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U.S.-Georgia Bilateral Defense Consultations

Thursday, April 23
U.S.-Georgia Bilateral Defense Consultations were held at the Ministry of Defence of Georgia today. The meeting was co-chaired by Deputy Defence Minister Levan Girsiashvili and Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Dr. Evelyn Farkas.

During consultations the sides discussed enhanced defense cooperation directions, Georgia’s defense transformation process and future plans. Assistance priorities for 2015-2016 were also set at the meeting. Representatives of the Georgian Defence Ministry briefed the U.S. partners about the progress of ongoing defense reforms and existing security environment.

“During our discussions, we agreed that the global security environment we confront today makes our bilateral relationship as important as ever. Russia’s aggressive actions in Ukraine and here in Georgia challenge our vision of a Europe whole, free and at peace. The United States continues to call on Russia to reverse its recognitions of the South Ossetia and Abkhazia regions as independent states and to withdraw its forces from Georgia,” Evelyn Farkas said.

At the meeting, special attention was paid to the development of defense capabilities and U.S. assistance in increasing NATO interoperability of the Georgian Armed Forces. The sides elaborated on the following directions of cooperation: increasing the scale of joint military exercises and training, support for implementation of NATO-Georgia Substantial Package elements, U.S. support for medical treatment and rehabilitation of the wounded warriors and joint participation in international peace support operations.

According to Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Georgia’s support to the Afghanistan mission is an obvious example of its ongoing commitment to international security: “Georgia is the second-largest overall troop contributor – behind only the United States - to the NATO Resolute Support Mission, with approximately 860 soldiers deployed. On behalf of the United States, I want to thank Georgia once again for its sustained contributions to the Afghan mission over the last decade. In our meetings today, I also had the opportunity to reiterate our steadfast support for Georgia’s NATO membership aspirations. At the Wales Summit, we recognized Georgia as an Enhanced Opportunity Partner and endorsed a substantial package for Georgia that includes defense capacity building and enhanced training and exercises to help Georgia advance in its preparations towards membership in the Alliance. As part of that effort, we look forward to U.S. troops participating in Noble Partner, a Georgian-led military exercise, starting on May 11. Noble Partner is designed to improve the interoperability of Georgian and U.S. troops in the framework of the NATO Response Force, which provides a rapid multinational military force to respond to an emerging crisis in a NATO theater. Noble Partner will build on an already robust annual exercise program between Georgia and U.S. and NATO. The United States remains committed to its strong partnership with the Georgian Ministry of Defense and looks forward to continuing and strengthening all aspects of our defense relationship.”

During consultations the sides discussed allocation of financial assistance on priority directions under the Barak Obama's 'European Reassurance Initiative' Plan. The U.S. side positively evaluated progress achieved in defense transformations process.