Transcript: Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice

The following is a transcript of Charlie Gibson's interview with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice for ABC News' "World News With Charles Gibson," Aug. 12, 2008.

CHARLES GIBSON: Madam secretary, are we confident that hostilities have now ceased?

CONDOLEEZZA RICE: Well, the reporting on the ground is, frankly, mixed. But we are confident that the Georgians have agreed to a cease-fire and that the Russians told the French that they were prepared for a cease-fire. And so now military operations need to stop and the Russians need to stop the military operations that they have been engaged in and reverse this situation.

CHARLES GIBSON: Well, the Russian president, Medvedev, said we want a cease-fire. The Georgians insist that shelling and bombing is still going on. We just don't know.

Condoleeza Rice

CONDOLEEZZA RICE: Well, as I said the reporting on the ground as you might imagine, Charlie, in essentially a war zone, the reporting can be somewhat mixed. But the Russians have told the French that they are going to engage in a cease-fire, they need to call, they need now to follow through on that promise. I assume we will soon know but it is up to Russia to stop its military operations.

CHARLES GIBSON: You said in your statement there on the north lawn, you said that the United States stands for the territorial integrity of Georgia, does that include or exclude South Ossetia and Abkhazia?

CONDOLEEZZA RICE: South Ossetia and Abkhazia are within the internationally recognized boundaries of Georgia. They are zones of conflict, there have been a number of peace efforts including most recently ones by the German foreign ministry, minister, to find a solution to the conflict, but they are inside the international boundaries of Georgia and any conclusion, any agreement is going to have to recognize Georgia's territorial integrity.

CHARLES GIBSON: So if Russian troops were to remain in South Ossetia and Abkhazia, we would consider that a violation of the territorial integrity of Georgia?

CONDOLEEZZA RICE: Well, it's important to be precise here. There were Russian peacekeepers as well as Georgian peacekeepers in the zone of conflict under an organization of security and cooperation in Europe agreement, prior to the events of Aug. 6. And so forces that arrived after Aug. 6 need to move back to their pre-Aug. 6 positions. We can then determine what can be done to keep the peace in South Ossetia and Abkhazia as a part of an international agreement. But the territorial integrity of Georgia must be preserved.

CHARLES GIBSON: And the territorial integrity of Georgia would include again South Ossetia and Abkhazia?

CONDOLEEZZA RICE: They are both within Georgia's internationally recognized boundaries. Absolutely.

CHARLES GIBSON: So to put the question another way then, if those Georgian peacekeepers were not allowed to return by the Russian troops that are there, we would consider that a violation of Georgian territorial integrity?

CONDOLEEZZA RICE: I think it's important that there is an international mediation going on to find modalities for moving forward. But I want to make clear a couple of very important principles. Territorial integrity of Georgia has to be preserved, the democratically elected government of Georgia has to be respected, Abkhazia and South Ossetia are within Georgia's internationally recognized boundaries, and any resolution of this conflict has got to recognize those principles.

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