Uploaded on Aug 16, 2008
Hillary's Full Press Release Statement
Statement by Hillary Clinton on Georgia and Ukraine
I am deeply disturbed by the latest Russian actions regarding Georgia, and Russia's broader policies towards its neighbors.
Several weeks ago I called on NATO to extend a Membership Action Plan (MAP) to Georgia and Ukraine at the Bucharest Summit. I emphasized that this move would be a litmus test for the success of President Bush's leadership of the trans-Atlantic community. My support for MAP was based on the need to send a positive signal to Tbilisi and Kyiv to encourage them to stay on track with their positive reforms as well as to send a signal of our concern to Moscow about the future security of these countries.
I deeply regret President Bush's inability to convince our NATO allies to take this action. This is the first time in memory a U.S. President has traveled to a NATO summit and failed to achieve his publicly proclaimed goals.
Now the Russian government has taken advantage of the lack of unity coming out of the Bucharest Summit to further ratchet up the pressure on young democracies on its borders. Moscow's actions this week to strengthen ties with the separatist regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia undermine the territorial integrity of the state of Georgia and are clearly designed to destabilize the government of President Mikheil Saakashvili.
Georgia is a small democratic state in a turbulent region. It must not be allowed to be undermined. Two weeks ago President Bush sat with President Putin in Sochi just a few kilometers away from the Georgian border. He prided himself on his close working relationship with Vladimir Putin. President Bush should call on the Russian leadership to immediately rescind these steps.
I also call on President Bush to immediately send a senior representative to Tbilisi to show our support for the government of Georgia. The United States should raise this matter in the United Nations Security Council, in a special 26+1 session of NATO's North Atlantic Council (NAC), and in the NATO-Russia Council. Russia needs to hear a unified message from the United States and our European partners about our shared commitment to Georgia's security and territorial integrity.
These are not the only Russian moves that I have found troubling. Senior Russian officials have engaged in a pressure campaign to prevent Ukraine from seeking deeper ties with NATO. President Putin even raised the prospect of retargeting nuclear missiles against Ukraine.
I am not advocating, nor do I envisage, a return to a new Cold War with Russia, which I believe ought to remain in the G-8, where the United States and its allies can together address our growing list of concerns with Moscow. But the current Administration's mishandling of Russian relations has contributed to Moscow's belief that it can do as it pleases. America and its allies can and must do better.
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