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Crowley says – Obama does?2009-07-24 18:23
Phillip Crowley, a State Department Spokesman, "does not exclude the possibility" of rearming Georgia in order to bring it into compliance with NATO standards, the world media report. Curiously enough, this phrase which entirely contradicts the Russian-American "reset" belongs to a minor state official. Anyway Moscow has offered a hard reaction to the spokesman's words.
"A fundamental tenet of NATO membership is to have a military that meets NATO standards, - Crowley is quoted on Lenta.ru, - That is why it would be logical for the US and Georgia to have military relations. It is especially important in the current situation inside and outside the country. We intend to continue supplies of defensive arms to Georgia as part of cooperation".
The fact that Mikheil Saakashvili would ask US Vice President Joseph Biden now on a visit to Tbilisi for military aid was known before his arrival. But as the news agencies report this issue was never raised at the meeting. Consequently the Georgian leader's requests were left hanging in the air after the very important guest's departure. Yes, as News Georgia reported, Biden said the US totally support Georgia's aspiration to join NATO and will keep assisting it in every possible way helping the republic to come up to NATO standards, and not more".
Moscow had predicted this kind of comments from the Vice President during his Eastern Europe tour to Ukraine and Georgia. "I don't believe it correct that the relations with Russia should be reset at the account of any other countries, using this quite relative term, - The Voice of Russia quotes President Dmitry Medvedev - We need normal working relations, friendly ties with the USA". Crowley's statement after the US Vice President's departure and against the background of reassuring dialogue between US and Russian presidents sounds strange, putting it mildly. Moreover, it is quite doubtful Washington will "entrust" a State department spokesman with comments on supplies of American arms to Saakashvili's regime as the press reports.
One way or another Russia responded to Crowley's words. "I repeatedly commented on the issue of rearming Georgia, - VZGLYAD quotes Russian FM Sergey Lavrov. - I assume that those who sold arms that were used for the aggression in August 2008 to Saakashvili's regime have made right conclusions.