U.S. Senate calls on Russia to pull out from Abkhazia, S. Ossetia

The U.S. Senate unanimously adopted last Friday a resolution calling on Russia to respect Georgia’s territorial integrity and to withdraw its troops from Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

Relations between Russia and Georgia have been sour since a five-day war between the two former Soviet countries in August 2008, which began when Georgian forces attacked the breakaway republic of South Ossetia in an attempt to bring it back under central control.

Russia recognized South Ossetia and another breakaway Georgian republic, Abkhazia, as independent states two weeks after the conflict. Georgia considers the two regions part of its sovereign territory.

The U.S. Senate resolution “calls upon the Government of Russia to take steps to fulfill all the terms and conditions of the 2008 ceasefire agreements between Georgia and Russia, including returning military forces to pre-war positions and ensuring access to international humanitarian aid to all those affected by the conflict.”

The document also recognizes Abkhazia and South Ossetia as regions of Georgia “occupied by the Russian Federation.”

Georgia hailed on Saturday the U.S. resolution saying that the document created “a serious basis for future actions.”

Tbilisi took a case against Russia to the International Court of the UN in August 2008 over alleged discrimination by Russia against the Georgian population of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, but the court ruled in April 2011 that the case was outside its competence.

Russia is unlikely to respond to U.S. calls for withdrawal from Abkhazia and South Ossetia as it considers Georgia’s territorial claims illegitimate and continues to strengthen ties with both republics.

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