From NBC/NJ's Adam Aigner-Treworgy and Domenico Montanaro
After deplaning in Des Moines, Iowa, McCain spoke with reporters on the tarmac to discuss the current situation in Georgia. He called for the U.S. to immediately convene an emergency meeting of the U.N. Security Council and to work with the EU and NATO to create a neutral peacekeeping force to ensure Georgia's security.
Obama's campaign released the following statement on the situation:
"I strongly condemn the outbreak of violence in Georgia, and urge an immediate end to armed conflict. Now is the time for Georgia and Russia to show restraint, and to avoid an escalation to full scale war. Georgia's territorial integrity must be respected. All sides should enter into direct talks on behalf of stability in Georgia, and the United States, the United Nations Security Council, and the international community should fully support a peaceful resolution to this crisis."
Here's McCain's statement: "[T]he news reports indicate that Russian military forces crossed an internationally recognized border into the sovereign territory of Georgia. Russia should immediately and unconditionally cease its military operations and withdraw all forces from sovereign Georgian territory. What is most critical now is to avoid further confrontation between Russian and Georgian military forces. The consequences of Euro-Atlantic stability and security are grave. The government of Georgia has called for a ceasefire and for a resumption of direct talks on South Ossetia with international mediators. The U.S. should immediately convene an emergency session of the United Nations Security Council to call on Russia to reverse course. The U.S. should immediately work with the EU and the OSCE to put diplomatic pressure on Russia to reverse this perilous course that it has chosen.
"I repeat, the government of Georgia has called for a ceasefire and for a resumption of direct talks on South Ossetia with international mediators. The United States should immediately convene an emergency session of the United Nations Security Council and to call on Russia to reverse course. The U.S. should immediately work with the EU and the OSCE to put diplomatic pressure on Russia to reverse this perilous course that it has chosen. We should immediately call a meeting of the North Atlantic Council to asses Georgia's security and review measures NATO can take to contribute to stabilizing this very dangerous situation. Finally, the international community needs to establish a truly independent and neutral peacekeeping force in South Ossetia."
NBC's Jeannie Ohm reports White House Press Secretary Dana Perino made this comment to reporters off-camera about the situation in Georgia: "We urge restraint on all sides - that violence would be curtailed and that direct dialogue could ensue in order to help resolve their differences. We will continue to be engaged."
President Bush did speak with Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin about the issue earlier in the day at a luncheon in China. Please note they spoke several hours before these latest developments.