US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin warned Russia not to distract European leaders with new talks, which have not kept their previous commitments.
“Russia, which currently occupies 20 percent of Georgia’s territory, should focus on honoring its 2008 ceasefire commitments before promoting any new discussion platforms,” Austin said Monday during a visit to Tbilisi, Georgia, to meet the prime minister and the country’s defense minister.
“I’m here to convince Georgia,” Austin added. “We have many common interests, and of course, shared values, and we see a number of opportunities for security cooperation.”
The visit to Georgia is his first stop on a European tour that will also take him to Ukraine and Romania.
Austin will also travel to Belgium to participate in a meeting of NATO defense ministers. [vm/jm]