August 10th, 2008
09:28 AM ET
15 years ago

McCain, Obama both speak with Georgian president

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili spoke with both U.S. presidential candidates on Saturday."]

(CNN) - John McCain and Barack Obama both spoke to Georgia's president Saturday and continued to call for an end to Russia's bombing of the former Soviet republic.

Both candidates pressed for recognition of Georgia's sovereignty pushed for diplomacy in the conflict.

"For many years, I have warned against Russian actions that undermine the sovereignty of its neighbors," said McCain, the presumptive Republican nominee, on Saturday. "Unfortunately, we have seen in recent days Russia demonstrate that these concerns were well-founded."

Obama also condemned "the violation of Georgia's sovereignty" and called for "an immediate ceasefire."

"Russia must stop its bombing campaign, cease flights of Russian aircraft in Georgian airspace, and withdraw its ground forces from Georgia," Obama said.

McCain said he has spoken to Georgian President Saakashvili twice since the conflict began. "It is clear the situation is dire ... I again call on the government of Russia to immediately and unconditionally withdraw its forces from the territory of Georgia."

He called the conflict a "threat to Euro-Atlantic security," and supported attempts by Western powers - including the United States, the European Union, and NATO - to broker a ceasefire.

Obama is receiving breifings om the situation while on vacation in Hawaii. He also spoke with Saakashvili, and in a statement afterwards direct talks between Russia and Georgia are necessary.

"Diplomats at the highest levels from the United States, the European Union, and the United Nations must become directly involved in mediating this military conflict and beginning a process to resolve the political disputes over the territories of South Ossetia and Abkhazia," he said. "A genuinely neutral mediator - not the Russian government - must begin a process of negotiations immediately."

Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama • John McCain
soundoff (134 Responses)
  1. Ted van Tol

    If you ask me, Barack Obama will be a good diplomat advising
    the Rusian and the Georgien leader. And I am realy sure they will listen to him. Barack is a man who can bring peace in this world.
    I realy do not understan why there is so many doubt on his experience. With all the issues of the last year it is clear the
    Barack has the right judgement.
    McCain comes always later with more or less the seem ideas.
    Stil Barack has just 5 points lead on McCain.
    Barack can do everyting but I think the only chance to become the next President is to turn white!

    Europe for Obama
    With love from the Netherlands

    August 10, 2008 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  2. Wendy

    If McCain the war monger had his way he would send troops.

    August 10, 2008 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  3. grant

    The idiot Mikhail Saakashvili started this mess by shelling civilians and killing an estimated 1,400. Where is the condemnation from our western leaders?

    August 10, 2008 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  4. keith proctor

    I think McCain and Obama greatly overstepped their bounds on this one.

    Georgia is at war with Russia - not exactly a good time to make competing political calls to a leader on the other side of the world who has more important things to do than be a prop for campaign news fodder.

    August 10, 2008 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  5. tom, boston

    this guy is a US-trained lawyer. what a surprise.

    August 10, 2008 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  6. Griff

    Don't worry Mister.. Enough rope, and Russia will hang itself...
    They are surrounded by little countries, who still feel the "Pain" from Communist Russia...

    August 10, 2008 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  7. The Iraq war IS legal

    And to further emphasize his knowledge of foreign policy, Obama flew to Atlanta for a face to face meeting............

    August 10, 2008 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  8. kat

    It`s very interesting to watch CNN talking about Russian troops invaiding Georgia and at the same time showing how Georgian army is bombing civilians. No wonder americans think russians are so cruel. But as russian i can`t even beleive that such thing is even going on. I mean Georgia has always been our friend, i can`t understand why this Saakashvili started all that. especially on the first days of the olympic games

    August 10, 2008 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  9. gq

    At least they see eye to eye on this matter.

    August 10, 2008 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
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