U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney said Thursday the United States firmly backs NATO membership for Georgia, telling Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili that America will help his country rebuild its democracy and economy after last month’s conflict with Russia.
One year after Russian tanks rolled into the former Soviet republic of Georgia, the conflict that erupted over a breakaway territory continues to stoke tensions in the region, with repercussions around the world. Earlier this month, Georgia and the Russian-backed enclave of South Ossetia accuse each other of violating a cease-fire that ended the brief conflict.
The former Soviet republic of Georgia and one of its breakaway territories, Russia-backed South Ossetia, accused each other of violating the cease-fire that ended last year’s Russian-Georgian war, days before the conflict’s anniversary. The European Union, which monitors the boundary in place since the 2008 conflict, said on Tuesday it had not seen any evidence to confirm either side’s claims but expressed concern about the allegations. “The EU urges all sides to refrain from any statement or action that may lead to increased tensions at this particularly sensitive time,” the union said in a statement issued Tuesday
Georgia’s government has called Tuesday’s mutiny at a military base near Tbilisi part of a coup attempt orchestrated by Russia, but opponents of beleaguered President Mikheil Saakashvili accuse him of using the incident to crack down on mounting domestic opposition. Soldiers in tanks and armored personnel carriers raced to the base in Mukhrovani, 20 miles from the capital, to confront mutinous soldiers, about 500 of whom were arrested after the standoff ended peacefully