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(Washington, DC) – U.S. Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) introduced a resolution today affirming U.S. support for the sovereignty, independence, and territorial integrity of the country of Georgia and calling upon Russia to remove its occupying forces from Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

“As we continue to strive to achieve a Europe that is whole, free, and at peace, it is critical that we recognize the tenuous situation that remains in Georgia today,” Shaheen said. “It’s been nearly three years since war broke out in the South Caucasus between Russia and Georgia, yet Russian troops still occupy Georgia’s Abkhazia and South Ossetia regions.  Long-term peace and stability in this strategically important region is vital to American economic, security, and diplomatic interests.  This means strengthening U.S.-Georgia relations and sending a clear message to the Russian Federation that the continued presence of Russian troops in Georgia is not part of the solution.”

“I am proud to introduce this resolution with Senator Shaheen.  Russia’s invasion of Georgian land in 2008 was an act of aggression not only to Georgia, but to all new democracies,” Graham said.  “I will continue to stand by Georgia to make sure this young democracy moves forward and becomes a shining example of what can happen after the fall of the Soviet Union.”

Shaheen and Graham have been leading the effort in the Senate to strengthen the U.S.-Georgia relationship.  The two currently co-chair a bipartisan task force on Georgia, sponsored by the Atlantic Council, which was launched on the second anniversary of the Russia-Georgia war and aims to encourage a bipartisan consensus on policy toward Georgia.

As Chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on European Affairs, Shaheen also convened a hearing on the situation in Georgia on the first anniversary of the Russia-Georgia war in August 2009.