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US shares Georgia concerns on Russia: Clinton

by Staff Writers
Berlin (AFP) April 15, 2011
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Friday voiced solidarity with Georgia over its concerns about Russian activities but also urged the pro-Western nation to work toward democracy.

At a meeting between the Georgian and NATO foreign ministers in Berlin, Clinton said the United States was urging Russia at the highest levels to comply with the cease-fire that followed the former Soviet nations' 2008 war.

"US support for Georgia's sovereignty and territorial integrity remains steadfast," said Clinton, who was later scheduled to meet with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

"We share Georgian concerns regarding recent Russian activities that can negatively affect regional stability," she said, according to her prepared remarks.

While Clinton did not elaborate on those activities, Georgia has in recent months detained a series of suspects said to have staged explosions on Russian orders near targets that include the US embassy.

Russia has denied the allegations, calling them a show staged by Georgia.

Clinton voiced support for Georgia's Western aspirations and thanked the country for its contributions in Afghanistan, but also said that President Mikheil Saakashvili must ensure a democratic path.

"There is no more important objective than building upon the democratic gains made thus far," Clinton said.

"We encourage Georgia in particular to adopt election code reforms to ensure a fully democratic transition of power following the 2012 and 2013 elections," she said, referring to parliamentary and presidential votes.

Georgia's opposition has accused Saakashvili of authoritarianism and criticized his handling of the war with Russia.

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