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U.S. Senators Conclude Georgia Visit Pledging Tougher Russia Sanctions

  • RFE/RL's Georgian Service

Georgian President Giorgi Margvelashvili and a delegation of U.S. senators have discussed the Caucasus country's aspirations for joining Western institutions and the Georgian-U.S. strategic relationship in Tbilisi.

The president's office said Margvelashvili thanked John McCain (Republican-Arizona), Lindsey Graham (Republican-South Carolina), and Amy Klobuchar (Democrat-Minnesota) on January 2 for their support of Georgia's "sovereignty and territorial integrity" during talks in the Georgian capital.

The senators included talks on their two-day trip with Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili and Foreign Minister Mikheil Janelidze. McCain said he also met with some opposition leaders.

The U.S. delegation stopped on January 2 at the NATO-Georgian Joint Training and Evaluation Center near Tbilisi and earlier at Khurvaleti, the boundary with the breakaway Georgian territory of South Ossetia that has been controlled by Russian forces since a brief war was fought in 2008.

"Our message is that 2017 will be a year of 'more' -- more American military support, more trade, more economic integration, and more push-back against Russia for the aggression not only here, but throughout the world, more sanctions," Graham said.

"Now is the time to let [Russian President Vladimir] Putin know that we as a world have had enough."

McCain added: "It is clear that Russia has attacked the United States of America; all of our intelligence agencies will affirm that that'd been the case. We will work in the Congress to have stronger sanctions [against Russia] in order to prevent further attacks on the United States of America."

The senators had also visited the Baltic states and Ukraine on their trip.

With reporting by TASS and Agenda.ge
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