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Rice warns of Russia on path to isolation 2008-09-19 03:47:50  

    WASHINGTON, Sept. 18 (Xinhua) --

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice criticized on Thursday Russia's military actions against neighboring Georgia, saying Moscow is on path to "self-imposed isolation and international irrelevance."

    Addressing the transatlantic German Marshall Fund, Rice said that "the attack on Georgia has crystallized the course that Russia's leaders are now taking, and it has brought us to a critical moment for Russia and the world."

    Rice said that following its August 7 invasion of Georgia, "Russia's international standing is worse now than at any time since 1991. And the cost of this self-inflicted isolation has been steep."

    "Russia's bid to join the World Trade Organization (WTO) is now in question. And so too is its attempt to join the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development," said the top U.S. diplomat.

    "Our strategic goal now is to make it clear to Russia's leaders that their choices are putting Russia on a one-way path to self-imposed isolation and international irrelevance," Rice said.

    Rice made the remarks a day after her top aide William Burns said that Washington is considering to take further actions against Russia.

    "It is important to reinforce for Russia the consequences of its actions in Georgia as a means of ensuring compliance with its commitments to President (Nicolas) Sarkozy," Under Secretary of State William Burns said.

    Georgia launched attacks against South Ossetia on Aug. 7 in an attempt to regain control of the breakaway region bordering Russia. In retaliation, Moscow sent in troops that drove Georgian forces out of the region and took over parts of Georgian territory.

    South Ossetia, formerly an autonomous region within Georgia, declared independence from the former Soviet republic in the early1990s. However, its independence has not been internationally recognized.

    The White House has been demanding Russia withdraw all its troops from Georgia.

    Under the new deal backed by the European Union (EU), 200 EU observers will be deployed in Georgia by Oct. 1, and Russia will withdraw its forces from other areas of Georgia except the breakaway provinces of Abkhazia and South Ossetia within 10 days after the EU monitors are in place. 

Editor: Mu Xuequan

Rice wags finger at ‘Russian isolationism’

Russia Today, September 18, 2008, 23:18

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has warned Russia that its policies have put it on a path to isolation and irrelevance. Rice's speech at the German Marshall Fund event reflects a further deterioration in U.S.-Russian relations as opinions in the West remain split over Georgia's invasion of South Ossetia.
Speaking at the event in Washington, she said: "Russia's invasion of Georgia has achieved, and will achieve, no strategic objective."

”Russia's leaders will not accomplish their primary war aim of removing Georgia's government. And our strategic goal now is to make it clear to Russia's leaders that their choices are putting Russia on a one-way path to self-imposed isolation and international irrelevance," she said.

Rice admitted the conflict in Georgia had deep roots and all sides had made mistakes and miscalculations.

She said several facts, however, were clear. “On August 7 following repeated violations of the ceasefire in South Ossetia - including the shelling of Georgian villages, the Georgian government launched a major military operation into Tskhinvali and other regions of the separatist region.”

Rice acknowledged that “these events were troubling” and “several Russian peacekeepers were killed in the fighting.”

She went on to say “the situation deteriorated further when Russia’s leaders violated Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and launched a full-scale invasion across an internationally recognized border.”

She said Russia would fail to attain its strategic goal of ousting the government of Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili.

RT’s political commentator Peter Lavelle, giving his view on the Secretary of State’s speech, noted that there was no mention that Georgia broke international law by invading South Ossetia and killing civilians.

He also underlined that she hadmade no mention of the co-peacekeeping agreement that Russia was part of, namely in keeping the peace in the South Caucasus and both breakaway republics”.

Lavelle believes it’s a diplomatic double talk. However, he said, “There’s one thing that is interesting for me: at least, the U.S. is admitting that Georgia started the aggression.”

Rice also said Russia’s actions “cannot be blamed on its neighbours like Georgia.”

”To be sure, Georgian leaders could have responded better to the events last month in South Ossetia. And it benefits no one to pretend otherwise,” she said.
The U.S. Secretary of State said they had warned their “Georgian friends that Russia was baiting them and that taking this bait would only play into Moscow's hands."

But, she went on, “Russia’s leaders used this as a pretext to launch what by all appearances was a premeditated invasion of its independent neighbour.”

Commenting on this statement, Peter Lavelle said, “Ms Rice didn‘t mention in her speech that Georgia militarised itself with American money and American training”.

“She’s actually forgiving the aggression on the part of Saakashvili,” he said.

In her strongly worded speech Rice said Russia’s actions during the crisis had been “deeply disconcerting”.

“Its alarmist allegations of genocide by Georgian forces, its statements about U.S. actions during the conflict, its attempted dismemberment of a sovereign country by recognising Abkhazia and South Ossetia, its talk of having ‘privileged’ interests and how it treats its independent neighbours, and its refusal to allow international monitors and NGOs into Abkhazia and South Ossetia - despite ongoing militia violence and retribution against innocent Georgians,” she said.

“What is more disturbing about Russia’s actions is that they fit into a worsening pattern of behaviour over several years now,” Rice added.

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