Talks on closer military ties between Washington and Tbilisi upsets Moscow
US military high officials visit Tbilisi
Author: By Nino Edilashvili
With the goal to plan and identify specific directions in bilateral defense cooperation, a US delegation led by Celeste A. Laplander, the U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Russia, Ukraine and Eurasia, arrived in Georgia on Wednesday.
“As this cooperation is a large-scale development, which includes many elements, we are here to outline the concrete issues important for Georgia’s self-defense capabilities,” Laplander said after meeting with Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili on February 22.
The US delegation’s Georgian visit will last two days, and will include a meeting with representatives of the Georgian Ministry of Defense. The press office of the Ministry rejected requests by Georgia Today to evaluate the meeting.
However, Nino Kalandadze, Georgia’s Deputy Foreign Minister, has said that Laplander’s visit would be a follow-up to an agreement reached during the meeting between the Georgian and U.S. Presidents in Washington on January 30 pertaining to “deepening of cooperation on defense issues.”
One of the main topics during the meeting between the two presidents was modernizing Georgia’s defense systems. Describing the meeting in Washington, Saakashvili said that it was “a strategic breakthrough” for Georgia, as it resulted in the prospect of a possible free trade treaty with the U.S., as well as Washington’s assistance in the efforts to increase Georgia’s self-defense capabilities.”