Wess Mitchell, the United States Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, visited today the occupation line near village Odzisi adjacent to Tskhinvali Region/South Ossetia, to express the U.S. support towards Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity within its internationally recognized borders.
“Ten years ago there was a war here, and I am here today to remind the Russian government that the world has not forgotten about those events,” Wess Mitchell said, referring to the Russo-Georgia war of 2008.
Stressing that the U.S. does not recognize this boundary line as an international border, Mitchell said the United States is “very concerned for the safety and well-being” of the Georgian citizens who continue to live in the occupied territories.
“We express our outrage at the detentions, [and] torture, and murder of Georgian citizens that have occurred and express our condolences to their families,” Wess Mitchell stated.
He further called upon the Russian government “to honor the terms of the 2008 ceasefire agreement, [and] cease to recognize these entities as countries, and also to allow the safe passage of humanitarian aid into these regions.”
Wess Mitchell also noted that the U.S. was deeply committed to the security of Georgia as a partner, and appreciated the efforts of the Georgian government, parliament and people “to show a deep commitment to democratic reform.”
Calling Georgia an example of a “successful democracy in the Caucasus,” the U.S. Assistant Secretary of State also underscored that the United States appreciates Georgia’s leadership in this sense.
Georgian Foreign Minister Mikheil Janelidze accompanied Mitchell in Odzisi. Minister expressed his gratitude to the U.S. for its continued support.
It is Mitchell’s first visit in his new, official role, to Georgia as part of his diplomatic tour in Europe. On April 30, he addressed the participants of the NATO-Georgia Public Diplomacy Forum in Tbilisi.
In Tbilisi, Wess Mitchell also met separately with President Giorgi Margvelashvili, Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili, Foreign Minister Mikheil Janelidze, and Parliament Chairman Irakli Kobakhidze to discuss deepening of the bilateral cooperation.