Cheney Reaffirms Commitment to Georgia Joining NATO
“Georgia will be in our alliance,” Cheney told reporters, according to the Associated Press. He also called Moscow’s military incursion into the breakaway province of South Ossetia an “illegitimate, unilateral attempt” to redraw Russia’s borders to include the province.
“America will do its duty to work with the governments of Georgia and our other friends and allies to protect our common interests and to uphold our values,” Cheney said in the capital Tbilisi. “Russia’s actions have cast grave doubts on Russia’s intentions and on its reliability as an international partner.”
Russia has said it fought back against Georgia’s attempts to take control of the breakaway enclave and commit genocide when it dispatched military forces to the region in early August.
Cheney’s comments came during a tour of U.S. allies in the region that started Wednesday in Azerbaijan.
The United States also pledged a $1 billion commitment to help Georgia recover from its war with Russia.
Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili said Georgia was grateful for the aid and committed to a peaceful resolution in its longstanding dispute with the breakaway provinces of South Ossetia and Abkhazia.
Cheney was briefed on humanitarian efforts and watched the unloading of supplies from a C130 transport aircraft.
He next travels to Ukraine, another former Soviet country seeking NATO membership. His visit comes at a time of political trouble in the nation. President Viktor Yushchenko announced Wednesday that Kiev’s coalition government had collapsed and threatened to call snap parliamentary elections, according to Reuters.