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Top U.S. Diplomat Criticizes Russia Over Georgia

Daniel Fried (file photo) (official site) October 18, 2006 (RFE/RL) -- A senior U.S. diplomat has criticized Moscow for putting pressure on ethnic Georgians living in Russia, saying such actions have no place in the 21st century, RFE/RL's Georgian Service reports.

Speaking today to journalists in the Georgian capital, Tbilisi, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Daniel Fried said, "I think economic boycotts and bans and particularly pressure on people based on their ethnicity is not what we want to see anywhere, particularly not in this part of the world in the 21st century."

Fried said he hoped the two neighbors would make efforts to improve their relations.

Russia has deported hundreds of Georgian migrants, claiming they were staying in the country illegally, in retaliation for Georgia's brief detention of four alleged Russian spies last month.

Moscow also has imposed a transport and postal blockade on its southern neighbor.

Fried also said Washington will not recognize the independence of Georgia's breakaway republics of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

The comment came after Abkhazia's parliament sent an appeal to the Russian president and parliament asking for recognition as an independent state.

(with AP)

Moscow And Tbilisi

Moscow And Tbilisi

Russian military hardware being withdrawn from a Russian base in Batumi, Georgia, in August 2005 (TASS)

WHAT COMES NEXT? Although Russia is unlikely to push an aggressive military response to the current tensions with Georgia, it has a number of economic, political, and diplomatic options at its disposal. Already on October 1, Russian President Vladimir Putin summoned his inner circle to weigh Moscow's options... (more)


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MORE: Coverage of the situation in Georgian from RFE/RL's Georgian Service and in Russian from RFE/RL's Russian Service.


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