TBILISI, DFWatch–While the crisis in relations between Russia and the West over NATO enlargement continues to escalate, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, Karen Donfried reaffirmed the US’ support for Georgia in a phone call with Georgian Minister of Foreign Affairs, David Zalkaliani.

According to the Georgian MFA, the sides exchanged views and information over the security situation in the region and the bilateral U.S.-Russia dialogue, as well as over the meetings held during the past week within the framework of the NATO-Russia Council and the OSCE.

The Georgian MFA thanked the U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for active communication and coordination with Georgia against the background of the ongoing processes. David Zalkaliani expressed his gratitude for the U.S. messages of support for Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, as well as for NATO’s Open Door Policy in the face of Russia’s aggressive rhetoric and activities.

“This points again to the firmness of U.S.-Georgia strategic partnership and to the importance of cooperation between the two countries,” the statement released by Georgia’s MFA reads.

The Assistant Secretary of State expressed her support for Georgia. The sides reaffirmed that the strategic partners should continue close coordination with Georgia during discussions on Georgia, and that no discussion on Georgia will take place without Georgia. It was highlighted that Russia’s attempts to legitimize its exclusive spheres of influence in Europe, and to obstruct Georgia’s Euro-Atlantic integration are inadmissible. The sides underscored the need for Russia to comply with the obligations under the 2008 Ceasefire Agreement. The sides agreed to continue consultations in the future.

On 5 January, David Zalkaliani held a phone call with the U.S. Deputy Secretary of State, Wendy Sherman, within the scope of consultations with NATO allies and partners.