WASHINGTON – At the request of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Howard L. Berman and Democratic Policy Committee Chairman George Miller traveled Friday to the Republic of Georgia to meet its president and other top leaders.
The congressmen, both California Democrats, arrived on a U.S. military C-17 aircraft carrying humanitarian aid. Demonstrating U.S. congressional support for Georgia, they met with President Mikheil Saakashvili, Speaker David Bakradze and other parliamentary officials, along with Georgian Prime Minister Vladimer Gurgenidze, the ministers of defense and reintegration and conflict resolution.
They also spoke with U.S. Ambassador to Georgia John F. Tefft
"The integrity of the Georgian borders must be restored and its national sovereignty must be honored," Miller told Georgian officials.
"We came here with the strong belief that Russian troops must leave Georgia as promised," Berman said, noting that he hoped their would demonstrate "American solidarity" and lift the morale of the Georgian people.
"(Russia's) presence serves no good purpose, represents an intimidating force, and obstructs the delivery of humanitarian assistance as well as the rebuilding of what they have destroyed. America cannot sit idly by in the face of such aggression and the effort to remove the democratically elected leader of a sovereign nation," Berman continued.
The House Foreign Affairs Committee held a hearing on June 18 to examine U.S. policy on long-term conflicts and potential flashpoints in the Caucasus. At the hearing, Berman asked Assistant Secretary of State Daniel Fried to explain "what steps this administration (would) take in the coming months to help prevent further escalation of this conflict."
Before leaving Georgia, Berman said that when Congress comes back into session in September, "We will turn our attention to providing the assistance that Georgia needs to rebuild its infrastructure, provide humanitarian relief, aid its damaged military and help shore up its currency."
"Congress should give quick approval to an aid package to help repair the war damage and assist the affected population," Miller said in Georgia.
FOX News' Chad Pergram contributed to this report.