GEORGIA LAUNCHES IMPLEMENTATION OF BRITISH-US PROGRAM TO TRAIN FOUR GEORGIAN ARMY BATTALIONS

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TBILISI, May 5 (RIA Novosti) - The training center of the Georgian Defense Ministry in Krtsanisi near Tbilisi has launched this Wednesday the implementation of the British-US program for the training of Georgian servicemen.

As the Novosti-Georgia news agency has learnt from the British embassy to Georgia, a joint group of British and US military specialists will provide for the further training of four Georgian battalions, which have undergone training under the US government train and equip program for the Georgian armed forces.

In particular, a group of US Marine Corps instructors will hold staff exercises for Georgian officers. Jointly with trained Georgian instructors, British specialists will train servicemen in the techniques of peacekeeping operations.

The group of British specialists consists of four officers and a sergeant while the US group comprises 12 officers.

It is planned that 50 Georgian officers who completed their training program on April 2, 2004 will direct the four-week training course at the base in Vaziani and the servicemen of the 16th Sachkeri mountain and rifle battalion will be the first to undergo this training. This battalion is expected to be sent to Iraq where the skills acquired during the training course will be quite useful.

After that, three more battalion will undergo a similar course of training. The program will last until the end of the summer of 2004. The Georgian side will be responsible for the program's implementation while British specialists will act as advisers.

As the British embassy said, the British military specialists are training Georgian servicemen within the NATO Partnership for Peace program.

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