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HELSINKI COMMISSION CO-CHAIRMEN CONDEMN RUSSIAN ASSAULT ON GEORGIA

234 Ford House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515-6460
Hon. Alcee L. Hastings, Chairman
Hon. Benjamin L. Cardin, Co-Chairman
For Immediate Release

August 11, 2008

(Washington, DC) Congressman Alcee L. Hastings (D-FL) and Senator Benjamin L. Cardin (D-MD), Co-Chairmen of the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe (U.S. Helsinki Commission), made the following statement on Russia's assault on the Republic of Georgia:

"Russia's intervention into Georgia is a clear violation of Georgia's territorial integrity and Principle Four of the Helsinki Final Act," said Co-Chairmen Hastings and Cardin. "We urge Moscow to cease its military operations immediately."

Chairman Hastings noted, "The Russian Federation has departed from its commitment to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) guiding principles of refraining from the threat of or use of force in the settlement of disputes; respect for the inviolability of borders and the territorial integrity of states; and the peaceful settlement of disputes."

Co-Chairman Cardin commented, "Georgia and Russia have accused each other of responsibility for this military confrontation. But Moscow's rejection of arbitration by the international community clearly demonstrates its indifference to cooperation and ending the hostilities, which have been building."

Said Co-Chairmen Hastings and Cardin "We are very troubled by media reports of Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov's statement to Secretary of State Rice that President Mikheil Saakashvili 'must go.' Only the voters of Georgia can make that decision. Removing a democratically elected president through military action is unacceptable to the United States and the broader international community."

Chairman Hastings concluded, "Last month, during the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly meeting in Astana, I introduced a resolution expressing concern of many Participating States about the alarming sequence of events that have long escalated tensions in the Abkhazia and South Ossetia regions of Georgia, and raised the prospect of armed conflict in the area. I deeply regret that my apprehensions have now come to fruition."

The Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, also known as the Helsinki Commission, is a U.S. Government agency that monitors progress in the implementation of the provisions of the 1975 Helsinki Accords. The Commission consists of nine members from the United States Senate, nine from the House of Representatives, and one member each from the Departments of State, Defense and Commerce.


Octobr 17, 2008 - President Bush Discusses the Visa Waiver Program
Office of the Press Secretary/ White House News

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you all. (Applause.) Please be seated, thank you. Welcome to the White House. I'm pleased to stand with the representatives of seven countries -- the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovakia, and South Korea -- that have met the requirements to be admitted to the United States Visa Waiver Program. Soon the citizens of these nations will be able to travel to the United States for business or tourism without a visa. I congratulate these close friends and allies on this achievement, and I thank you for joining us here.

I also thank Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Secretary of the Homeland -- Department of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff for working hard to make sure this day has finally arrived. Appreciate other members of the administration here and members of the Diplomatic Corps.

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