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Cheney Condemns Russia’s ‘Illegitimate, Unilateral’ Aggression

By John J. Kruzel
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Sept. 4, 2008 – Vice President Richard B. Cheney arrived in Georgia today, delivering “a message of friendship” from the U.S. and condemning Russia’s “illegitimate, unilateral” aggression against the former Soviet republic last month.

“Americans are acutely conscious of the great trials your country has faced over the last four weeks, and we stand in solidarity with the people of Georgia,” Cheney said at a news conference in the Georgian capital of Tbilisi.

Russian forces invaded Georgia last month and continue to maintain a military presence there in defiance of a cease-fire deal reached Aug. 13. Moscow further angered the international community last week when it officially recognized the Georgian regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia as independent states.

Cheney said the United States is coming to Georgia’s aid as it works to recover from the Russian invasion and its “illegitimate, unilateral attempt to change your country's borders by force that has been universally condemned by the free world.”

“Now, it is the responsibility of the free world to rally to the side of Georgia,” the vice president said.

Cheney’s visit to Tbilisi comes a day after President Bush pledged to provide $1 billion in recovery aid to Georgia. Funding will support reconstruction, humanitarian needs and the resettlement of displaced persons, Cheney said.

Assistance promised yesterday will supplement the more than 2 million pounds of humanitarian supplies the U.S. military has delivered so far.

Meanwhile, Pentagon Spokesman Bryan Whitman today said the Defense Department will conduct assessments in days ahead to study Georgia’s future security needs

“We’ll certainly be looking at the long-term security needs of Georgia, and what role the Defense Department might have in assisting in that,” he said.

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