By Julian Pecquet - 01/21/14 02:42 PM EST
A delegation of U.S. lawmakers told Russia to get out of Georgia during a visit to the former Soviet republic.
The visit comes as Russia has recently begun erecting fences between Georgia and territories Russia occupied after a brief war in 2008. The fences have sparked the ire of Congress and the Obama administration.
“We want to issue a clear condemnation of Russia's continued occupation of Georgian territory and recent efforts to move the line of occupation deeper into Georgian territory, all of which constitute threats to Georgian sovereignty,” Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), the top Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee, said in Tbilisi.
He is accompanied on the delegation by Sen. John Boozman (R-Ark.) and Reps. Ander Crenshaw (R-Fla.), Steve Pearce (R-N.M.) and Ann Kirkpatrick (D-Ariz.).
The Geneva International Discussions aim to find a settlement for the Russian-occupied breakaway republics of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, whose claims of independence sparked the 2008 war.
The delegation met with Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili on Sunday and spoke to him about the territorial security needs of the country. Earlier in the day, the congressional delegation met with President Giorgi Margvelashvili and had a separate meeting with the leaders of the United National Movement, Georgia's opposition party.
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