The American vice-President Dick Cheney has vowed to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with Georgia over its showdown with Russia. He is the highest ranking US official to visit Georgia since Tbilisi tried to retake the breakaway region of South Ossetia by force. He has called Russia’s military operation to take it back an illegitimate act:
“America will do its duty to work with the governments of Georgia and our other friends and allies to protect our common interests and to uphold our values. America is fully committed to Georgia’s Membership Action Plan for NATO and to its eventual membership in the Alliance.”
In one-to-one talks with Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili, Cheney re-iterated US support for Georgia’s bid to join NATO. The US has also announced an aid package of nearly 700 million euros to help Georgia rebuild housing and transport links destroyed in the five-day war.