US House Committee on Foreign Affairs Supports Georgia’s Territorial Integrity

Before going on a recess in July this year, the US House of Representative’s Committee on Foreign Affairs passed H.Res.660 which expressed the desire of the House of Representatives to support the territorial integrity of Georgia. In summary, the Resolution introduced on 03/23/2016 supports the US Stimson Doctrine to not recognize territorial changes effected by force, affirming that this policy should continue to guide US foreign policy; and condemns Russia's military intervention and occupation of Georgia and its continuous illegal activities along the occupation line in Abkhazia and Tskhinvali region/South Ossetia. Furthermore, it calls upon Moscow to withdraw its recognition of Georgia's territories of Abkhazia and the Tskhinvali region/South Ossetia as independent countries, and refrain from acts and policies that undermine Georgia's sovereignty and territorial integrity. Additionally, the Resolution urges the United States to declare that it will not recognize Russian de jure or de facto sovereignty over any part of Georgia, including Abkhazia and the Tskhinvali region and, among other points, to deepen cooperation with Georgia, including Georgia's advancement towards Euro-Atlantic integration.

We spoke to one of its co-sponsors, Illinois Representative Peter Roskam, to evaluate its importance and discuss the major points.

Why did you support Resolution-H.Res 660 on Georgia and what is its purpose?

This is a very important resolution and the purpose of the resolution is to get the Russians to back off, and refrain from taking over Georgian territories. Territorial integrity is inextricably linked to the sovereignty of the nation. It is also important because of the close strategic relationship between the US and Georgia- we share a value system, we share a world view, we share strategic interest, and that is why I think this resolution is so important.

How possible is it that the Obama Administration will act on the major statements inside the resolution?

It is hard to predict what is likely to happen in the waning days of the Obama Administration. But it is important for the co-equal branch of the government -US Congress- to tell to the American people, the Administration and their friends in Georgia that we believe territorial integrity matters; it matters that Georgia-South Ossetia and Abkhazia should not be taken over by the Russians; that things should be named for what they are. This is aggression and that aggression should be recognized as aggression before it can be redeemed and replaced.

Are there other mechanisms to have Moscow de-occupy or reverse the recognition of Abkhazia and South Ossetia?

I think Russia has numerous challenges and difficulties. They have bitten off more than they can chew with what they are doing in Ukraine and Georgia, plus the nature of their involvement in Syria. I hope they will come to say, “Let's be good neighbors. Let’s aim for good relations with our neighbors so they look to us for help, and feel esteem as opposed to fear and loathing.”

By Anna Kalandadze, Voice of America Georgian Service

01 August 2016 16:16