Cheney vows backing for Georgia, condemns Russia



September 4, 2008 at 2:35 PM EDT

TBILISI U.S. Vice-President Dick Cheney vowed on Thursday to stand by Georgia in its showdown with Russia, calling Moscow's war against the ex-Soviet state an illegitimate act that cast doubt on its reliability.

Mr. Cheney, one of Moscow's harshest critics, is the highest ranking U.S. official to visit Georgia since Tbilisi tried to retake the breakaway region of South Ossetia by force in early August and was overwhelmed by the Russian military.

His typically strong comments may rile the Kremlin. Moscow has accused Washington of fuelling tensions by egging on Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili, a U.S.-educated lawyer with close ties to President George W. Bush's administration.

"After your nation won its freedom in the Rose Revolution, America came to the aid of this courageous young democracy," Mr. Cheney said, referring to the peaceful revolution in 2003 which brought Mr. Saakashvili to power.

"We are doing so again as you work to overcome an invasion of your sovereign territory and an illegitimate, unilateral attempt to change your country's borders by force that has been universally condemned by the free world," Mr. Cheney said, standing next to Mr. Saakashvili on his first visit to Tbilisi.

Russian officials did not respond to the criticism from Mr. Cheney and have been dismissive about his presence in the region. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Wednesday he was not paying much attention to Mr. Cheney's trip.

Mr. Cheney, on a tour of U.S. allies in the region that started in Azerbaijan and continued in Ukraine late on Thursday, said Russia's actions had cast "grave doubt" on its intentions and reliability as a partner in the region and internationally.

Azerbaijan and Georgia are links in a Western-backed energy corridor, bypassing Russia, which the West fears could be in jeopardy following the Kremlin's military thrust into Georgia.

Moscow has said it acted in Georgia to prevent "genocide" when Tbilisi launched its military push into pro-Russian South Ossetia on Aug. 7. The Kremlin subsequently recognized South Ossetia and a second rebel region, Abkhazia, as independent states, drawing condemnation from Washington and Europe.

Only Nicaragua has followed Moscow's example in recognizing the two provinces. In a setback for Russia, its ex-Soviet security allies in the Collective Security Treaty Organization stopped short of doing so on Thursday, although they did blame Georgia for the conflict.

Russia has kept troops in a "buffer zone" on Georgian territory, a move the United States and European Union say violates a French-brokered peace plan. Moscow denies that and says the troops are needed to provide security.

However, Moscow says it will withdraw from the buffer zone once a mechanism for deploying international monitors is agreed and has invited EU police to participate.

Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini said after talks with Mr. Lavrov in Moscow that it was in Europe's interests "that the international mission assumes full control of the security zone as quickly as possible".

Military monitors from the OSCE, a pan-European security body, gained brief access to the buffer zone adjacent to South Ossetia on Thursday for the first time since the conflict, a Reuters reporter at the scene said.

Mr. Cheney reiterated support for Georgia's bid to join NATO, calling it a defensive alliance that posed no threat to Russia.

He said he had assured Mr. Saakashvili in one-on-one talks that lasted over an hour of the U.S. commitment to keeping the rebel regions within Georgia.

Mr. Cheney urged a peaceful resolution of the dispute, saying long-term regional security was at stake.

After the conflict erupted, Mr. Cheney said that Russian actions would not go unanswered. But Washington has yet to announce any sanctions such as scrapping a lucrative civilian nuclear deal.

On Wednesday Washington announced aid of more than $1-billion to help Georgia rebuild housing, transportation and other infrastructure destroyed in its five-day war with Russia.

The United States is also sending relief supplies aboard the Mount Whitney, a sophisticated command warship of the U.S. Sixth Fleet. It could arrive off Georgia as early as Friday.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has accused Washington of delivering weapons to Georgia by sea an accusation rejected by the White House as ridiculous.

Mr. Cheney later arrived in Ukraine, like Georgia an ex-Soviet country with NATO ambitions that is traversing turbulent times.

President Viktor Yushchenko, with whom Mr. Cheney was due to dine, announced on Wednesday that Kiev's coalition government had collapsed and threatened to call a snap parliamentary vote.

It would be the third election in as many years since the 2004 Orange Revolution swept Mr. Yushchenko to power on a promise of greater integration with the West.




Ottawa Mens, from Ottawa Canada's corruption Capital, Canada) wrote: Cheney is a Ghost from the Cold War with more improper motives than you can count. Pump a billion dollars into a "little country" and it will generate a "cargo cult" mentality which is exactly what the United States wishes to achieve.

Money can buy prostitutes, criminals and mass murderers. It takes a lot more to earn respect and its really amazing that it takes to "earn respect".

Cheny and the USA are doing the exact opposite, right now, they "think" they are winning the propaganda war and back home in the Ignorant States the average person has seen more of Borat than Misha who looks just like another figment of a Hollywood script writers imagination.

In newspapers that provide real feedback, you can see that the American propaganda is not believed, an increasing portion of the world is becoming aware of the true facts, not the politically correct horsemanure coming from Washington.

Unfortunately, Misha and Hitler are mass murderers. Denying that is equally as wrong as denying the holocaust. Mishas genocidal invasion of Sth. Ossetia targeted, wiped out the Jewish quarter, thats something Israel should think about before he accepts that One Billion dollars that Georgia now has to spend.

The world takes a dim view of those who deny the holocaust and it the news of Bush's use of Misha to commit mass murder and genocide of hundreds of people has yet to hit the American press.

Its election time and nothing else matters except appearing strong and to do that you engage in the utter modern stupidity of sending a fair chunk of the most deadly warships on the planet to create a confrontation with the worlds second superpower.

The world's press is slowly coming to life and seeing the real facts.
Take DeSpigel and most interestingly, Australia's former Prime Minister from 1975 to 1983 who wrote in the age "America has lost its way in the world"