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    US BUSINESSMEN TO DISCUSS GEORGIAN-AMERICAN COOPERATION PLANS

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    TBILISI, February 29, 2004 (RIA Novosti corr. Marina Kvartskhelia) - A team of 13 influential businessmen arrived in Georgia's capital Tbilisi on Sunday to look into prospects for further Georgian-American cooperation in the military sphere. The delegation is involving members of a non-political party, Businessmen for National Security, reports Georgia's state chancellery.

    While on a three-day visit to Georgia, the delegates will meet the host country's President, Mikhail Saakashvili and senior defense ministry officials. They will study the results of the bilateral military assistance program, which will be accomplished in May 2004.

    The businessmen will meet Georgian Defense Minister Gela Bezhuashvili to discuss the US' further military aid once the current program has been completed. Moreover, the delegates will be updated on the current political and economic developments in Georgia.

    The United States has spent $64 million on the program and is ready to continue providing assistance to Georgia indefinitely with the aim of bringing its armed forces to international standards and consolidating its national security. The US has earmarked $200 million on a new program.

    The American businessmen's visit to Georgia has been sponsored by the US embassy to Georgia.

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