TBILISI, August 21 (RIA Novosti) - A delegation of the United States Marine Corps arrived in Georgia on Friday to discuss military cooperation between the countries, Georgia's Defense Ministry said.
The delegation, led by General James T. Conway, commandant of the Marine Corps, met with Georgian Defense Minister Vasil Sikharulidze, former defense chief Davit Kezerashvili, who oversees military ties with the U.S., and other officials.
"The main focus of discussions was on present and future cooperation. The sides also discussed the security environment surrounding Georgia, and priorities for the ministry, and reform issues," the ministry said in a statement.
U.S. Ambassador John F. Tefft and Defense Attache in Tbilisi Matthew Brand also took part in the meeting.
The U.S. delegation will later meet with President Mikheil Saakashvili, Foreign Minister Grigol Vashadze, and National Security Council chief Eka Tkeshelashvili.
A team of U.S. marine instructors earlier arrived in Georgia to train a battalion for service as part of coalition forces in Afghanistan. A team of 60-70 marines will be in the country for six months to help train a 750-strong battalion.
Military support provided by the U.S. to Georgia, and the Caucasus country's drive to join NATO, are a major point of contention in both countries' relations with Russia.
Moscow has accused Washington of promoting Tbilisi's aggression against the former Georgian republic of South Ossetia last August. Russia repelled the attack, fighting a five-day war with Georgia.
The United States helped train Georgian troops for a mission in Iraq before last August's armed conflict.