Obama talks to Rice about Georgia, condemns Russia | NBC New York

Obama talks to Rice about Georgia, condemns Russia

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    Sen Barack Obama (D-Ill.) broke from his Hawaii vacation to discuss the clashes between Georgia and Russia with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and the Georgian president, his campaign reported.



    Afterward, he issued a statement saying: "I condemn Russia’s aggressive actions and reiterate my call for an immediate ceasefire."



    Here is the campaign's Saturday night statement:



    "Below is a Statement from Senator Barack Obama on Russia’s escalation of violence against Georgia:



    “I just spoke separately with Secretary Rice and President Saakashvili about the grave crisis in Georgia. I told President Saakashvili that I was deeply concerned about the well-being of the people of Georgia.



    “Over the last two days, Russia has escalated the crisis in Georgia through it’s clear and continued violation of Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. On Friday, August 8, Russian military forces invaded Georgia. I condemn Russia’s aggressive actions and reiterate my call for an immediate ceasefire. Russia must stop its bombing campaign, cease flights of Russian aircraft in Georgian airspace, and withdraw its ground forces from Georgia. Both sides should allow humanitarian assistance to reach civilians in need. Russia also must end its cyber war against Georgian government websites. Georgia’s territorial integrity must be respected.



    “As I have said for many months, aggressive diplomatic action must be taken to reach a political resolution to this crisis, and to assure that Georgia’s sovereignty is protected. Diplomats at the highest levels from the United States, the European Union, and the United Nations must become directly involved in mediating this military conflict and beginning a process to resolve the political disputes over the territories of South Ossetia and Abkhazia. A genuinely neutral mediator – not the Russian government – must begin a process of negotiations immediately.



    “The situation in Georgia also requires the deployment of genuine international peacekeeping forces in South Ossetia and Abkhazia. The current escalation of military conflict resulted in part from the lack of a neutral and effective peacekeeping force operating under an appropriate UN mandate. Russia cannot play a constructive role as peacekeeper. Instead, Russian actions in both South Ossetia and Abkhazia appear to be intended to preserve an unstable status quo.”