A new Senate Resolution (S.Res.391)

A new Senate Resolution (S.Res.391) on the Latest News page under the title “The United States Senate Calls on the President of the United States to Engage in an Open Discussion with the Leaders of the Republic of Georgia”.
Calling on the President of the United States to engage in an open discussion with the leaders of the Republic of Georgia to express support for the planned presidential elections and… (Agreed to by Senate)
SRES 391 ATS
110th CONGRESS
1st Session
S. RES. 391
Calling on the President of the United States to engage in an open discussion with the leaders of the Republic of Georgia to express support for the planned presidential elections and the expectation that such elections will be held in a manner consistent with democratic principles.
IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES
December 6, 2007
Mr. LUGAR (for himself, Mr. BIDEN, and Mr. DODD) submitted the following resolution; which was referred to the Committee on Foreign Relations
December 13, 2007
Committee discharged; considered and agreed to
RESOLUTION
Calling on the President of the United States to engage in an open discussion with the leaders of the Republic of Georgia to express support for the planned presidential elections and the expectation that such elections will be held in a manner consistent with democratic principles. Whereas the Republic of Georgia, which is an emerging democracy strategically located between Turkey and Russia, is an important political and geopolitical ally of the United States;Whereas Georgia has made significant economic progress since 2000, with an economic growth rate that now exceeds 9 percent on an annual basis, and was named the top economic reformer in the world by the World Bank in 2006; Whereas the Government of Georgia has been a leader in addressing the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction under the Nunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction Program; Whereas the Government of Georgia is working to become a candidate for membership in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the European Union;Whereas the United States Government strongly supports the territorial integrity of Georgia and works actively toward a peaceful settlement of the Abkhazia and South Ossetia conflicts that might lead those regions toward greater autonomy within a unified Georgia; Whereas the popular uprising in Georgia in 2003, the Rose Revolution, led to the establishment of democracy in that country;Whereas opposition parties in Georgia engaged in demonstrations lasting several days beginning on November 2, 2007; Whereas the President of Georgia, Mikheil Saakashvili, declared a state of emergency on November 7, 2007, after which the country’s main opposition television station, Imedi, was closed; Whereas Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Matthew Bryza visited Georgia on November 10-11, 2007, and urged the Government of Georgia to reopen its private television stations, stating on Georgian state television: `A cornerstone of democracy is that all TV stations should remain open.’;Whereas President Saakashvili ended emergency rule on November 17, 2007, and announced presidential elections to be held on January 5, 2008; Whereas the Government of Georgia has announced the reopening of the major opposition television station, Imedi; Whereas the Government of Georgia has invited international election monitors to oversee the elections and thereby contribute to greater international recognition of the Georgian political process; and Whereas freedom of the press, freedom of political expression, and a fair and impartial judiciary are among the most fundamental tenets of democracy:
Now, therefore, be it Resolved,
That it is the sense of the Senate that–
(1) the President should publicly state strong support for free
and fair elections to be held in Georgia on January 5, 2008, in accordance with democratic principles; and
(2) the Government of Georgia, in order to restore faith in the democratic evolution of the country–
(A) must conduct free and fair elections, without government interference; and

Statement of Senator Obama on Tensions in the Caucasus Region Between Georgia and Russia.

Chicago, IL — “Over the last several weeks, Russia and Georgia have been engaged in a steadily more dangerous confrontation over two secessionist regions of Georgia — South Ossetia and Abkhazia. Although these territories are located within Georgia’s internationally-recognized borders, the Russian government seems determined to challenge Georgia’s territorial integrity in both places. Developments took an especially provocative turn several days ago when four Russian warplanes violated Georgian airspace close to the Georgian capital for forty minutes.

All parties — Russia first and foremost — must now reduce tensions, avoid the risks of war, and reengage in peaceful negotiations.

As I stated in April of this year, I am committed to upholding the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Georgia. This commitment has long been a fundamental building block of U.S. policy, and it will not change under an Obama Administration. I also affirm Georgia’s right to pursue NATO membership. This aspiration in no way threatens the legitimate defense interests of Georgia’s neighbors.

Only a political settlement can resolve the conflicts over Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Russia needs to roll back the aggressive actions it has taken in the last three months. The Georgian government must resist the temptation to be drawn into a military conflict. All parties must make clear that they are committed to a diplomatic settlement and will not seek to resolve this dispute by force.

The international community must become more active in trying to defuse this confrontation. The fact that Russia has become a party to the conflict means that Russia is not qualified to play the role of a mediator. The visit to Georgia by German Foreign Minister Steinmeier this week was a positive, important step towards establishing a larger role for the European Union. The Euro-Atlantic community must speak with one voice in helping to promote peace in this volatile region. As part of the de-escalation process, a multilateral peacekeeping force must eventually replace the Russian peacekeeping force currently deployed in Abkhazia.”

Senate Passes NATO Freedom Consolidation Act of 2007

The U.S. Senate approved S.494, U.S. Sen. Dick Lugar’s bill that endorses further enlargement of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) by voice vote last night. The “NATO Freedom Consolidation Act of 2007” would facilitate the timely admission of Albania, Croatia, Georgia, Macedonia, and Ukraine to NATO.

The House passed a similar version of the bill on March 6; a technical difference must be resolved between the bills before it can become law.

“The goal of this bill is to reaffirm United States support for continued enlargement of NATO to democracies that are able and willing to meet the responsibilities of membership. In particular, the legislation calls for the timely admission of Albania, Croatia, Georgia, Macedonia, and Ukraine to NATO and authorizes security assistance for these countries in Fiscal Year 2008. Each of these countries has clearly stated its desire to join NATO and is working hard to meet the specified requirements for membership,” Lugar said.

“I believe that eventual NATO membership for these five countries would be a success for Europe, NATO, and the United States by continuing to extend the zone of peace and security. Albania, Croatia, and Macedonia have been making progress on reforms through their participation in the NATO Membership Action Plan since 2002. Unfortunately, Georgia and Ukraine have not yet been granted a Membership Action Plan but nevertheless have made remarkable progress. This legislation will provide important incentives and assistance to the countries to continue the implementation of democratic, defense, and economic reforms.

“Since the end of the Cold War, NATO has been evolving to meet the new security needs of the 21st century. In this era, the threats to NATO members are transnational and far from its geographic borders. There is strong support among members for NATO’s operation in Afghanistan, and for its training mission in Iraq. NATO’s viability as an effective defense and security alliance depends on flexible, creative leadership, as well as the willingness of members to improve capabilities and address common threats,” Lugar said.