On July 5, Secretary Clinton met with Georgian President Saakashvili in Tbilisi. During a joint press conference, Secretary Clinton said:
"I came to Georgia with a clear message from President Obama and myself. The United States is steadfast in its commitment to Georgia's sovereignty and territorial integrity. The United States does not recognize spheres of influence. President Obama and I have also communicated this message directly to our Russian counterparts, most recently during our meetings in Washington on June 24th.
"We continue to call for Russia to abide by the August 2008 cease fire commitment signed by President Saakashvili and President Medvedev, including ending the occupation and withdrawing Russian troops from South Ossetia and Abkhazia to their pre-conflict positions. We also stressed the need for humanitarian access to the territories. And we will continue to work toward a peaceful resolution of the conflict through established international mechanisms and constructive non-violent channels."
Secretary Clinton continued:
"The United States and Georgia share a deep friendship. And we very much value the partnership between our countries. We are committed to the success of Georgia's democracy and economy, and we are continuing to build on the framework for cooperation that was institutionalized in the U.S.-Georgia charter on strategic partnership last year.
"We very much appreciate Georgia's significant contributions to the international security assistance force in Afghanistan, and honor its commitment to fighting terrorism around the world. As we stand here today, Georgian soldiers are fighting alongside U.S. Marines in Helmand Province, and helping Afghans build a more peaceful future for their own country. And I thank the Georgian people, and particularly the Georgian military, for their service, sacrifice, and bravery. These contributions provide strong evidence of Georgia's diligent movement toward meeting the requirements for membership in NATO.
"We are also committed to supporting Georgia's political and economic reforms. We are pleased to see Georgia's steady economic growth in the wake of the global financial crisis. And we were encouraged by the steps made toward meeting the OSCE and the Council of Europe standards for democratic elections seen in the recent municipal elections."
The Secretary concluded, "Earlier today I met with women leaders who are helping build a culture of democracy and confidence in the electoral process. Georgia has made real progress in the past few years, improving living standards, reducing corruption, and building one of the fastest reforming economies in the world, all while facing some very difficult circumstances. But, as you know better than I, there are still shortcomings. We want to urge Georgia to continue the work of the Rose Revolution. And the United States will do everything we can to assist our partners inside and outside the Georgian Government, as they strive to strengthen democratic institutions and processes. We are committed to supporting Georgians, Georgians who are working to build a future that is freer, more democratic, more prosperous, and more secure. And I personally am looking forward to watching Georgia's continuing progress."