(Reuters) - The conflict between Russia and Georgia over Georgia’s South Ossetia region has prompted the two U.S. presidential candidates to respond. Here are their reactions:
Republican John McCain — Proposed several steps including a special U.N. Security Council session and high-level diplomacy aimed at bringing pressure on Russia to end the conflict. He also urged humanitarian assistance to Georgia and said the United States should work with Azerbaijan and Turkey as well as others to secure the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline.
Here are some excerpts from McCain’s statement on Monday:
“Russian aggression against Georgia is both a matter of urgent moral and strategic importance to the United States of America. ...
“Russian actions, in clear violation of international law, have no place in 21st century Europe. ...
“Russian President Medvedev and Prime Minister Putin must understand the severe, long-term negative consequences that their government’s actions will have for Russia’s relationship with the U.S. and Europe.”
Democrat Barack Obama — In a weekend statement, Obama said he spoke with U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Georgia’s President Mikheil Saakashvili and that he was “deeply concerned” about the well-being of the people of Georgia. He urged both sides to allow humanitarian assistance and called on Russia to end its “cyber war” against Georgian Web sites. He also called for aggressive diplomacy to secure a cease-fire.
Here are some excerpts from Obama’s statement:
“I condemn Russia’s aggressive actions and reiterate my call for an immediate cease-fire. Russia must stop its bombing campaign, cease flights of Russian aircraft in Georgian airspace, and withdraw its ground forces from Georgia. ... Georgia’s territorial integrity must be respected. ...
“Diplomats at the highest levels from the United States, the European Union, and the United Nations must become directly involved in mediating this military conflict and beginning a process to resolve the political disputes over the territories of South Ossetia and Abkhazia. A genuinely neutral mediator — not the Russian government — must begin a process of negotiations immediately.” (Editing by Alan Elsner)