Condoleezza Rice, the U.S. Secretary of State, said she called her Russian counterpart, Sergey Lavrov on April 18 to express concern over Russia’s decision to establish legal links with breakaway Abkhazia and South Ossetia.
“We are very concerned about the [Russian] presidential decree that was issued,” she told journalists in Washington on Friday just before the meeting with Estonian President Toomas Hendrik Ilves. “I have spoken with Foreign Minister Lavrov this morning. I spoke yesterday with President Saakashvili of Georgia. The United States is absolutely committed to the territorial integrity of Georgia. We believe that there should be an effort to carry out the plans that the Georgians have talked about to try and deal with Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Obviously, the people of those regions need to have a good life and Georgia needs to provide for them. But we are very concerned at the steps that have been taken and we have made our views known to the Russian Government.”
Also on April 18 the U.S. Department of State issued a written statement saying that Russia’s move “challenges Georgia’s territorial integrity and would not be in keeping with Russia’s status as a “facilitator” of the peace process.”
“We urge Russia to live up to its statements of support for the principles of Georgian sovereignty and territorial integrity and to repeal the April 16 instructions. We call on all parties to pursue a peaceful resolution of the separatist conflicts in Georgia,” the statement said.