U.S. Senators Initiate Resolution on Georgia

Senator Roger Wicker (Rep.) and Senator Ben Cardin (Dem.) introduced a resolution in support of Georgia’s territorial integrity on March 30.

The non-binding resolution, which was referred to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, “urges the United States Government to declare unequivocally that the United States will not under any circumstances recognize the de jure or de facto sovereignty of the Russian Federation over any part of Georgia, its airspace, or its territorial waters, including Abkhazia and the Tskhinvali region/South Ossetia.”

The resolution refers to the Stimson Doctrine – non-recognition of territorial changes effected by force – and recalls that the doctrine was also applied in 1940 to three Baltic states and “every Presidential administration of the United States honored this doctrine until independence was restored to those countries in 1991.”

The draft resolution urges the U.S. President to “deepen cooperation with the Government of Georgia in all areas of the United States-Georgia Charter on Strategic Partnership, including Georgia’s advancement towards Euro-Atlantic integration” and urges the President “to place emphasis on enhancing Georgia’s security through joint military training and providing self-defensive capabilities in order to enhance Georgia’s independent statehood and national sovereignty.”

“The Russian Federation’s policy vis-a-vis Georgia and the alarming developments in the region illustrate that the Government of the Russian Federation does not accept the independent choice of sovereign states and strives for the restoration of zones of influence in the region, including through the use of force, occupation, factual annexation, and other aggressive acts,” the document reads.

The draft resolution “condemns the military intervention and occupation of Georgia by the Russian Federation and its continuous illegal activities along the occupation line in Abkhazia and Tskhinvali region/South Ossetia” and calls upon the Russian Federation “to withdraw its recognition of Georgia’s territories of Abkhazia and the Tskhinvali region/South Ossetia as independent countries, to refrain from acts and policies that undermine the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Georgia, and to take steps to fulfill all the terms and conditions of the August 12, 2008, Ceasefire Agreement between Georgia and the Russian Federation.”

The resolution also “stresses the necessity of progress on core issues within the Geneva International Discussions, including a legally binding pledge from the Government of the Russian Federation on the non-use of force, the establishment of international security arrangements in the occupied regions of Georgia, and the safe and dignified return of internally displaced persons and refugees to the places of their origin.”

Senator Roger Wicker, who co-sponsored the resolution, said that “it is time for the United States to make it clear once again that we do not recognize Russian land grabs within its neighbors’ borders.” “Russia should adhere to the cease-fire agreement it signed in 2008, withdraw its troops from Georgia, and allow international monitors and aid workers access to occupied regions.”

“Russia’s violation of the territorial integrity of Georgia is a blatant breach of one of the guiding principles of the Helsinki Final Act by Russia. This reflects a broader pattern of disregard by Putin’s regime for transatlantic security norms and democratic values, which the United States and our allies must stand against with resolve,” said Senator Ben Cardin, who is a Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. “Georgia is a strong partner of the United States and continues to take important steps to further integrate with the transatlantic community,” he added.

A similar document was endorsed by the House of Representatives in September 2016.