Visiting lawmakers tell Russia to get out of Georgia

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.).

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“In the five years since the August 2008 war between Russia and Georgia, Russian actions, whether by military invasion or economic embargo have continued to threaten Georgian statehood and the free choice of the Georgian people to seek integration into Euro-Atlantic institutions like NATO. We strongly support Georgia's NATO aspirations, and we are grateful for Georgia's contributions to the NATO mission in Afghanistan,” Inhofe said. “We call upon Russia to cease immediately its aggressive actions against Georgia — a country that has successfully had two democratically-elected governments — and is actively engaged in the Geneva International Discussions.”

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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