U.S. Urges Russia To Back Off Georgia

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WASHINGTON, Aug. 9 (UPI) — Washington calls on Moscow to pull troops out of parts of Georgia and honor a 2008 cease-fire that ended conflict there, the State Department said.

Moscow and Tbilisi traded insults Monday, the third anniversary of a Russian military response to Georgia’s invasion of the separatist republic of South Ossetia in 2008. The conflict spilled over to engulf forces from Abkhazia, another separatist region.

Moscow recognized both republics shortly after the conflict and signed agreements in 2010 to build permanent military installations in the breakaway regions.

Mark Toner, a spokesman for the U.S. State Department, reminded Russia that it was obliged under a 2008 cease-fire to pull its forces back to pre-conflict positions and open the areas to humanitarian assistance.

“We strongly support Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity within its internationally recognized borders,” he said.

Toner also noted that Washington supports Russia’s accession to the World Trade Organization despite other diplomatic concerns.

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