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Clinton irks Russia over Tbilisi visit

Clinton irks Russia over Tbilisi visit
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in Washington on May 23, 2012. UPI/Kevin Dietsch | License Photo

MOSCOW, June 6 (UPI) -- U.S. officials aren't living up to international responsibilities by issuing statements of support in the republic of Georgia, a Russian official said.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton met this week with Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili during her tour of the region.

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Clinton, during a news conference, said Washington was committed to assisting the upgrade of Georgia's national defense capabilities.

"The United States remains steadfast in our commitment to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Georgia within its internationally recognized borders," she said.

Russian and Georgia went to war briefly in 2008 over the breakaway republics of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Saakashvili referred to Russia's presence in the region as an "illegal occupation of our territories."

Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said it was wrong for Clinton to support Georgia given such statements.

"Highly placed American representatives are once again making loud statements in support of Mikheil Saakashvili, repeating word for word a lying thesis of his propaganda on the "Russian occupation of Georgia," he was quoted by Russia's state-run news agency RIA Novosti as saying.

Georgia has parliamentary elections this year. Presidential elections are set for 2013.

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