Bush Begins Aid Relief to Free Georgia– Sends Rice to Tbilisi
President George W. Bush announced today that the US will send aid to Free Georgia and that Condoleezza Rice will visit France then land in the capital of Georgia to show US support for the free people of Georgia.
The video is here.
President Bush is flanked by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, left, and Defense Secretary Robert Gates, right, today in the Rose Garden where he delivered a statement of support to Georgia, a staunch US ally and former Soviet Republic.
** The first planes carrying humanitarian aid have already arrived in Georgia.
Bush assured Georgia that the USA stands with them.
The White House reported:
The United States of America stands with the democratically elected government of Georgia. We insist that the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Georgia be respected.
Russia has stated that changing the government of Georgia is not its goal. The United States and the world expect Russia to honor that commitment. Russia has also stated that it has halted military operations and agreed to a provisional cease-fire. Unfortunately, we’re receiving reports of Russian actions that are inconsistent with these statements. We’re concerned about reports that Russian units have taken up positions on the east side of the city of Gori, which allows them to block the East-West Highway, divide the country, and threaten the capital of Tbilisi.
We’re concerned about reports that Russian forces have entered and taken positions in the port city of Poti, that Russian armored vehicles are blocking access to that port, and that Russia is blowing up Georgian vessels. We’re concerned about reports that Georgian citizens of all ethnic origins are not being protected. All forces, including Russian forces, have an obligation to protect innocent civilians from attack.
With these concerns in mind, I have directed a series of steps to demonstrate our solidarity with the Georgian people and bring about a peaceful resolution to this conflict. I’m sending Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to France, where she will confer with President Sarkozy. She will then travel to Tbilisi, where she will personally convey America’s unwavering support for Georgia’s democratic government. On this trip she will continue our efforts to rally the free world in the defense of a free Georgia.
I’ve also directed Secretary of Defense Bob Gates to begin a humanitarian mission to the people of Georgia, headed by the United States military. This mission will be vigorous and ongoing. A U.S. C-17 aircraft with humanitarian supplies is on its way. And in the days ahead we will use U.S. aircraft, as well as naval forces, to deliver humanitarian and medical supplies.
We expect Russia to honor its commitment to let in all forms of humanitarian assistance. We expect Russia to ensure that all lines of communication and transport, including seaports, airports, roads, and airspace, remain open for the delivery of humanitarian assistance and for civilian transit. We expect Russia to meet its commitment to cease all military activities in Georgia. And we expect all Russian forces that entered Georgia in recent days to withdraw from that country.
The 27-nation EU bloc announced today that they may send military personnel to monitor the cease-fire.
Meanwhile… The New York Times somehow managed to blame the US for the war in Georgia.
Q and O says the Russian attacks took months of planning.
UPDATE: Condoleezza Rice gave a press conference later today where she told reporters:
“This is not 1968. And [this is no longer like] the invasion of Czechoslovakia, [where Russia could] occupy a capital, and overthrow a government, and get away with it.”