With a NATO delegation scheduled to arrive in Georgia tomorrow to examine the damage done to the Caucasus nation’s military infrastructure, President Mikheil Saakashvili reiterated his vow to reclaim the breakaway provinces of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, which were lost after a Georgian military assault on South Ossetia led to a brief war with Russia, claiming the rest of the world would unite against Russia to “restore” his nation’s territorial integrity.
Russia has recognized the independence of both enclaves, though the United States has promised to use its status as a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council to ensure that neither will ever be recognized as independent from Georgia. Vice President Dick Cheney, who recently visited the region, has warned that Russia risks a “confrontation” with NATO, and has expressed US support for NATO membership for both Georgia and Ukraine. President Saakashvili, for his part, predicts future armed conflicts with Russia in the region, and cited the Ukraine-controlled Crimea as the source of a potential future war.
French President Nicolas Sarkozy is headed to Russia in an attempt to clarify the Georgia-Russia ceasefire, after French officials admitted a translation problem was the source of Russia and NATO’s differing view of the terms. Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has said he “regrets” the conflict and insists his nation holds no ill-will toward the Georgian people over it. And while President Bush intends to “punish” Russia over the conflict, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has said cooperation between Russia and the West should not be harmed.