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Dear List, I am posting an article from Reuters about Georgia. I apologize if it is not directly related to Iraq, but I thought it important to show the double standards played by the US in dealing with issues. I wonder if the US administration reads its own statements and its contradictions, and tries to understand why Europe, almost unanimously, is opposed to US unilateralism. While Ari Fleischer says: "The United States is deeply concerned about credible reports that Russian military aircraft indiscriminately bombed villages in northern Georgia on August 23, resulting in the killing of civilians," US pilots bomb civilian targets in Iraq without any show of "deep concern" or any concern…. And while Fleischer states that: ""the United States strongly supports Georgia's independence and territorial integrity," US planes violate Iraq's independence and territorial integrity on daily basis. And when Fleischer continues to state that: "Yesterday's attacks and their denial by the Russian government, however, belie such Russian assurances and escalate existing tension between Russia and Georgia," one wonders how the same Fleischer changes his stand when it comes to Iraq! Fleischer tops it all when he states that:" we call again urgently for a political settlement to the conflict in Chechnya, which would contribute to stability in both Russia and Georgia", without explaining why his country doesn't think in the same way when it comes to attacking Iraq, and why the US refuses to heed all calls for a diplomatic solution, especially from Russia to whom advice is given here?? Just wondering… HZ ------------------------------------------------------------------------- U.S. Rebukes Russia over Georgia Bombing August 25, 2002 04:56 AM ET By Adam Entous LAS CRUCES, New Mexico (Reuters) - The United States rebuked Russia on Saturday for alleged indiscriminate bombing in north Georgia, saying the attacks violated Georgian sovereignty and could escalate tensions in the Caucasus. "The United States regrets this loss of life and deplores the violation of Georgia's sovereignty," White House spokesman Ari Fleischer said. But he said his statement did not signal any deterioration in U.S.-Russian relations. Georgia said one man was killed and seven people wounded in the Russian aerial attack, which was carried out on Friday. The Russian military denied any such raid had taken place. In Moscow, a duty spokesman told Reuters that senior officials at the Foreign Ministry was considering its response to the White House criticism. "They are currently studying Fleischer's comments, but it's not clear if there will be a statement or not. We can make no comment at the moment," the official said. The bombing by Russian military aircraft was close to the lawless Pankisi Gorge, an area of great interest to the United States because of suspicions that it is a refuge for militant Islamists. The gorge also lies across the border from Chechnya where Russian forces have been battling separatist guerrillas on and off for eight years. Relations between Russia and Georgia have hit new lows in the past week as Moscow accused Georgia of turning a blind eye to Chechen guerrillas in the Pankisi Gorge and refusing to hand over rebels arrested by Georgian forces. Georgia rejects demands for Russian troops to be allowed into the gorge and announced plans for an offensive to clear the gorge of criminal gangs. "The president, going back to 2000, has been consistently warning about the need to protect the human rights and sovereignty as Russia fights terrorism in Chechnya," Fleischer said. "The statement is a reflection of the president's long-standing concern." He said Secretary of State Colin Powell relayed U.S. concerns directly to the Russian foreign minister, and stressed that a political settlement to the conflict with Chechnya was needed "urgently." U.S.-trained Georgian troops are due to launch large-scale war games close to the gorge on Sunday in parallel with operations by police and special forces in the gorge itself. Georgia has no radar plane-tracking equipment in the area and relies on visual accounts to prove its claims of cross-border air raids. Russia shrugs off such evidence. MONITORS VERIFIED AIR ATTACKS Despite Russia's denial, Fleischer said border monitors from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe verified that the aerial bombardments took place. "The United States is deeply concerned about credible reports that Russian military aircraft indiscriminately bombed villages in northern Georgia on August 23, resulting in the killing of civilians," Fleischer said. "The United States strongly supports Georgia's independence and territorial integrity, and has welcomed similar statements by the Russian Federation," Fleischer said. "Yesterday's attacks and their denial by the Russian government, however, belie such Russian assurances and escalate existing tension between Russia and Georgia, just as cooperative arrangements for resolving regional security problems are emerging," he added. "In this context, we call again urgently for a political settlement to the conflict in Chechnya, which would contribute to stability in both Russia and Georgia, and advance our efforts to fight terrorism and establish peace in the Caucasus," Fleischer said. Minutes before the White House issued the statement, Bush joked in a speech about how U.S.-Russian relations had improved so much that Russian President Vladimir Putin had said to him that they now talk about chickens instead of war -- a reference to a dispute over American poultry exports to Russia. An agreement was reached on Friday to end the trade spat. U.S. special forces advisers have been training the Georgian army since May to take on Islamic militants. The U.S. advisers will attend the war games in the Akhmeta region that includes Pankisi. Senior officials, including Georgian President Eduard Shevardnadze, have said troops will not enter the gorge. (Additional reporting by Jon Boyle in Moscow) _________________________________________________________ SPORTS SPORTS SPORTS! 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