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Georgia, Britain to 'deepen' military cooperation: Tbilisi

by Staff Writers
Tbilisi (AFP) Feb 11, 2009
NATO-hopeful Georgia and Britain plan to "deepen" military cooperation, the ex-Soviet republic's defence minister said Wednesday after meeting a top British security official.

"Our military cooperation is productive and intensive. We agreed... that these relations will be further deepened," Defence Minister David Sikharlidze said in televised remarks after talks in Tbilisi with Britain's minister of international defence and security Ann Taylor.

Sikharlidze said Britain "supports Georgia in its bid to enter the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation" and is "actively helping us to meet membership standards."

Georgia's NATO aspirations have deeply angered former imperial master Russia, which last August fought a brief war with Georgia over the breakaway region of South Ossetia.

Russia has threatened economic sanctions against countries or other organisations that provide weapons or equipment for military purposes to Georgia.

Georgian and British forces held joint military exercises in Georgia in 2004 and 2007, and the British defence ministry has provided a wide range of training programmes to Georgian military personnel.

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