Abkhazia: More Efforts Needed for Conflict Settlement in Georgia Says US
The United States believes Russia is not doing enough to resolve regional conflicts in Georgia, a senior State Department official said Wednesday.
Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Daniel Fried said at a Congress hearing that Russia could do more to help settle the long-running conflicts between the former Soviet republic and its breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.
The White House is hopeful Russia will back the Georgian leadership's plan for a peaceful settlement of the 15-year conflict with South Ossetia and will work toward a solution that respects Georgia's territorial integrity as well as the interests of the South Ossetians, Fried said.
He said UN-sponsored peace talks with Abkhazia, which involve the United States along with Russia and other mediators, had made little progress in recent months, and called on the conflicting sides to take concrete steps in order to advance the negotiating process.
Abkhazia and South Ossetia proclaimed their independence from Georgia following the collapse of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s.
The U.S. supports pro-Western Georgian leader Mikheil Saakashvili, swept into power by the Rose Revolution in 2003, in his efforts to bring the breakaway provinces back into the fold. But his regional policies have strained the ex-Soviet republic's relations with Moscow, which cultivates close ties with both Abkhazia and South Ossetia and has granted Russian citizenship to many of their residents.