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5 Aug, 2009 05:57

“No recognition for S. Ossetia and Abkhazia”

Washington had not ruled out supplying defensive weapons to President Saakashvili’s government. That's according to the US Assistant Secretary of Defense Alexander Vershbow.

He made the statement during a Senate hearing on aid to Georgia. Vershbow also said the US will never recognize the sovereignty of the republics of South Ossetia and Abkhazia and will urge other countries to do the same.

A year on from the conflict between Georgia and South Ossetia, which Tbilisi tried to bring back under its control, discomfort with the outcome of the conflict still remains high – especially in the US capitol.

“I want to make clear, just as the Vice President did, that Georgia has more work to do in strengthening its democracy. There is no military option for the reintegration of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Georgia should focus instead on political and economic reforms that will make it in time more attractive to the people in those regions,” said Assistant Secretary of State Philip Gordon.

Lawmakers are hoping the one billion dollars the US pledged to Georgia will give what they think is a needed push.

A year since the war’s end, recent tensions in South Ossetia have US lawmakers and state department officials expressing their worries, saying there is no military solution to this problem. Nonetheless, they continue to state their allegiance to Georgia as a friend and ally, whom they can help.

So where else could the money go?

“Our support has been particularly critical in helping Georgian defense structures move closer to euro-Atlantic standards. The department of defense has not provided lethal military assistance to Georgia since last August. We have, however, identified some key areas where Georgia’s armed forces would benefit from US support,” stated Alexander Vershbow.

A reset with Russia is also at the top of Washington’s agenda – and military assistance to Georgia is no way to ease tensions. Would they choose one over the other?

Philip Gordon says there is no choice to be made:

“The desire to have more constructive and practical relations with Russia in no way comes at the expense of our principles or our friends.”

However, these are words some do not believe.

“I think behind the scenes, support has evaporated. You have to keep up a good face, but I think the US really should take a pause,” believes the Director of the Center on Peace & Liberty at The Independent Institute Ivan Eland.