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American General says US-Georgia joint exercises will reveal how fast U.S. soldiers are in case of aggression in Georgia

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Wednesday, September 9
The commanding General of the U.S. Army in Europe, Ben Hodges, paid an official visit to Georgia in order to deepen American-Georgian military cooperation and discuss topics related to Georgian-American joint training, according to the Ministry of Defence.

Hodges represents the unit of the United States Army that is directly responsible for holding joint activities.

Noble Partner, a bilateral effort focused on enhancing U.S. and Georgian NATO Response Force interoperability in the context of military-to-military relationships, was a significant example of the Georgian-American partnership. The exercise was first conducted in May 2015 and is also scheduled for next year.

The American Army officer, who also gave a speech at the conference in Tbilisi on September 8 named as “Europe's New Geopolitical Landscape. Security, Economic Opportunities, Freedom and Human Dignity in the Frontline Countries”, stated that the joint training would also test the swiftness of the American soldiers in reacting to any aggression towards Georgia.

Georgia’s Defence Minister Tina Khidasheli assessed his words as “very significant.”

"For me, as Defense Minister, General Ben Hodge’s speech was very interesting. He made some interesting emphases, especially when talking about Russia.

“He very clearly and directly said that Russia had been busy with aggressive activity for twenty years. I think when an American general says such phrases, it means a lot.”

The Minister stated that she did not want the General to voice the topics behind closed doors.

“There were a lot of interesting nuances when he discussed joint Georgian-American exercises. In particular, one of the objectives of these exercises will be to see how quickly the U.S. military vehicles and soldiers will arrive in Georgia in case of aggression – something that the general stated publicly,” Khidasheli said.