McCain urges diplomatic action against Russia

/ Source: The Associated Press

Republican presidential candidate John McCain on Monday called for a multi-pronged diplomatic effort to force Russia to withdraw from Georgia, saying Moscow's actions could have long-term implications for its relations with the rest of the world.

Speaking to reporters in Pennsylvania, McCain said Russia appears intent on toppling the Georgian government rather than simply restoring the status quo in the pro-Moscow province of South Ossetia, which Georgia is trying to keep from breaking away.

"NATO's North Atlantic Council should convene in emergency session to demand a ceasefire and begin discussions on both the deployment of an international peacekeeping force to South Ossetia and the implications for NATO's future relationship with Russia," McCain said. He also urged NATO to reconsider its decision to withhold a "membership action plan" for Georgia, saying it "might have been viewed as a green light by Russia for its attacks on Georgia."

McCain said Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice should go to Europe "to establish a common Euro-Atlantic position aimed at ending the war and supporting the independence of Georgia."

He said the United States "should coordinate with our partners in Germany, France and Britain, to seek an emergency meeting of the G-7 foreign ministers to discuss the current crisis."

"Our united purpose should be to persuade the Russian government to cease its attacks, withdraw its troops and enter into negotiations with Georgia," McCain said. "We must remind Russia's leaders that the benefits they enjoy from being part of the civilized world require their respect for the values, stability and peace of that world."

He declined to take questions from reporters.